Steve Hackett’s collaboration with Hungarian fusion marvels Djabe dates back to their first performance together in 2007, but this DVD/CD comes from a 2011 concert in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The live footage is a no-frills affair without fancy lighting or stage show but the musicians have no trouble commanding attention. It’s a wide musical net that they cast, from classical to world music, Hungarian folk to rock, with selections from Djabe’s own catalogue, Hackett’s solo albums plus a smattering of Genesis. Firth Of Fifth is transformed with Ferenc Kovács playing the lead melody on violin. Kovács is a man of multiple talents, swapping violin for trumpet on Ace Of Wands, which becomes a playful folk dance. Djabe’s Butterfly starts softly with Hackett’s guitar picking out the tune before expanding into funky fusion with great syncopation between Szilárd Banai and bassist Tamás Barabás. The dextrous Banai gets to kick up some dust in a dramatic arrangement of Hackett’s Last Train To Istanbul, while the guitarist himself never disappoints, from his refined acoustic playing to the eruptive solos in City Of Habi. It’s inspiring to find a prog veteran in such an adventurous frame of mind!