Lee Speaks About Music…#218

Patient Number 9 – Ozzy Osbourne

Introduction…

Well, it was only a couple of years ago that Ozzy Osbourne made quite a stir with the release of his 12th studio album Ordinary Man which was his first studio album release in a decade. Given his age and in particular his health condition I personally thought that it might just be his last studio album. However, it appears that the prince of darkness is not ready to bow out on us just yet and he’s back with yet another studio album and one that is just as promising. Even at the age of 73, Ozzy can still deliver the goods and sounds as well as he did back in his heyday in some respects.

To be honest the same could be said for Alice Cooper who is a year older and although both singers were never in the same league as Robert Plant and Ian Gillan when it comes to the greatest voices of rock music, both Ozzy and Alice have come out of the ageing process with their voices unscathed and still intact in their ripe old age which is more than I could ever say about the other two whose voices have dropped a few notes over the years. The ageing process affects the biggest majority of singers over the years and there are not many singers who can still sound like they did back in their heyday especially as well as these two.

Although both Plant and Gillan can still very much perform today like Elton John, they have had to adapt their voices by transposing the music to be able to carry on as well as they do. Though none of them could sing their older songs and make them sound as well as they were in their heyday so to speak. However, they are still worth seeing which is more than I could say for Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull who perhaps should have given up years ago.

Ozzy Osbourne’s latest album Patient Number 9 comes across as even more powerful and is steered once again by his collaboration with the young producer Andrew Watt. His work with Ozzy more or less continues from where they left off with the previous album and much of the same crew is still very much on board. Although they also threw in a couple of legendary guitarists and two guitarists from Ozzy’s longtime career into the melting pot and there can be no doubt this album certainly delivers the goods.

Packaging & Artwork…

The disc comes in a plastic jewel case and the fact that it does is a bit disappointing especially as his last release came in a 3-panel cardboard Digisleeve (Digifile). There is however another alternative Limited Edition package that the CD was also released in which I will go into more detail about in the Release Edition section of my review. It was however good to see that the jewel case came with only two placeholders to hold the booklet instead of three which can make it a nightmare to retrieve the booklet.

Speaking of the booklet this one comes with 16-pages and although there is no formative content it does come with the lyrics and the usual production liner notes. I managed to pick up my copy for £9 from Amazon UK by taking advantage of a one-off Click & Collect promotion they were offering at the time.

Artwork.
The artwork, design and layout were done by Jeff Schulz who also was the same chap who did the design for Ordinary Man. The cover art was done by I Love Dust who are based in the UK and also do work for Sony Music Entertainment. Taking care of the photography was Ross Halfin whose photos have appeared in countless magazines, posters, tour programs and just about anything you could name.

Release Editions…

As with many new releases, there is always an array of various physical formats to suit your pocket, it’s also good to see that the physical format is on the up in relation to download and streaming these days. I personally think it makes sense especially when you can pick up the CD for more or less the same price as a Digital Download, and the CD package below is the cheapest way of obtaining the album. It’s also my preferred choice and can be had for around £12.

There is also an alternative CD Edition that is limited and comes in a 3-panel cardboard Oversized Softpack (as seen below) and there were a couple of things that put me off this release the first of which is that it is oversized. Honestly designers these days must come with the brains of a rocking horse and the flaw with this design being oversized is that in most media storage cabinets there is no way you will be able to store it along with your other Ozzy albums.

The second thing that put me off was its ridiculous price point and the cheapest I saw this for was £16 and in most places, you can pay anywhere from £18 – £22. The booklet even has fewer pages and you only get 12-pages with this release. It does however come with a poster which might come in handy should you run out of toilet paper 😊😊😊.

One of the other older formats that is making a comeback these days is the Cassette and the very fact that it is gives the music industry another opportunity to rip you off. In all honesty, I consider the price of vinyl these days a rip-off but this really takes the biscuit or in plain English terms the piss.

I’ve always seen the Cassette as the lowest of the low when it comes to physical formats and these things can easily get mangled no matter how well you maintain your Cassette player. Speaking of players or decks you really need an older one in relation to the ones that are sold new on the market today. The fact that they stopped making them for a long period of time very much reflects how poorly built they are these days. The other thing that is missing from Cassettes you buy these days is Dolby Noise Reduction so you will have to make do with all the hiss.

Back in the days when Cassettes were more popular, the pre-recorded album sold slightly cheaper than a vinyl album and I was absolutely both shocked and stunned to see that these days they are selling between £18 – £28. These are absolutely rip-off prices in my book and the recording company is taking people for a right MUG! They must think we are all LOONIES! 😊😊😊.

For vinyl lovers, there is a wide choice of colours to choose from most of which are limited to around 500 copies. There are actually more colours than I have on display here and some even come with a comic book. Unlike the previous release of Ordinary Man, it has been pressed onto 2 X 180gram LP’s.

There is also a picture disc and prices range from around £28 – £32 for the coloured vinyl and around £38 for the picture disc. Surprisingly the 2 LP’s come in a single sleeve instead of a Gatefold and they really are cutting corners with this release.

The Album In Review…

Ozzy Osbourne’s 13th studio album Patient Number 9 was released on the 9th of September 2022. To tie in with the number of the release it comes with 13 tracks spread over an overall playing time of 61 minutes, 10 seconds. It is perhaps on the lengthy side and quite a bit to digest, though not really a double album’s worth of material and the fact that they have had to use two LP’s to squeeze it on makes it even more expensive for vinyl lovers.

