Anyone who has ever heard Renaissance will marvel at the stunning, five-octave vocal lines of Annie Haslam that weave throughout and often soar above the music of this often-tagged “’70s-progressive” musical outfit.
In truth, the veteran band draws more from the Celtic and classical music traditions. Weaving both styles into the fabric of rock music one note at a time, they have always stood head-and-shoulders above their contemporaries because of it.
Seeing Renaissance at The Egg was both a nostalgic nod to the past and a contemporary salute to the present because Haslam and company are truly timeless.
Their set drew upon the long song history of the band and featured original member Michael Dunford on guitar, who along with Haslam, defined the band’s sound. Joining them on stage were keyboardists Rave Tesar and Tom Brislin, bassist David J. Keyes and drummer Frank Pagano.
It was a good musical match to put Renaissance with the Steve Hackett Band in The Egg’s larger Hart Theatre And although Haslam and company opened for Hackett’s crew, if it had been reversed, it would have made no difference.
Hackett, of course, was the lead guitarist in the original Peter Gabriel-led version of Genesis – back in the days when Phil Collins wasn’t singing. Like Gabriel, however, Hackett left the Genesis fold in the late seventies to pursue a solo career and went on to release a dozen or so albums. Unlike Gabriel, though, he didn’t pen a string of Top 40 hits and become a household name.
That’s OK, because over the years Hackett has built a strong cult following for his music, and that has its perks. Many in the audience were fans who have followed his entire career from Genesis through his solo career and GTR (the supergroup that also featured veteran Yes guitarist Steve Howe).
At The Egg, Hackett mesmerized the audience by drawing on his career highlights and added several well-crafted compositions from his super 2009 album, “Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth,” which is believed by many of the faithful to be his best ever.
Accompanying Hackett were the delightfully sexy guitarist Amanda Lehmann, keyboardist Roger King, saxophonist Rob Townsend, drummer Gary O’Toole and the cross-dressing bassist-Chapman stick player Nick Beggs.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Michael Eck’s review in The Times Union