Hierophantic Hackett

Hwaet!  The Genesis in days gone by

and the guitarist who ruled them had courage and greatness.

We have heard of that guitarist’s heroic campaigns.


A comfort sent by God to the peoples of the world.

He knew what they had tholed,

the long times and troubles they’d come through

without a leader; so the Lord of Life,

the glorious Almighty, made this Hackett renowned.

–With apologies to the Beowulf poet.


Steve Hackett - Wuthering Nights_ Live in Birmingham
InsideOut Music.  Released today in the United States.

Hackett is back, and, of course, he’s greater than before.  He has already conquered Grendel and Grendel’s mother.  Now, he returns to fulfill the prophecy of the Hierophant.

If you’ve not guessed, my copy of Hackett’s latest live offering, WUTHERING NIGHTS: LIVE IN BIRMINGHAM, arrived in my post box today.  And, oh, what a joy it is.  I’ve listened through it all, and, now, I’m rather stuck on this version of “Shadow of the Hierophant.”

As I listen and watch it repeatedly, I am reminded what first brought me to prog rock, oh so many years ago.  It is this, most certainly, this.  The build, the lingering, the apex, the mystery, and the certainty.

I’ve always considered VOYAGE OF THE ACOLYTE the lost Genesis album of 1975, much like Squire’s FISH OUT OF WATER is the lost Yes album of the same year.  “Shadow of the Hierophant” was stunning in 1975.  It’s even better in 2018.

Hackett’s recent outings and return to the beloved prog of the 1970s only makes me realize how alive this music remains. Watching Hackett, King, O’Toole, Townsend, Beggs, and Lehmann perform “Shadow of the Hierophant” reminds me that even in this world of sorrows, heroes arise, called forth by the God to remind us of what beauty still remains.


5 thoughts on “Hierophantic Hackett

  1. kruekutt

    Would love to hear Benjamin Bagby perform Part 1 of Beowulf live. When he was part of the early music ensemble Sequentia, I saw them do first-class performances of Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtuum and “The Rheingold Curse” from the Edda. A taste of Bagby’s Beowulf here: https://vimeo.com/40671018

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kruekutt

    It is lovely to have the entire “Hierophant” on this set (which I couldn’t help but sneak a peek at after reading this — blast you, Birzer!). At the Grand Rapids show, without Amanda Lehmann, they only did the instrumental playout. On the other hand, we got to see a be-kilted Nick Beggs pounding the bass pedals …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bryan Morey

    He’s the best guitarist in rock, in my opinion. Maybe he, Steve Howe, and Alex Lifeson would have to duke it out for the top title, but Hackett revolutionized playing. He basically invented tapping, and his tone is so unique. I can’t wait to watch this show soon. Until then, I’m going to go give Acolyte a listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kruekutt

      So many great guitarists out of Britain in that period — Howe, Hackett, Robert Fripp, David Gilmour, Bill Nelson of Bebop Deluxe, Robin Trower (whose The Playful Heart I’ve been listening to today) — all of them unique, all of them brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person


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