Collectors Series Vol 2: Live 1982 CD review
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"Collector Series Vol 2: Live 1982" is the official name of this album according to the front of the CD.  If
you look at the spine, it's "Collector Series Vol 2: Choose Your Masques".  This is a Voiceprint release
that's been out for a couple of years and of course consists of a live recording on 12th  November 1982 at
the Hammersmith Odeon, as it happens.  The tracklist is:

CD1                                CD2
Choose Your Masques                Arrival In Utopia
Coded Languages                    Solitary Mind Games
Magnu                              Dream Worker
Dust of Time                       Brainstorm
Warriors at the Edge of Time       Ejection
Waiting for Tomorrow               Shot Down In The Night
Angels of Death                    Masters of the Universe
Psychedelic Warrior (?!)
Utopia
Social Alliance

So, even before hearing this CD, it's apparent that the setlist extended well beyond the Choose Your
Masques album, and so "Live 1982" seems like the best shorthand way of referring to it.  As with many of
the other Voiceprint issues, the packaging is pretty good, with a 16-page colour booklet which I assume
reproduces the 1982 tour programme.  The only odd thing is that CD1 is silver writing on a black
background and CD2 is black text on silver - this made me do a double take as I thought for a moment
someone had put the wrong CD into the case...and on checking the running times of the two discs, it
seems to be just over 50 minutes for CD1 and 22 minutes for CD2.  In other words, everything could have
been fitted onto one CD.

Choose Your Masques gets the show underway with a synthy intro and then the single riff of which this
song consists.  Dave Brock's vocals are crystal clear and are carrying quite a bit of reverb which really
makes them stand out above the slightly murky sounding backing - as does Harvey's rant halfway through.  
Huw's guitar solo is equally lucid, but the backing remains turgid despite being a bit pacier than the original
studio version.  The sound is not *bad* - it's just the arrangement which is less than optimal.  Initially it
seems that this carries through to the next track, Coded Languages, which begins with some weird
squelchy and clanky synth and a spoken intro by Harvey, who sounds like the 1980's version of Nik Turner
in the way he phrases the lyrics, but the voice is definitely Harvey's.  This has never been a favourite track
as far as I'm concerned, but again they pump the pace up a bit from the original version and turn in a very
tight performance.  At this point I'm starting to wonder about the provenance of the tape from which this
album came: the compressed tone of Brock's guitar and the slightly boomy bass make me think this might
be a retrospectively legitimised bootleg.  Anyway, Nik Turner surfaces just before the 4 minute mark with a
manic sax solo that suits the song well, and does his thing till it ends on 5 minutes.

A seemingly amphetamine-fuelled rendition of Magnu is initially marred by an unseemly blast of sax from
Nik, but then he goes unaccountably quiet as Huw Lloyd Langton throws Hindu scale lead guitar all over
the place (mostly at the end of the vocal lines, it must be said) and in the middle section, the two of them
let rip together, then separately, then together again.  What a din...quite good, but it's a relief when the band
segues into Dust Of Time.  This opens with the two-chord pastoral piece of hard rock that was titled "The
Island" on the Zones album.  There's a ton of double bass drum pumping away in this song, and I'm
wondering who's drumming - probably Martin Griffin.  So at a guess the line-up is Griffin /  Bainbridge /
Brock / Turner  / Lloyd Langton - they're amazingly manic.  But woe!  For Michael Moorcock appears on
stage to narrate Warriors at the Edge of Time.  It's been my misfortune to hear 2 different versions of this
on consecutive evenings, but that's what you get for reviewing the less exalted Hawkwind albums, I
suppose.  The backing to Warriors at the Edge of Time is good, with some classic Hawkwind synth which
is slightly reminiscent of Shine On You Crazy Diamond once Mr. Moorcock shuts up and you can hear it
properly.  Then the keyboards go all Gong-like for the intro to Waiting For Tomorrow.  This song, and
Huw's voice, are so distinctive that it sounds just like most other versions out there, until Harvey pulls a
horrible half-tone hammer-on / pull-off on the chorus.  And then we get another sax solo from Nik, which
is not as good as the melodic fills he does in the last verse and coda - real classic Turner tone, too, using
his baritone sax I would guess from the punchy low register tones he generates.

