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.
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.