Bedford Corn Exchange, 27/1/2013

Thanks to Tim Chipping for this gig review, and the splendid photo is by Jane the Snail, to whom
also my grateful thanks...more of her Bedford pics are
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For a brief moment of time the Forces of Law triumphed over the Lords of Chaos; during the night,
all remnants of ice and snow vanished due to rain and a temperature of 8 degrees. The week before
the Bedford Corn Exchange gig, as more snow was forecast by probably over cautious weathermen,
was beginning to wonder if I'd make it to my first Hawkwind gig of 2013, especially as my work
had closed for 3 days. I needn't have worried though and was happily driving out of Norfolk towards
a huge orange setting sun on the afternoon of Sunday 27h February, Hall of the Mountain Grill
playing on the car cassette player.............yeah, it's an old car! Two hours later I reached the
of Bedford. After getting completely lost in the unfathomable twists and turns of the Bedford one
way system, the Forces of Law smiled once more, as after 20 minutes of circuitous bewilderment, a
car park appeared on the left hand side, into which I decided to abandon the vehicle and assess the
situation. Walking across the car park and onto the street I thought I then recognised the scene from
the morning's perusal of Google Streetview and sure enough, a few hundred yards further along the
street, was the Bedford Corn Exchange. What a stroke of luck.

This was my first visit to the venue and a very nice hall it proved to be. I made my way to the
merchandising stall and purchased the new Hawkwind Light Orchestra Stellar Variations CD and
after a short wait, the Maria Daines Band strolled on stage to begin their support slot; 40 minutes of
bluesy type rock with an animal welfare theme as part of their agenda. One thing which spoilt this
band's set was the unnecessary hoick in volume which (presumably) the sound man decided to do
on the final song to give the finale a bit of umph. Unfortunately the music became so loud that there
was no definition to the instruments and just an ugly sizzling of the high frequencies. Come on dude,

The hall was near to capacity, I'd say, by the time Hawkwind took to the stage. A recitation by Dibs
of The Awakening started proceedings followed by a full-on assault with Master of the Universe,
Mr Brock slicing vicious chords from his Westone guitar. This was followed by You'd Better Believe
It.............I didn't actually recognise this, one of my fave songs (remember what had been playing
in the car on the trip to the gig?) because that itchy volume finger had twitched again making the
sound a complete mush. Shame. Due to the volume issue, I wasn't completely sure of the next few
numbers. I now note from the Starfarer setlist resource that Hills have Ears was in fact next but at
the time I was thinking it may even have been a new song. Seasons came next, recognised mainly
due to remembering the accompanying video images from previous gigs. Next came a quieter
moment with Tim Blakes' instrumental Southern Cross, the performance of which came across as
a little bit random due to Tim and Dead Fred seeming to improvise around the main tune without
actually playing the melody line...................maybe it was my pummelled ears giving up on me.

Then came the best part of the show, the previous quieter piece of music seemed to bring the
volume down to a level where all the instruments and vocals were balanced but loud enough to
get the musical muscle of the songs across. Assault and Battery, Golden Void, Where Are They Now
were superb and Prometheus was the best song of the night for me. We then had a poignant, sparse
rendition of Dragons and Fables heartfeltly sung by Dibs in remembrance of Huw. The slides and
videos which were projected during this song brought back lots of memories of seeing Huw with
Hawkwind throughout the greater part of the 80s. There aren't many guitarists who are instantly
recognisable by their tone and musical phrasing, but Huw was definitely one. He will be missed.

Arrival In Utopia was a surprise.......and a very welcome one, complete with a Dibs poem inserted
into the middle section. Nice. Damnation Alley ended the main set and after a short wait we were
treated to an encore of Spirit Of The Age and a mighty Silver Machine......which just about survived
the then re-emerging high frequency sizzle. Oh well.

The slide and video projections were certainly up to the usual top notch standard as was the lighting.
The two dancers obviously put a great deal of work into devising routines which compliment the
songs excellently without getting in the way or taking over from the music..............and the
costumes are brilliant! Can't wait for April and the Warrior Tour....................and I only have to
drive 15 miles to Norwich. Yay, the Hawks are back in the east at last! Thanks guys.

Tim Chipping