Certainly, the setting is grandly appropriate, with the Royal Albert Hall’s vaulted opera-house ceilings and sumptuous acoustics. Still, fans of Steve Hackett and Genesis could fairly ask, just months after the release of the guitarist’s well-received Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith, what exactly was the point?
The answer can be found in the ever-more-involving guest vocals of Ray Wilson on “Carpet Crawlers,” the galloping goofiness of “Return of the Giant Hogweed,” the calling sadness of “Ripples” — three of the five songs that appear on the newly released Genesis Revisited: Live at Royal Albert Hall, but not on Hammersmith.
Also new to this collection: “Horizons,” Hackett’s classical solo composition from Foxtrot; and “The Fountains of Salmacis,” which (like “Hogweed”) originally appeared on Nursery Cryme. Missing this time around: “Chamber of 32 Doors,” “Lamia,” “Shadow of the Hierophant,” “Blood on the Rooftops,” “Entangled” and “Eleventh Earl of Mar.”
Sure, much of the rest of this project — right down to the band and guest stars, including Roine Stolt (“Hogweed”) and Amanda Lehmann (“Ripples”) — has become all too familiar. It may only, in the end, be something for completists. But when Genesis Revisited: Live at Royal Albert Hall arrives at these never before heard, still deeply resonant junctures, it feels more than worth the price of admission.