|Out Of The Shadows - Newcastle December 2002 DVD
Many thanks to CD Services and Secret Records for this exclusive sneak preview of the CD cover (below
left: illustration by Rodney Matthews) and tracklisting. It was finally released on 19/04/2004
spans over three decades, groaning shelves full of album and CD releases, and a line up as fluid as
Napoleonâ€™s Grand Army. All you can do when writing about Hawkwind is to try to capture their
essence, the stellar drive which has fuelled this silver machine from the broad, multi-coloured plains of
psychedelia in 1969, through the time warp of a new Millennium and into the foothills of eternity.
If that reads like Pseud's Corner, then no apologies are offered. Hawkwind are so different to any other
band that only a semantic overdrive can match what they do.
The voyage begins in 1969, when original members Terry Ollis (drums), Nik Turner (vocals/sax/flute) Dave
Brock (guitar,/vocals/synth) Dikmik (Michael Davis), electronics/keyboards Mick Slattery (guitar) and John
Harrison (bass) started out as Group X, and soon became Hawkwind. To list all the line-ups since then
would require another DVD - but the one constant anchor remains, Dave Brock.
Hawkwind embodied the spirit of freedom we all enjoyed in the decade of Peace & Love more than any
other act. Their love of performance obliterated the slightest whiff of financial avarice. Anyone who
witnessed their free concert outside the gates at 1970's Isle of Wight Festival will recall that when it came to
open-hearted musicianship and artistic munificence, this was a group who talked the talk and walked the
walk. Hawkwind have probably shared their musical vision of freedom with more non-paying punters than
any band since. And there have been some fine highlights and spin-offs along the way. In the early 70s the
raw bass power of Lemmy Kilmister stalked the line-up, who long before the supercharged metal drive of
Motorhead was adding to the stuff of legend with his contribution to the classic Silver Machine. Space, time
and the galactic beyond has it's literary exponents, too, and therefore it was no surprise to see the mega-
successful SF writer Michael Moorcock filling the line-up in the early 70s. In addition to such
luminescence, there are few Hawkwind aficionados who don't look back with lumpy loon pants to the
interstellar cavorting of Stacia, Hawkwind's very own 'exotic dancer'. A Hawkwind performance always
was, and will always be, something which burns itself into your musical memory.
Hawkwind's music is timeless, untouched by musical trends, the tractor beam of a craft launched on an
everlasting journey to God knows where. And here you have the ultimate experience, courtesy of a new
technology we could only hint at when this free-thinking band, always with an eye open for the future, first
trod the boards. Who better to front this indestructible institution in the new millennium than the God of
Hellfire himself, Arthur Brown. And there, at the molten core of it all, stands the man who has been there
since Hawkwind's birth - Dave Brock.
Here's all your favourites - from the breathtaking pace of the late Robert Calvert's Aero Space Age Inferno,
Lemmy's The Watcher and the Brock/Calvert mega-opus, Silver Machine. They don't make bands like this
They don't need to - there's only one Hawkwind!
Well I always intended to post a review of the DVD here, but as I live in the USA my copy is
presumably en route and those in the UK who pre-ordered already have theirs. In other words,
someone else beat me to it! Here's the first review, from Kris Clayton, thank you Kris!!:
This DVD is a recording of the 1st date on the Christmas 2002 tour, from Newcastle Opera House. The
lineup was: Dave Brock, Alan Davey, Richard Chadwick, Huw Lloyd Langton, Tim Blake and Arthur
Brown. The tracklist isn't quite what it says on the box, so I won't list it here.
The overall sound and video quality on this DVD is nothing short of fantastic. The differences between
digital and analogue recordings continue to amaze me!
The band start off with "Earth Calling" which isn't listed as it's a 30 second intro to "Aerospaceage Inferno"
off the Starfighters album. This is done brilliantly with Arthur Brown handling lead vocals. In typical Arthur
style he's seen wearing baggy gold trousers and an interesting hat. In the middle part of the song, it breaks
down into a slow jam on what seems to be the Magnu riff, which then escalates back into the final verse of
Next up is a nice tight version of "Angels of Death" which, as usual is very well peformed. This is followed
by "Out of the Shadows", which up till now I had never liked, mainly because the only time I have heard
it is on the Classic Rock DVD, and I really didn't enjoy it, mainly because of the over the top keyboards in
between verses. This version is fantastic however, I can finally see why so many people tell me this is a
Arthur Brown returns to the stage, wearing a giant anchor on his head (which according to Dave Brock in
the bonus interview on the disc, was a prop for a play being performed at the Opera House the night
before!) to perform "Time Captives" (or Time Captains?), one of his own numbers. I had never heard this
before, but I really like it. Quite obviously Arthur's voice lends itself to his own numbers much better than it
does to Hawkwind, and this works great to cool down the mood a bit after the intense blanga of the first 3
songs! I certainly enjoy the similarities to Deep Purple's "Child in Time" in the end part.
