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  • Miles Hedley

STEVE HOWE at The Albany

Updated: Feb 5, 2019

Any talk of living guitar heroes almost inevitably zooms in on Messrs Clapton, Beck and Page. But there are others who are just as amazing such as legendary Yes maestro Steve Howe.

And in case anyone had forgotten how good he is, he laid out his very considerable stall in a mesmerising acoustic gig at the Albany.

Over the course of 90 minutes, Howe revisited his remote past – he started playing in 1959 – took us through his prog pomp and brought us firmly up to date with compositions from the past couple of years.

In short, he gave us a potted history of rock and roll.

His programme included a brilliant version of Trambone, a song made famous by his own hero, pioneering guitar-picker Chet Atkins.

His days with Yes were covered by memorable versions of – among others – Masquerade, The Ancient, Mood For A Day, Clap and, of course, Roundabout.

And his latest works were represented by No Initial, a moving tribute to his musician son Virgil who died last year from a heart attack aged just 41.

The song added extra poignancy to the fact the Albany gig was raising funds for an award in honour of young local musician Ed Renshaw who committed suicide after a long battle with depression.

Howe rounded off his stunning set with Sketches In The Sun, from the 90s.

The crowd may have been small for a man who once sold out stadiums around the world. But what we lacked in numbers we more than made up for in love for this extraordinary talent.

Earlier, we were treated to 20-minute sets by three Renshaw award-winners – Jay Johnson, Sacha Thomas and Jack Patchett.

If they are typical of the new generation of guitarists, music-lovers have nothing to fear.

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