The album was received very well upon its release and did better than his previous album reaching number 1′ on the US Billboard charts and number 2′ on the UK’s official album charts. It also hit the number-one spot in Canada, Sweden and Czechoslovakia and the music press had plenty of good things to say about it. Metal Hammer gave it a raving review stating the following:

“Despite everything you may have heard about Ozzy being on his last legs, Patient Number 9 unequivocally does not sound like the work of a man living on borrowed time. Instead, it sounds like the Prince of fucking Darkness having an absolutely smashing time, with a bunch of his mates and, weirdly, a newfound sense of artistic ambition”.

Speaking of mates both guitarists Zakk Wylde and his former bandmate Tony Iommi appear on the album. The latter of the two also appeared with him on stage in August this year performing “Paranoid” at the closing of the Commonwealth Games which was held n my home town of Birmingham.

It was Ozzy’s first live performance in nearly three years and his first since undergoing a major operation on his neck in the summer of this year. Ozzy has certainly been in the wars over the years regarding his health and is still fighting an ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease. He has also scheduled a tour for next year and so far has announced 19 dates between May and June across Europe and the UK.

More recently on the 8th of September Ozzy put in another short live performance at the SoFi Stadium in California for the opening of the match between the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills. In both of these live performances, you can clearly see and hear that Ozzy has not lost one single shred of his voice.

He still even looks the part though no doubt the makeup contributes a lot to that, even so I very much doubt that no makeup artist could make Keith Richards look any younger he may even be proof of the living dead 😊😊😊. Joking apart I do think as well as Ozzy looks in these live performances they are only short appearances in relation to going out and touring and playing a whole show. It would not surprise me if many of the scheduled tour dates get cancelled due to his health issues.

Speaking of other guitarists the other two legendary guitar players that make a contribution to the album are Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. Pearl Jam’s guitarist Mike McCready also so gets to feature on a track and just like his last album, there are an array of musicians that have been brought in. No expense has been spared and fingers crossed that he is able to fulfil these tour dates to pay for it all.

As with the previous album, most of the material was recorded at Andrew Watt’s own studios Gold Tooth Music in Beverly Hills. He along with Osbourne contributed to most of the writing along with the other musicians who make up the main core of the band such as Metalica’s bassist Robert Trujillo and drummer Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and the Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins also get writing credits and it appears that almost everyone who played on the album got a writing credit. Although the singer-songwriter Ali Tamposi does not appear on the album, she also contributes to the writing of most of the songs and even Iommi is credited to one of them.

Various other studios were also utilised and used by some of the guest guitarists such as Beck, Clapton and Iommi who would have recorded their parts at their own studios and sent the stems to Watt to be mixed into the final mixing process by mixing engineer Alan Moulder. The album was mastered by Matt Colton at Metropolis studios in London, England where even that can be done online these days.

Musicians & Credits…

Produced by Andrew Watt. Recorded at Gold Tooth Music Studios Beverly Hills, US. Additional Studio’s Mill House, The Black Vatican & Tone Hall. Engineered by Paul LaMalfa. Additional Engineering by Marco Sonzini & Mike Exeter. Mixing Engineer Alan Moulder. Mastered by Matt Colton at Metropolis, London. Artwork Design by Jeff Schulz. Cover Art by iLove Dust. Photography by Ross Halfin.

Musicians.
Ozzy Osbourne: Lead Vocals – Harmonica (Tracks 10 & 13).
Andrew Watt: Guitar (Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12) – Bass Guitar (Tracks 4, 6, 7, 9, 12) – Keyboards (Tracks 1, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12) – Piano (Tracks 3, 6, 12) – Drums (Tracks 11,& 12) – Backing Vocals.
Zakk Wylde: Guitar (Tracks 1, 3, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12) – Keyboards (Tracks 1, 5, 7, 8, 9).
Robert Trujillo: Bass (Tracks 1, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12).
Chad Smith: Drums (Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).

Additional Musicians.
Jeff Beck: Guitar (Tracks 1 & 6).
Tony Iommi: Guitar (Tracks 4 & 10).
Eric Clapton: Guitar (Track 5).
Mike McCready: Guitar (Track 2)
Josh Homme: Guitar (Track 12).
Robert Trujillo: Bass (Tracks 1, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12).
Duff McKagan: Bass (Tracks 2 & 5).
Chris Chaney: Bass (Track 8).
Taylor Hawkins: Drums (Tracks 3, 7, 12).
James Poyser: Organ (Track 5).

String Arrangments by David Campbell. Violin Players: Charlie Bisharat, Roberto Cani, Mario DeLeon, Nina Evtuhov, Songa Lee, Natalie Leggett, Philipp Levy, Alyssa Park, Michele Richards, Neil Samples, Jennifer Takamatsu, Kerenza Peackock & Sara Parkins. Viola Players: Andrew Duckles, Zachary Dellinger & David Walther. Cello Players: Jacob Braun, Paula Hochhalter & Ross Gasworth.

The Album Tracks In Review…

Ozzy’s new album Patient Number 9 has received so many favourable reviews that it has been nominated for Best Rock Album at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. It’s a very powerful album and so heavy that it’s verging more towards heavy metal than rock in parts, though that particular genre has always played a part in his career since his days with Black Sabbath which many have cited as the band that started it all off. I would personally go along with that myself simply because when Sabbath released their debut album back in 1970 I cannot recall any other band sounding as heavy as they were.