"Master of the Universe". The main problem with this seems to be that Arthur is ad-libbing the vocals. Now
this wouldn't be a problem in itself, as I quite enjoyed the ad-libbing on "Silver Machine" of the Canterbury
album. However, on this peice Alan Davey is singing the correct lyrics at the same time, which causes a lot
of confusion. The band play this excellently, and after the ISOS and Space Ritual versions, this is my
favourite version I have heard so far. Pure Blanga!
"The Song of the Gremlins" is actually "The Gremlin Song Part 2", once again off the Starfighters album.
This works well with Arthurs vocals, as of course, he was the vocalist on the original song. I would have
liked to hear a bit of "Gremlin Song Part 1" thrown in as well, but you can't have everything...
Arthur's final song until the encore is "Time and Confusion", another one of his own. This definitely has a
1971-ish Pink Floyd feel to it in the intro, but Arthur's vocals are so distinctive, all comparisons disappear in
the verse. This 'Slow Rock Ballad' once again slows the pace right down, but the outro seems to be a
completely different song, building the speed and pace up once again.
"Hurry on Sundown" is next. What can be said? It's just such a great song isn't it. Dave Brock's vocals
haven't changed a bit on it since it first came out. Richard Chadwick adds to it greatly with his wonderfull
Terry Ollis-esque drum rolls. Love it!
Tim Blake takes the microphone for "Lighthouse". Bless him for trying. Sure his vocals arn't fantastic, but it
just wouldn't be the same if anyone else sang it, would it?
I would have said the same about Lemmy and "The Watcher", had it not been for Alan Davey's version
here. It sounds a lot more like a Lemmy piece than the version on Doremi did in fact, as that was a slow
piece, not something normally associated with Lemmy. This version has had the same done to it as "Hurry
on Sundown" has had recently - an early 70's classic redone for the new millenium.
The impressive lightshow really comes into its own with "Assasains of Allah". Giant swirly green tunnelly
things with massive weed leafs flying around etc. Fantastic stuff. I remember being suitably impressed
when I saw them later in the tour at Manchester by the intensity of the whole thing. Oh, and the songs
great as well, just as it has been on every single live recording for the last ten years.
I definitely feel that "Earth Calling" is an unfair name for the next track. Sure, the last 30 seconds are indeed
the aforementioned, but what about the 4 or so minuetes of "You Shouldn't do That" during which the
crowd (and I must admit, myself) went wild. ABSOLUTLY AMAZING BLANGA!!! This is definitely one
of the highlights of the DVD for me. After this, the band disappear off stage.
They return with Arthur, spookily dressed as the invisible man, to perform "Sonic Space Attack" (which is
of course better known as "Sonic Attack"). Arthur Brown disguises the fact he is reading off the lyric
sheet, by making it look as if he is reading a proclamation. Which in a way he is. This version sits nicely
somewhere between the Space Ritual and Sonic attack versions. It then seques into...
"Silver Machine", which is great as always. After 4 minutes of fantastic 'Golden Oldies" ha ha, the band are
done. At least they included the whole show, unlike the "Spaced out in London" CD from later in the tour.
In case you couldn't tell, I loved this DVD, and I recommend you should all buy it! For me, it's the best
Hawkwind DVD out there. The bonus interview is excellent too, almost an hour long and very imformative
(when Dave can recall what actually has happened in his life, with some prompting from Kris!)
When Dave says "See you all soon" at the end of the set, he doesn't know how right he is... in 4 hours or
so I will be at Manchester Ritz seeing them once again!!! Excellent stuff!
Track Listing Timing
1. Aero Space Age Inferno 07:45
2. Angels Of Death 06:31
3. Out Of The Shadows 04:52
4. Time Captives 05:22
5. Master Of the Universe 04:29
6. The Song Of The Gremlins 02:34
7. Time & Confusion 04:19
8. Hurry On Sundown 05:30
9. Lighthouse 06:21
10. The Watcher 04:31
11. Assassins Of Allah 09:15
12. Earth Calling 03:53
13. Sonic Space Attack 04:26
14. Silver Machine 03:36
The following are the sleeve notes. Originally I was
asked not to reproduce these but I see they're in the
public domain, so here you go:
Hawkwind. What does that conjure up? Space, Time,
and other dimensions.