Angels of Death is a song which ought to sound better when pumped up in a manic way like everything
else in this set so far - and so it proves.  If allowed to slow down it often sounds club-footed, but this zips
along nicely.  Dave handles the vocals of course, and when will Nik get to sing anything?  He's here, of
course, providing some more atmospheric sax in the extended middle section, counterpointing Huw and
vice versa in a couple of places.  Amazingly they both manage to stop in mid-caterwaul when the vocals
come back in for a brief third verse.  They must have rehearsed!  Some things are now becoming clear
about the gig where this was recorded and the CD itself.  The band are tight and well rehearsed: the sound
quality is not quite there, tending to mush the rhythm instruments together in a slightly blurred melange -
Brock's rhythm guitar suffers the most from this.  Nik is behaving in an exemplary fashion, restricting his
input to appropriately situated sax wig-outs: and Huw is going well over the top, piling on as many notes as
he can hit, but doing it well.  (The clarity with which the two lead instruments can heard probably
overemphasizes this apparent hyperactivity.)

"Psychedelic Warrior" as the CD cover claims it to be, is actually Psychedelic Warlords, and this is a live
rendition of the Choose Your Masques version of that song.  Which I think I called utterly pointless
somewhere else on this site.  Interestingly, Huw does the lead vocals, and I have to say the best thing about
this is Nik's sax contribution at the three minute mark...but this isn't a good arrangement of the song
anyway, and the boominess I mentioned in the sound quality does not help at all - unlike on say, Angels of
Death, where it wasn't a noticeable.irritant.  This number drags on and on and right at the end attempts a
chord progression that was on the original cut...but like banging your head against a brick wall, it feels
good when it stops.

CD1 closes out with Utopia, which is the Nik Turner narration piece - he 'sings' at last - and then goes into
Turner Point from the Out & Intake album, providing another mad sax escapade, underpinned by those
double bass drums and some excellent muted guitar riffing from the Captain.  Finally the song mutates
briefly into Social Alliance, of which there is just one verse and one chorus - played at a high speed and
sounding a good deal tighter than on the Zones album.  So taking these three together (the CD labels them
as two numbers), the material is pretty iffy but is put over well by the band.  They seemed to be playing if
not a scorcher of a gig, at least a very good one.

CD2 opens with Arrival In Utopia, undoubtedly one of the band's best songs from the 80's.  The synths are
maybe too high in the mix and for the first time Nik seems to be doing some (slightly odd) backing vocals,
but it's otherwise an excellent live rendition of the studio arrangement - give or take a rather dodgy lead
vocal from Mr. Brock.  There is then a plaintive, meandering middle section which features a descending
keyboard motif and some good flute before the main riff comes back with an all too brief snatch of hot lead
guitar from Huw.  Dave's vocals seems to be getting worse as the song progresses - this would have been
better with the final verse / chorus being replaced by some more of Nik's flute duetting with Huw's guitar.

Solitary Mind Games follows this up, and as with Waiting For Tomorrow, its' distinctiveness paradoxically
makes it sound like almost every other rendition out there.  But this one has a couple of lush synth chords,
and more tasteful flute from Nik, who has really done an excellent job of listening to this song (which had
been out for a couple of years while he was busy elsewhere with Inner City Unit) and working out what he
could play and where.  For my money Nik has always been much better as a flute player than on the sax,
but here he really displays some sensitivity to the vibe of the song, picking out the main riff on the
instrumental passages and supplying colour and texture in between the vocal phrases elsewhere. The
applause at the end sounds grafted on, though :-)