Over the years many other forms or genres of metal have appeared including thrash, grunge and all sorts many of which are not to my personal taste especially those with singers that growl in relation to singing. Over the years Ozzy’s style of music has never really changed and I have yet to hear a really bad album amongst the twelve that were put out before the one we have here. Granted some are better than others and no doubt everyone will have their GOTO! albums that they will more often go to out of the dozen albums that have surfaced since his solo career took off back in 1980.

When you look at the biggest majority of artists, you will find most classic songs come from their earlier albums in relation to the many that come along after. Personally, I’ve never found that to be the case with Ozzy and over the years many of his albums have churned out some really GREAT! classic songs. I could also say the same for the time he spent with Sabbath and that band churned out many classics between 1970 – 1976. So let’s now delve into his latest album and see if we can find any more.

Track 1. Patient Number 9.

The album kicks off in fine style and speaking of styles the intro in particular borders around Alice Cooper’s style, so too does the lyrical content that evolves around the subject matter of being locked up in a loony bin so to speak. Even the BEATLE-ESC! come-down section that comes into play around the 4-minute and 35-second mark has a resemblance musically to Cooper’s 1975 album Welcome To My Nightmare. Though regardless of the similarities and comparisons there can be no doubt that this is 100% Ozzy Osbourne and he is back to his very best.

“Patient Number 9” is a song that’s fueled on heavy distortion and I must admit when I first heard this particular track Ozzy’s voice was not exactly projecting to me as I have come to know it over all these years. However, on the second listen it soon became quite apparent that this is the voice of Ozzy back in his heyday and his voice has never changed over all those years. The way his voice cuts through all the distortion tells me that this is a very good mix even if the distortion does make it feel like there is a lot of mud flying around.

It’s the longest track on the album weighing in at 7-minutes, 22-seconds and the way the song diverts its direction could be seen as verging on the PROGMATIC! side of things, though perhaps not as much as “Revelation (Mother Earth)” from his debut album. It’s also one of two tracks on the album to feature Jeff Beck on guitar, although his distinguishing guitar style does not resonate with me here and if somebody had told me that Beck was playing the guitar on this track I would most likely say “you’ve got to be kidding me”.

The more I got to hear this song, the more I got to like it and it has a very catchy chorus that is that strong it will have you singing along with it in no time at all. It takes a good song to do that and it’s easy to see how the album’s self-titled track (which was the first single release) reached number one on the American Billboard Hot Hard Rock Songs chart on the 22nd of June. It is without a doubt one of the many standout tracks on this album and could even be seen as a classic. It’s also my personal favourite track on the album and picks up the album’s TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 2. Immortal.

One of the shorter songs on the album and this is a song about vampires and not Keith Richards to which some would presume he is immortal. The song features Pearl Jam’s guitarist Mike McCready and is driven along by a simple riff that makes the song very familiar with some of Ozzy’s earlier songs from his first 4 albums. You could say that Ozzy is barking at the moon once again and once again this is like hearing the man himself back in his heyday.

Track 3. Parasite.

One of the four songs on the album to feature Ozzy’s longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde who does some blistering lead work on this one. It’s a very hard-driven song where the riff is verging towards a Sabbath riff and oddly enough Ozzy’s vocal line in the verse sections as me thinking of “Gypsies Tramps & Thieves” by Sonny & Cher, although the grinding metal and lyrical content are completely different. Apparently, Ozzy likes worms and the ones eating him inside in this haunting tale is that of his father who appears to be clinging to him like a leech so to speak.

Track 4. No Escape from Now.

There are no escaping Tony Iommi’s guitar riffs just as sure as there is no escaping the absurdity in the world and the lyrical content we have here could easily be referring to the political madness that exists in the world today along with all the other mayhem that goes with it. With Iommi’s presence, we are instantly reminded of Sabbath with the musical side of things and the intro and outro will have you thinking along the lines of “Planet Caravan” from the band’s second studio album Paranoid in particular with the Leslie speaker that Ozzy used to create the vocal effect.

Like the opening track, this is a song that goes through some diverse changes and even Iommi’s lead break that comes into play at the 4:46 mark will put you in mind of Sabbath. It perhaps is not as catchy as the opening track but I personally think the lyrical side of things we have here is very cleverly written and they hold this song up as much as the musical side of things.

Track 5. One Of Those Days. 

Anger and depression spring to mind with the subject matter behind the lyrical content of this song and I’m sure we hall have had one of those days when we don’t believe in Jesus or God for that matter, especially when one loses a loved one. Although these days with all the corruption, insanity and mayhem that is going on throughout the world that also could equate to having one of these days. Unlike the previous song, I personally think the lyrical side of things could have been done better and even though they do get to the point one could perhaps derive something else from them than how I see it.

It’s a song that features yet another legendary guitarist Eric Clapton and unlike the albums self-titled track that features Jeff Beck, you can instantly identify Clapton’s formidable style. Ozzy specifically pointed out that he wanted Clapton to play WAH! on the track as he recalled from his days with Cream all those years ago, there is no denying that Clapton did precisely what was required and his playing on this instantly reminds me of “White Room” from all those years ago as you will hear in the official video release of the song.

Despite the weak lyrics, I do feel the musical side of things holds this song up very well and along with the opening track, it’s very much another one of the stand-out tracks on the album and in contention for the album’s TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 6. A Thousand Shades.

The second of the two tracks to feature Jeff Beck and this one is perhaps more suited for his particular style to resonate more than the albums opening track. Oddly enough it also has a BEATLE-ESC! feel about it and Beck does an excellent job to make his presence known on the solo. The subject matter behind the lyrics may very well be pointing out how nothing ever really changes and the more they do they remain the same.