Space may be infinite, but there's not enough here to
cover the epic journey of a band whose existence
And now...my review!
Well first of all, there have been some questions and some confusion about the formatting of this DVD,
which is Region 0 (i.e. region free) but encoded for the European PAL television standard. So I tried it first
on an American TV/DVD combo, which is NTSC: it said "Incorrect Disk" and so I popped it into a laptop
with a DVD drive, and...it worked!
After the usual gubbins about copyright, blah blah, the opening screen displays four menu items, over a
backing track of what is evidently Hawkwind, looped, and sounding excellent - if the rest of the DVD
sounds this good, we're in for a treat. The initial choices are Launch The Gig (self-explanatory), Navigation
Menu (a list of tracks), Captain's Report (an hour-long interview) and Mission Brief (the sleeve notes,
which I've already posted above on this page).
I watched the gig in its entirety first. This opens with band members ambling about their business on the
stage, awash with blue light and dry ice, with a Pete Pracownik backdrop behind. Dave straps on his
guitar, adjusts the microphone and mouths inaudibly at first. We see Tim Blake sat at the keyboards, and
the band ease into a very brief rendition of Earth Calling, lasting all of 30 seconds - it's almost
indistinguishable as a song: the most low-key start that could be imagined.
So really, Aerospaceage Inferno is the first number, and we get a close-up of each band member, Arthur
Brown being last but not least. Huw is wearing a Spacehead T-shirt and plays some nice melodic leadlines
along the way. We can hear these perfectly because the sound is excellent - clear and balanced, without the
low-to-mid raunch that makes the Spaced Out In London CD chug along so ferociously (although the
arrangements of the songs are identical). The visuals are also well balanced, letting us see the band, the
lightshow and the stage lighting (predominantly blues and greens) in just about perfect measure. The
lighting is never too "bright", as it occasionally was on the Classic Rock DVD, and gets across the visual
impact of what it is like to see Hawkwind play live. And on this DVD, unlike some others, there are no
dancers, fire eaters, jugglers, etc. to distract from the essential business at hand.
With Arthur Brown out there cavorting around as frontman, Dave Brock can lurk behind his synths, which
is probably what he prefers, even though he's thrashing away on the guitar, e.g. on the second number,
Angels Of Death. Dave and Alan do the dual lead vocals thing on this one, and Huw does another guitar
solo: long, slow ambient stuff, not the 'Live 79' style plethora of notes. As the DVD progresses, this fact
emerges as something of a theme. Third up is a pumping version of Out Of The Shadows. The lightshow
is becoming more and more psychedelic, with prismatic rainbows emanating from behind Huwieâ€™s head
- and his determination to play it melodically is slightly at odds with the blanga being churned out behind
him. But he does launch some trademark flurries, increasing the notes-per-second ratio considerably, in the
run-up to the staccato middle section (which boasts a great bass solo from Alan Davey). At this stage it's
hard to tell if Huw is winging it, treading water, just marking time or what. But the truth becomes clear
before the end of the DVD.
For Time Captains, Arthur comes out peering through the looped part of a stage-prop anchor...there seems
to be some sort of in-joke going on here, judging by Rob Dreamworker's We Are The Road Crew piece,
which details events on the road leading up to the very gig that was filmed for this DVD. Huw plays his
best guitar yet on this track - as it's a slower number with more minimal instrumentation, his long,
sustained, plaintive, reverb-rich notes make more sense. Arthur himself, though, makes a bit of a pig's ear
of the wordless acapella vocal in the coda of the song, only to pull back from the brink when he goes up a
couple of octaves. At the end of the number, Brock shouts out "We only rehearsed that the other day!"
Arthur announces Master Of The Universe in a sonorous voice which is slightly spoiled by the stage banter
that follows, but the track itself is terrific - Arthur can't quite remember the words, which sounds weird as
Alan Davey, who's doing backing vocals, can. On this number Huw is not left behind to the same degree -
his fingers remember some of the lead runs he used to do a quarter of a century ago! Richard Chadwick
also takes to MOTU like a duck to water, cutting between 2/2 and 4/4 time with some excellent rips around
the kit along the way.
