Genesis legend is school success

Steve Hackett (right) and  younger brother John at Birkdale
Steve Hackett (right) and younger brother John at Birkdale

FORMER Genesis guitarist and singer Steve Hackett has played some of the world’s biggest auditoriums but on this occasion he was playing for an audience of 350 at Birkdale School in Sheffield.

He joined his brother, John, who teaches flute at the school, and keyboard player Roger King for the acoustic concert last Friday.

Steve, who recorded nine albums with Genesis in the 1970s and was recently inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, also took part in a question and answer session.

He said beforehand: “I’ve got some fond memories of playing the City Hall with Genesis, playing at The Boardwalk. I’ve probably played every venue in this city. This is going to be something different. I’m here by invitation, to support my brother and to support the school.

“I’m really impressed at the set-up. They have all sorts of people playing here and it is really organised. Usually you turn up to play a gig and the lighting is all wrong and the sound check takes hours. But they know what they are doing here – we did the sound check in a matter of seconds.”

John, a Sheffield University graduate who lives in Nether Edge, is a guitarist and flautist who composes and plays with rock bands and classical groups.

He said: “I’ve taught on and off over the years, alongside my other work. When this opportunity came up I thought the department looked really good.

“We decided to put on this gig partly as a way to persuade boys to take up the flute. It’s seen as an instrument that boys don’t usually play. But I first heard the flute played in a progressive rock band, King Crimson at the Marquee Club in London, not in an orchestra.”

Dr Spencer Pitfield, head of instrumental studies at Birkdale, said: “Music is a very important part of Birkdale School and we have over 280 pupils learning a wide variety of instruments. We aim to put on concerts of the very highest quality and Steve Hackett’s performance most definitely achieved this with well over 300 pupils, parents and friends of Birkdale attending”.

The concert had echoes of eight years ago when Eric Clapton gave a talk and performed at Birkdale, where his daughter, Ruth, was studying.

Meanwhile, fans of Genesis will be able to see Mike Rutherford as part of Mike and the Mechanics in a more traditional venue, Sheffield City Hall, on Saturday.