It’s very much another quality well-written song that utilises a strong string section conducted and arranged by David Campbell. It is also another of the album’s stand-out tracks and one I am sure will be a firm favourite with many.

Track 7. Mr. Darkness.

It appears that the prince of darkness is either writing letters to the devil or somebody is writing to the man himself. However, the lyrical content could also be pointing to a desperate cry for help and the fact that no reply is coming is a means to end it all. Whatever the lyrical side of things is related to in this song there is a sense of desperation, loss and loneliness. Musically the song has some powerful transitions that raise the game to rock it out a bit more and give it a bit more edge, and Wylde’s lead lines are quite blistering.

Track 8. Nothing Feels Right.

Like the previous song, the lyrical content is derived around wanting to put an end to it all perhaps a bit like “Suicide Solution” in this case as far as the lyrics are concerned. It also features some fine lead work by Zakk Wylde as with the previous song and has perhaps a bit more melodic structure to it. There are some GREAT! melodies that pop out on quite a few tracks on the album and this is easily another stand-out track on the album and one that should sit with many methinks.

Track 9. Evil Shuffle.

The heavy tones are back and this is Wylde’s final contribution to the album to which he is supported very well by Robert Trujillo’s bass. Although it’s not “Evil Woman” or even “Dirty Women” for that matter, there is a Sabbath vibe with the weight of the metal on this song. One could also say that darkness looms into the realms of madness regarding the lyrical content here and one could say that Ozzy is dancing with the devil.

Track 10. Degradation Rules.

The second of the tracks to feature Tony Iommi and he also gets a writing credit on this one. Ozzy’s harmonica may have you thinking along the lines of “The Wizard” though it’s far removed from that Sabbath song and drives along at a faster pace. It’s a song about masturbation and there are not a lot of lyrics in the song though what makes it work more than anything is how Ozzy phrases the words.

Track 11. Dead and Gone.

There is no doubt that Andrew Watt had listened to Ozzy’s back catalogue when putting some of these songs together and the bass line on this particular song harks back to the self-titled track from Ozzy’s fourth album Ultimate Sin. This song also sounds like it had a different production in relation to the rest of the songs on the album and it also makes use of Campbell’s section to drive it along in parts.

Track 12. God Only Knows.

This is another song that harks back to Ozzy’s past and this song has an even stronger resemblance to his earlier material and is like a cross between “I Don’t Know” and “No More Tears” to some degree, especially with how Ozzy phrases his words. I am sure there are other things thrown in the pot here that hark back to his earlier days. This could easily be seen as another stand-out track on the album and the chorus line is so strong it will have you singing along to it. However, the similarities are perhaps a bit too obvious for my liking.

Track 13. Darkside Blues.

The album ends off with a bit of blues and this short little ditty of a song was most likely left over from the previous album and was used as a bonus track on the Japanese release of Ordinary Man. It was written by Osbourne and Watt and it is only the two of them who are playing on this one and both are having a good bit of fun with the blues by the sound of things. It’s perhaps unusual for Ozzy to play the blues and it puts the album to bed quite well methinks.

Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up and conclude my review of Patient Number 9 by Ozzy Osbourne, I very much think that this is very much an album that is up there with the best of them and in terms of ranking Ozzy’s studio albums, this would easily sit in my top five of his albums along with Blizzard Of Ozz, Diary Of A Madman, No More Tears and Ozzmosis. Although the album is on the lengthy side and may have worked better by trimming it down by 10 or 15 minutes, I do feel there are quite a good few standout tracks to keep one more attentive towards the album.

I would not say that it’s a solid album by any means but then again I don’t personally think there is a bad track among the 13 you get here it is quite a strong body of work and the material holds up very well. I would also say considering Ozzy’s age and his recent health issues this is quite a remarkable achievement. Although I am not into the musician side of Andrew Watt I have to give praise to his production skills and his attention to detail towards Osbourne’s music in particular plays a pivotal point in how well the material on this album stands out so well.

From recent interviews, I have seen of Ozzy a lot of how his voice still sounds like it did back in his heyday comes from the way he double-tracks his vocals though it would not surprise me if some tweaking as been done in the studio process. But then again his voice has never really changed over the years and even when I saw him live with Black Sabbath back in 1999 he sang those songs like he did on the studio albums and never struggled with a single note and sang them with ease.

Listening to Ozzy on this album there is no way you could call him an old fart and he is without a doubt back to his very best. Patient Numer 9 is an album that will rock your socks off in a good way and an album I would consider a must for all Ozzy fans and rockers alike. This could very well be Ozzy’s final album but if it is I certainly think he’s gone out on a high and an album I would highly recommend. It has so many stand-out tracks it’s almost like a Greatist Hits album my personal highlights are as follows: “Patient Number 9“, “No Escape From Now“, “One Of Those Days“, “A Thousand Shades“, “Nothing Feels Right” and “God Only Knows“.

A Positive Album To Go Out On…

The CD tracklisting is as follows:
01. Patient Number 9. 7:22.
02. Immortal. 3:03.
03. Parasite.4:05.
04. No Escape From Now. 6:46.
05. One Of Those Days. 4:40.
06. A Thousand Shades. 4:26.
07. Mr. Darkness. 5:35.
08. Nothing Feels Right. 5:35.
09. Evil Shuffle. 4:10.
10. Degradation Rules. 4:10.
11. Dead And Gone. 4:32.
12. God Only Knows. 5:00.
13. Darkside Blues. 1:49.