Dream Worker is one of Harvey Bainbridge's soundtrack-to-a-nightmare efforts, but I think has Nik doing
the lead vocals.  This kind of thing doesn't do anything for me, except for giving rise to a vicarious sense
of satisfaction whenever someone cites one of these as evidence that Hawkwind came from the dark side
and were never peace-and-love hippies.  But this is quite well done, avoiding histrionics and doing
everything to maintain the brooding atmosphere of this number... If only I could say the same of  
Brainstorm.  Something has gone horribly wrong here...it sounds like a tape being chewed up, or speeding
up and then slowing down.  Which is annoying as Nik really sings for the first time, and with the way the
band were playing on the night this was recorded, should have / could have sounded fantastic.  Huw really
lets rip with the guitar solos but everything goes pear-shaped in a formless middle section where Nik starts
playing silly buggers on the sax while the rest of the band grind away tunelessly around him.  However, the
sound has by this time stopped wavering and it starts to come together again when the Captain exerts his
influence with some tight rhythm guitar, giving Huw and Nik the base they need to go off into solo land
again (briefly).  Finally Harvey and Martin rejoin the party to close things out with a tense minute or so of
riffing.

Ejection opens with someone, I think it's Nik, talking all over the taped intro - again, it's the
control-tower-to-pilot preflight check from the Captain Lockheed album.  Bad Nik!  He makes a decent fist
of taking the lead vocals on Ejection however, which is here pretty un-spacey.  Fast, hard guitar and bass
riffing, and another mid song double solo from Huw and Nik.  These passages work amazingly well given
that both musicians had, particularly at this point in the band's history, a tendency to overplay.  After this
double solo, Ejection ceases to be and becomes Shot Down In The Night, with Dave and Nik doing dual
lead vocals - not an altogether successful move.  This is played faster than on the Live 79 album, and the
indistinctness of the sound prevents the full blanga effect from coming through.  And just as this is
ratcheting up for Huw's guitar solo, it's all change again as the band launch straight into Master Of The
Universe (a medley, horror of horrors!), Nik doing the vocals alone now.   The arrangement is otherwise
reminiscent of the Live 79 version, being fast (perhaps too fast) and pretty one-dimensional.  At the bridge,
where the other instruments stop, we finally get to hear some classic Brock riffing for just about the first
time on this album. Thereafter Huw takes the spotlight with nonstop wailing of a fairly undistinguished
nature until the track ends...and with it the CD.


Rather an odd album, this.  It isn't a classic but definitely has its moments, and importantly, captures
Hawkwind at a point just before they entered a marked decline in 1983-84.  To my surprise, the person
who does best here is probably Nik Turner, with Huw Lloyd Langton pushing him very close.  I think this
has a lot to do with the sound quality - the CD provides a complete inverse of  Mick Farren's quote about
everything "above the rhythm section being still a fairly limited blur".  But that isn't all there is to it, as what
Nik & Huw play is of a high standard throughout.  Of the rest of the band, Dave Brock doesn't sound at all
good, with disappointing guitar tone (sound issues again) and some none too great vocals along the way.  
Marrtin Griffin and Harvey Bainbridge seem to deliver the goods in the engine room, and I noticed the odd
praiseworthy thing coming out of there (this is one of Harvey's tightest performances, by the way) but
again, the sound hasn't done them any favours.  But I might be overemphasizing this - the sound's not
*bad*, just less than perfect.  In fact, the only real blemish on this album is whatever it was that went
wrong with Brainstorm...

It might help to compare this with some of the other major live albums.   It falls short of This Is Hawkwind
Do Not Panic and the Live 79 album; but it's streets ahead of the Complete 79 album (which was Volume 1
in this Collector Series) and many of those half-live, half-studio efforts like In Your Area and Zones.  A
closer comparison, for the overall quality of the thing would be to the Undisclosed Files Addendum album -
probably a 6 out of 10.