Steve Hackett – Hungarian Horizons – 2003

When we buy a Steve Hackett’s album many of us feel the same as if we bet with a coin. I mean that curious sensation that we have when, even being aware that with anyone of the two sides we have the same possibilities to win, we doubt one second before choosing. In the same way we can hesitate before two any albums of the legendary guitarist conceived in different aesthetic, one acoustic or classic and the other electrician or “rocker”. Most of us always choose the first option, because unconsciously we identify progressive style with only one of the facets of this multidisciplinary guitarist.

The same thing can happen if you have the circumstance of being before the DVD that I´m reviewing here and the previous “Somewhere in South America….” My small mission consists on making you see that both DVD’s are the two sides of the same coin, that one is perfectly supplemented with the other one and together they show the spirit of thirty years of career. In short they are an indispensable couple for those fond of the music of Genesis´ former-member.

Because “Hungarian Horizons” is a great visual document that contains the recital held in Budapest on January 26th 2002. More than one hour and forty minutes of beauty and sensibility that invite us to an attentive visualization under an atmosphere of peace and serenity (very difficult to get for some parents like me).

This time Hackett is only accompanied by his brother John´s extraordinary flute and by Roger King´s keyboards. But in some tracks the guitarist faces the audience alone with the only company of his classic guitar; and in other tracks he forms a duo with only one of his mates. In certain moments, and with a great overall harmony, the three musicians delight the audience from the stage.

A sober but beautiful scenario decorated with beautiful projections and lights, where the musicians play lots of classic tracks taken from Steve’s long career such as “Jacuzzi”, “Bay of Kings”, “Walking Away from Rainbows”, “Kim”, “Hands of the Priestess”, “The Sweeps Land”, “Ace of Wands”, etc.. He pays homage to the band that marked his career with “Horizons”, “Blood on the Rooftops”, “Hairless Heart”, and a fragment of “Firth of Fifth”. With “Imagining” he pays homage to GTR, the superband that Hackett formed in 1986 along with the other Steve (Howe). There are some improvisations like the interesting “The Chinese Jam”. And of course, there is a lot of space for the big classic composers, with compositions by Bach, Giuliani, Vivaldi, Debussy, Carcassi, and even of the contemporary Morricone (“Cinema Paradiso”). But logically the most important influence for him is Satie, even more when Hackett´s tribute to the french composer (“Sketches of Satie”) was released when the show was held.

As extras the DVD includes “Weekend in Budapest”, a beautiful documentary adorned with the music and some images of the rehearsals. There is also a relaxed interview with the three musicians, exposing Hackett´s experiences (appearances in radio and TV, reports, etc) during his trip to Hungary. Apart from its content, a detail to highlight of this anecdotic filming is that one has the chance to listen to it in the language of the country that hosted the show, something that should be normal in all kind of releases.

And finally, as it happened with “Somewhere in South America…”, the box also includes two cds with the same audio material if we have not enough watching it at home and we have the imperious and comprehensible necessity to listen to it in any other place or situation. Just another reason but for an absolutely magic experience 100% recommended.