The Packaging Rating Score. 8/10.
The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.
The Album Rating Score. 8/10.

 

Lee Speaks About Music…#217

Seconds Out & More – Steve Hackett

Introduction…

Another live release by Steve Hackett and I guess many will be left thinking just how many live albums does one really need? Over the past decade, Hackett does tend to put out more than other artists and his live releases are more or less being put out at the same rate as his studio albums. I have to admit that even I was a bit susceptible to getting this one and I never pre-ordered it and brought it after its release. A couple of things spurred me on in the end to purchase it, the first of which would have been the review on the Classic Album Review on the Tube a month ago and the final temptation was via many of the recommendations that pop up in my email from Amazon.

One of the things I took note of in particular about Barry’s review was really how well he described the sound and recording of the live show, he even went on to say that it sounded better than the original double live album that Genesis had put out themselves all those years ago down to today’s technology. Though I have to admit I took that with a pinch of salt simply because the double live album Seconds Out that was released back in 1977 was a very good recording so too was the bands Live album that was put out in 1973. The latter of those two live albums still gets more spins even today than any of these Genesis Revisited tribute albums that Hackett is churning out.

To be perfectly honest there are many reasons I could think of not to purchase yet another live album from Hackett many of which I described in my review of his 2020 live release of Selling England By The Pound & Spectral Mornings Live At Hammersmith found here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2020/10/17/lee-speaks-about-music-165/ The question is am I really getting anything different and was it worth it? Before I go any further let’s take a look at the packaging.

Packaging & Artwork…

The discs come in a cardboard 3-panel Digipak much like the usual way Hackett puts out his live albums though I will say the cardboard this time around is a bit on the thinner side. Unlike most of the packages, he puts out this one comes in a cardboard slipcase that is normally described as a hardshell case when used with standard jewel cases. Although with the material being on the thinner side I would hardly describe it like that at all and they have cut down on cost a bit here by the looks of things.

It does not come with a booklet and all the liner, production notes and photos are printed on the inside of the packaging itself and you will have to remove the discs to get at them. It also has a brief write-up about the album by Hackett himself printed on one of the outer panels and I suppose in a way that it’s a blessing to see more information in relation to photographs that can tend to be the norm with how his albums are packaged.

Overall the packaging is well neat and tidy and does the job. I purchased my copy from Amazon UK for £17.99 which I consider a respectable enough price point considering you are getting two CD’s and a Blu Ray and I have no real complaints here.

Artwork.
The package design was done by Thomas Ewerhard and like many live concerts was done with the use of photographs taken at the concert that were provided and taken by Lee Millward, David Clay, Chris Simmons and Jason Gilchrist.

Release Editions.
As far as I am aware Hackett’s latest live album was released in the form of three physical formats with both the 2 CD/DVD and 2 CD/Blu Ray packages around the same price and there may only be a couple of pounds difference between the both. I do believe both of these packages are also Limited Editions.

It’s also released on Vinyl for all those that prefer that format. It’s priced at around £40 on Amazon UK which is not too bad at all considering you get 4 X 180gram LP’s plus a couple of CD’s thrown in to boot. Makes you wonder how some artists charge between £20 – £30 for a single LP and there certainly cannot be a shortage of vinyl especially when the biggest majority of PROG! albums are put out on more than one LP.

Seconds Out & More In Review…

Genesis Revisited: Seconds Out & More by Steve Hackett was released on the 2nd of September 2022. It’s very much a concert that captures Hackett and his band performing the whole of the original setlist from that live album that he played many moons ago with his former band Genesis. The “More” side of things consists of some of his own solo material both new and old. Regarding the band lineup, it’s pretty much the same band that featured with him on his last tour minus his brother John Hackett.

In many ways going to see Steve Hackett live these days is a bit like going to see Roger Waters in that both artists tend to play more of the music from their former bands than their own solo material. Though I will say the ticket prices to see Waters live will cost a lot more than an arm and a leg though he does tend to put on the bigger shows and they cost a hell of a lot more to put them on which is why they can run into hundreds of pounds. I would also say that it is very much the music from their former bands that is the main attraction and bring in the crowds at their concerts.

To be honest I have no idea how much it was to see Hackett last year but looking at the price of the tickets for the same venue he is playing again this year they are quite reasonable and range from around £45 – £65. Though of course, the size of the venue will also reflect in the price of the ticket. These days I tend to stick with the price of the blu ray and I remember seeing him back in his heyday for not much more than the price of an album. Some artists I got to see for less than that price which would have cost around £3 back then unlike the price of vinyl today.

The one thing I will say about both of these artists is that as old as they are in their ripe old age, both are still able and capable of giving you your money’s worth at their shows and are still worthy of going to see live unlike some who should have perhaps retired years ago. They both appear to have weathered well in their old age as well. I would also suspect that if both were to play just their own solo material live ticket prices would be a lot cheaper and even I could afford to go and see them these days 😊😊😊.

To be honest, you would think as one gets older they might take things a bit easier but Hackett put on quite an extensive world tour for this event touring all over the world travelling to places as far as New Zealand and Australia. Right off the back of it, he’s even put on another tour to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Genesis album Foxtrot and still has some rescheduled dates from the Seconds Out tour to do at the same time. How he’s going to work both sets I have no idea and by the looks of things this guy won’t stop til he drops 😊😊😊.

I daresay there will be another live release next year and I will most likely end up buying and reviewing that, though I will say these things are very reasonably priced and are not going to break your bank account or even empty your wallet. You do get quality for the buck with these live releases and I like the fact that Hackett puts out his concerts on Blu Ray offering you the highest quality. So let’s now take a look at what you get for your money with package contents.

CD’s 1 & 2.

The couple of CD’s that come in the package contains the concert audio. The first disc comes with a total playing time of 70 minutes, 21 seconds and the second disc is slightly shorter at 68 minutes, 4 seconds. It’s over a two-hour show and I’m pretty sure that all of the songs that are on the setlist of the blu ray are here and the only thing missing is some of the talking in between the songs.

To be honest as a rule I don’t bother with the CD’s and I don’t see the point especially as the package comes with a DVD or Blu Ray so you can actually watch the show. It’s not as if Blu Ray Players are expensive to buy these days and there are some excellent budget players that are more than capable of giving you high-end quality, Sony makes some very good ones. I did however pop one of the CD’s into my player just to check that the sound quality was OK and it’s very good. 

Blu Ray.

The Blu Ray that comes in these packages is where my money is spent and this one comes with a straightforward main menu where you can easily pick your preference of watching the concert with Stereo or Surround without having to go into an Audio Setup menu. Both are 48K/24Bit and it’s good to see that no Dolby Digital low-end formats have been used here. The Stereo mix is in LPCM and you also get a DTS-HD Master 5.1 mix for the surround.

The “Song Menu” (as you can see above) is split over two screens and from here you can simply select any of the 18 tracks in the setlist. It does not take long for each screen to load either unlike some menus and you get to see and hear different segments of the live concert on each menu.  

The Final “Bonus Menus” contains the extra content and here you get a 26-minute documentary with all the band members speaking about the live tour and how it’s going sort of thing. It’s very much like the short documentaries that have come with his previous live releases.

You also get four promo videos and I am pretty sure you will find these on various other albums that Hackett has put out in the past and there is nothing really new here. To be honest these are not the best of quality either in comparison to the ones I already have and the audio jumps on all four of them at the beginning of each one. Apart from the documentary, there is very little to take from the extras here. 

Picture, Editing & Audio.

As with the previous concert, the concert footage was directed and produced by Paul M Green of Film 24 Productions he also did the film editing. The concert itself was captured by a 10-man crew of camera operators and was captured with HD cameras. The picture quality is quite sharp and pristine as expected although I did notice a few camera shakes during some parts of the show and somebody obviously had the jitters 😊😊😊. However, overall there is nothing to really complain about here regarding the picture and the editing.

Both stereo and surround mixes were done by Roger King and when it comes to the 5.1 mix he’s perhaps not in the same league as Steve Wilson however as I have mentioned many times he is getting better and improving all the time. I think with most of King’s live surround mixes it’s only certain instruments that will fly out of the woodwork every now and then rather than completely utilise the 5 channels all of the time. The biggest majority of the time he tends to utilise the rear channels for crowd noise and his keyboards.

One of the notable things with this surround mix is that he’s also utilised some of the percussion played by Rob Townsend on electric drum pads in the rear channels. Though he has placed them in the centre whereas I personally think they would have been better placed to one of the sides to give them that bit more of an effect as you will hear on Fleetwood Mac’s live concert The Dance and Hell Freezes Over by the Eagles that were both mixed by Elliot Scheiner.

It would have also been nice to have placed Townsend’s sax in the rear to give the sound more of a piercing effect as this instrument can project. Though overall King has done quite a very good job here and the only thing I could really criticise is that the volume needed to be turned up where Hackett is speaking to the audience and this is a bit annoying having to do that yourself to hear what the hell he is saying. However, regardless of that, the sound quality of both stereo and surround mixes are very good and the 5.1 mix is perhaps worthy of an 8 out of 10. 

Musicians & Credits…

Directed & Produced by Paul M Green of Film 24 Productions. Concert Sound Recording by Will Shapland & James Deacon. Recording Engineer Benedict Fenner of Front House Sound. Editing & Authoring by Paul M Green. Camera Operators Chris Flemming, Anthony Graham, James Fox, Stephen Lay, Gwyn Hemmings, Zak Laflamme, Claudia Moss, Kate Harvest, Gareth Taylor & Alfie Warnham. Camera Assistant Paul Pentland. Behind the scenes filmed by James Fox. Stereo & Surround Mixes by Roger King. Cover Design by Thomas Ewerhard. Photography by Lee Millward, David Clay, Chris Simmons and Jason Gilchrist.

Musicians.
Steve Hackett: Guitar/Vocals.
Roger King: Keyboards.
Rob Townsend: Saxophone/Woodwind/Percussion/Vocals/Keyboards/Bass Pedals.
Jonas Reingold: Bass/Bass Pedals/Variax/Twelve String Guitar/Vocals.
Craig Blundell: Drums/Percussion/Vocals.
Nad Sylvan: Vocals/Tambourine.

Special Guest.
Amanda Lehmann: Vocals/Guitar.

The Concert In Review…

Steve Hackett kicked off his Seconds Out & More world tour on the 10th of September 2021 in the UK playing 31 shows at 28 different venues. He then played a further 20 shows in the rest of Europe before heading off to America to play a further 32 shows before playing a one-off show in New Zealand, 5 shows in Australia and 3 shows in Japan before heading back to Europe to play a further 11 shows finishing it off at the Cropredy Festival back in the UK on the 12th of August 2022.  

He’s back out on the road now doing the Foxtrot At 50 + Hackett Highlights tour and for the last couple of months of this year, he will be jetting back off to the US and Canada to complete some of the cancellations from his previous tour. I daresay next he will be doing a Hackett In His 70’s tour and a Don’t Stop Til You Drop tour. However, all jokes aside it’s good to see that he is very sensible in planning out his tours by scheduling breaks at certain points to take a well-earned rest.

The show that was captured on film here is from the first leg of the UK Tour at the O2 Manchester Apollo on 24th September 2021. To be honest you would have thought they would have filmed the show at the London Palladium because that was the only venue they played at more than once and played 3 nights there. Though I daresay if they had done the concert footage would be stitched together like most live concerts and the good thing here is that at least you are getting an honest performance with warts and all filmed on the night.

Like many venues in the UK, the name attached to them these days such as the O2 Apollo was given to them around 2010 basically because they are sponsored by the UK mobile network company O2. Although this particular venue has always had the name Apollo attached to it and was originally opened by the actress Margret Lockwood on the 29th of August 1938. Like many old buildings, it was originally a cinema and variety theatre and was called the Manchester Apollo.

The art deco-style building was designed by three architects Peter Cummings, Alex Irvine, and R. Gillespie Williams and in the 70’s it stopped functioning as a cinema house and was used solely for music. It originally had a seating capacity of 1,750 people these days it has doubled that and now holds around 3,500.

Many bands and artists have played at the venues such as ACDC, Queen, Genesis, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, U2, The Who, The Arctic Monkeys, Johnny Marr and Morrissey just to name a few. The Beatles even played there back in the ’60’s so to did the Stones.

It’s a very popular venue to play at in Manchester and besides musical acts, many comedians have also used the venue. It’s smaller venues like this that also help to keep down ticket prices and it’s good to see that they are still being utilised.

On With The Show…

The show is split into two sets and has an overall playing time of 2 hours and 27 minutes. The first set consists of Hackett’s solo material both old and new and is relatively short and lasts around 40 minutes, this is down to the Genesis Seconds Out setlist being quite a long set to perform. I personally do not think there are any real highlights in this first set and that would be down to the familiar ground in particular with the older songs he chose to do.

Though that’s not to take anything away from the performance but apart from “Clocks” which they kick off the show with, there is not a lot of any real difference in relation to other performances and it’s only really the odd cuckoo and chimes on the intro of this instrumental piece that adds something different to it. I would have liked to have seen a bit more improvisation thrown in, especially with these older numbers that appear to pop up at more or less every Hackett concert.

Up next we have one of two tracks that he chose to play from his latest studio album Surrender Of Silence. It’s also on this song “Held In The Shadows” that we get our first glimpse of Nad Sylvan who lends a hand with some backing vocals and shakes the tambourine now and then. With what little he has to do on this song I am not really sure he was needed. However, as another song from his third album, Spectral Mornings follows “Every Day” is perhaps a song with a band chorus where all hands are needed on deck so to speak.

It’s back to the new album once again and “The Devil’s Cathedral” is where Sylvan’s voice is more utilised as he sings the lead vocals on this song though I will stress that the newer material does not exactly light my fire in relation to the old classics he chose for this opening set. But once again the band pull off another fine performance and Sylvan exits the stage after it and does only appear on three of the five songs in this opening set. The final song in the first setlist “Shadow of the Hierophant” comes as no surprise and this song from Hackett’s debut album Voyage of the Acolyte does tend to get played to death with this lineup.

I expect the reason for that is that it gives Amanda Lehmann the chance to sing lead vocals and she does play on all five songs in this opening setlist. It is without a doubt a classic song but it’s about time Hackett got her to sing something else perhaps “Hoping Love Will Last” from his second album to give us something different for a change. It is perhaps understandable for wanting to play the new songs but I do feel it’s about time he mixed things up a bit more with the older material and something from Highly Strung and Till We Have Faces would not have gone amiss here.

The second set will be for many the attraction here in that the band (excluding Amanda Lehmann) perform the whole of the setlist that Genesis played back in 1976 and 1977 that went to make up the double live album Seconds Out that was released back in 1977. They also roll out all the numbers that made up that album in the same order. The good thing about this concert is that all the songs are performances from one show, unlike the original album which consisted of songs played at various live performances from two different venues.

The show gets off to a flying start with “Squonk” and this is one of three numbers from the band’s 1976 album Trick Of The Tail which they would have been promoting at the time. There is no doubt Hackett and his band are in fine form as seen by the official video release that was put out by the record label. Though it’s hardly surprising seeing as he and his band have performed 99.9% of the songs in this setlist before, the very fact that they have might also be one of the drawbacks of this particular live concert especially if you have the many live releases that Hackett has released. Though to be fair it is a very strong setlist and no performance is ever really the same.

One of the things notable from this opening song is that the bassist Jonas Reingold is also playing the guitar which he does quite often for quite a few of the songs in this setlist. It’s also notable that the biggest majority of the bass pedals are actually played by the band’s woodwind player Rob Townsend who incidentally plays a variety of instruments in this setlist including keyboards and percussion.

Another fine job is done with the lovely “Carpet Crawlers” and following this, we have “Robbery Assault and Battery” which is the only song in the entire set that Hackett and his band have never performed live before. I suppose in a way it could be seen as one of the highlights of the show and they really do pull this song off well with another excellent performance. To be honest I quite like this song unlike some who tend to write it off when speaking about the Trick Of The Tail album.

Although much of the material for the album Wind and Wuthering was written around the same time as the Trick Of The Tail album it took a while to develop it hence perhaps the reason why only one of the songs got to be played in this setlist. Personally, I think “Afterglow” is one of a couple of weaker songs on that album though they do a good convincing job of it here. It’s also the first song where you get to see that they have replicated more or less the original white lighting that was used on the original shows that genesis played back in 1976/77.

A song that is played at many of their shows “Firth of Fifth” will always be considered one of the highlights of the show and it is, without doubt, one of the finest songs the band ever wrote and one that Hackett himself has more of a role in with his guitar solo. When you look back at the older Genesis material Tony Banks never left enough space for guitar solos and many of the solos were played by himself on the keyboards, though the guitars did play an integral role to some degree.

One of the other drawbacks to this show is the lack of improvisation and even though no live performance is ever the same the very fact that this lineup has played these songs that many times before you do get a certain sense of it becoming a groundhog day sort of thing. “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” is one of the two songs in this set where they do tend to do things a bit differently, though I will say it’s not the first time I have seen them do something like this with it by adding a bit of fun in the middle section. Here they also start the song off differently and effectively I suppose how it is done is like participating with the audience and it gives Townsend in particular a chance to party with the audience on his sax.

If I had one gripe with this concert it would be on the next couple of songs that follow and although the performance of “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” is certainly very well executed (as you can see in the other official release from the concert) the very fact that they play it out with an ending before going into the closing section of “The Musical Box” is where this does not really GEL! at all.

Genesis was very much a band that knew precisely how to make a medley out of their songs and on the original Seconds Out live album the way they transcend the Lamb into the closing section of Musical Box is to perfection and if you are only going to do part of a song it needs to be done this way for it to work. Bringing the lamb to an end as they did was entirely the wrong thing to do because the only way you would ever make it work would be to play the whole of the Musical Box and not just the closing section as they did here. Doing what they did here makes the Musical Box totally out of context and I’m afraid it does not work at all for me.

No matter how you look at “Suppers Ready” it has to be another highlight and even though this long epic gets featured at many of Hackett’s more recent shows I cannot say I am tired of hearing them do it here either. Just like “Firth of Fifth” it’s very much the creme de la creme of all Genesis songs. Sadly it’s also the only time Hackett gets to play on the acoustic guitar which is really a feature that is missing from many of his more recent live shows. He’s also playing a most beautiful looking 12 string guitar too.

Another sure-fire classic is “The Cinema Show” and they play it in its entirety by including “Aisle of Plenty” I must say that Nad Sylvan handles the closing stages of the song very well and the words are a lot harder to fit in than you think. The musicians Hackett has onboard are all very well capable of pulling off these GREAT! songs and Roger King as a keyboardist is very much a perfectionist with all of Banks’s intricate keyboard work that he put into the original songs.

The band then exits the stage and comes back to play the final two songs which are both from the trick Of The Tail album to which they do a very fine job of “Dance On A Volcano” and the show gets closed off in fine style and this is once again where the white lighting returns and we also get a bit more improvisation with how “Slogans” from Hackett’s 4th album solo album Defector gets blended in very nicely into “Los Endos“. We also get a nice drum solo from Craig Blundell sandwiched in between these final two numbers who really has come on a lot since playing these old Genesis classics.

Summary & Conclusion…

To sum up and conclude my review of Genesis Revisited: Seconds Out & More by Steve Hackett. It is one of the better recent concert shows and I think what holds this together more than anything is the Genesis setlist rather than the short span of time that was given to Hackett’s solo material. Seconds Out was always a strong double live album when it was released all those years ago it also showed that Phil Collins could not only cope with the newer material but the older material that was originally sung by Peter Gabriel. It comes from an era when Genesis was still Genesis in the PROG! sense of the word before they went off into the land of confusion and became more of a pop band sort of thing.

Regarding my original two-part question in my introduction, I would not personally say you were getting anything that much different in relation to many of the recent live concerts Hackett has put out. I think a lot of Hackett’s recent shows lack the right amount of improvisation to make them any different, the other factor is that he tends to stay away from acoustic sets in his more recent shows and that is perhaps why his older concerts are more of my GOTO! ones.

However, I do feel that this particular concert is worth it because of its strong Genesis setlist and this is perhaps more of a Genesis concert in relation to his own solo material. Even though it’s not what I would call a GOTO! concert I do feel I could play this one more than many of his other recent live concerts. It’s been very well produced and comes with excellent picture and sound quality. The bonus material is not up to much but at its price point, I do think it holds good value for the money even if the bonus material is not up to much.

SECONDS OUT ROUND TWO…

The CD Tracklisting is as follows:

CD 1.
01. Apollo Intro. 1:02.
02. Clocks (The Angel Of Mons). 4:17.
03. Held In The Shadows. 7:09.
04. Every Day. 6:12.
05. The Devil’s Cathedral. 5:56.
06. Shadow Of The Hierophant. 10:49.
07. Squonk. 6:29.
08. The Carpet Crawlers. 5:50.
09. Robbery, Assault And Battery. 5:57.
10. Afterglow. 3:51.
11. Firth Of Fifth. 9:58.

CD 2.
01. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe). 8:20.
02. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. 5:10.
03. The Musical Box (Closing Section). 2:51.
04. Supper’s Ready. 24:49.
05. The Cinema Show. 10:35.
06. Aisle Of Plenty. 2:03.
07. Dance On A Volcano. 04:24.
08. Los Endos. 06:35.

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10.
The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.
The Picture Quality Rating Score. 9/10.
The Stereo Mix rating Score. 10/10.
The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 8/10.
The Bonus Material Rating Score. 2/10.
The Overall Concert Rating. 8/10.