Song Of The Gremlin has Arthur singing, of course, and producing his best vocals yet. Dave alternates
between synth and guitar, and you can see how hard he's working to keep the show on the road. Arthur
comes right out to the front of the stage and as the band lay aside their instruments, delivers the final
Gremlin monologue unaccompanied. Then it's straight into Time and Confusion, which here shows its
bluesy credentials thanks largely to some very sympathetic keyboards from Tim Blake, who throws down a
traditional Hammond organ sound. This number is also tailor-made for Huw and he obliges with some
emotional lead guitar, all shades of light and dark. He and Arthur really do a double act here, with Huwâ
€™s clusters of notes placed at the end of Arthur's vocal lines, which also run the gamut from soft to
strident and back again. The second half of the song moves into more traditional Hawkwind territory with
a real riff for the Brock / Davey / Chadwick rhythm section to get their teeth into!
Hurry On Sundown sees Brock back at center stage (figuratively: he's still tucked way behind the
bedspread!), taking the lead vocal and with his guitar thrashing out the riff for everyone else to follow. The
Captain looks at his most animated yet singing this one, with his eyebrows raised in his trademark quizzical
Lighthouse, the Tim Blake number that Hawkwind covered on the Live 79 album, pops up next. Tim
handles the, er, vocals, and ad-libs the lyrics a fair bit, but holds down the keyboard arrangements fairly
faithfully. Once the verse proper starts, Tim's singing gathers pace a bit and gets there on conviction â€“
he'll never be a classic vocalist, but once you accept his voice on its own terms, it's effective. I can't say
the same for his dancing, which consists of an outstretched imploring arm while still seated at the
keyboards, at one point. Gradually the band pick up the theme, with Alan Davey holding it all together as he
has done all the way through. Dave and Huw swap places on the guitar, if I'm not mistaken, with HLL
cranking out chords and Dave stitching together the little looped guitar figure that brings this song to a
The next person to step into the limelight is Alan Davey, with The Watcher - a bass-dominated song
anyway, and of course he takes the vocals too - although without quite doing the full Lemmy impression
for which he's sometimes criticised. He's wearing a burkha which visually differentiates him, but itâ€™s all
in the angle of the microphone, which he has not heightened to the fiull throat-stretching extent, thus
smoothing out his singing a little! There's a nice backdrop of the Alien figure from the 1995 album / tour of
that name and theme - so this is The Watcher? It makes sense (even though we hear a different explanation
of what the song is about later on.)
Dave announces Assassins of Allah and they launch into a great version of it, swirling synths matched by
the concentric rings of coruscating green and blue rings on the backdrop behind the band. Once again Alan
does most of the singing and we get only one verse and chorus before going into the ambient midsection
that is also known as Space Is Their Palestine. The crowd sing along in a shouty sort of way, with Alan
conducting or orchestrating their participation. Huw throws in some fairly inconsequential bits of lead, but
the best intervention is probably Tim Blake's techno rhythm track which brings some focus to this rather
meandering piece of music. Finally Brock joins in with the It Is Written riff, and Mr. Davey, who frankly
looked a bit bored in the interlude, grins contentedly as if to say "All right, here's the *real* Hawkwind!"
You Shouldn't Do That unexpectedly follows, with Huw by now sitting down on this most high-energy of
numbers, To compensate, Dave emerges from behind his synths to pound the guitar and this seems to
persuade Huw to get to his feet just in time for the Seeing It As You Really Are coda. Over the last couple
of years this seems to have acquired some new lyrics, the refrain of which is "This is Earth Calling", and
that's the name it seemingly now goes under. It's really too short here, but maybe represents the best 1
minute and 30 seconds of music in this DVD so far - and also the end of the main part of the set. The
camera is left focused on the orange-lit empty stage...
Arthur strides back on a minute or so later than the rest of the band, sinisterly clad all in black with his face
covered by a black mask. He uses a torch as a stage prop to make a virtue out of the necessity of reading
the lyrics to Sonic Attack from sheets of paper.
Surprisingly, the band play Spacebrock (sometimes known as Money Tree) behind Arthur - an unexpected
reminder of the Ron Tree / Jerry Richards era. They mutate this into the Paranoia riff as Arthur scans the
audience with his flashlight, but this is only a passing moment as the backing moves into Silver Machine.
Arthur sheds the black mask and glasses to show his real self and the fantastic quality of his voice. Also
starring are Dave Brock, with some really powerful thrashing rhythm, and Richard Chadwick, with more of
his flawless excursions around the kit, recalling the best moments of Simon King. What a great way for the
DVD to end.
Except that it's not the end. There's also an interview with Dave Brock, conducted by Jet Martin in
September 2003 - it is *not* the same as the one that appeared on the Welcome To The Future boxed set, I
am happy to say.
The discussion opens with reminiscences about Dave's days in Amsterdam (as the band had just played at
the Melkweg) and moves onto the Hawkfests, with mentions of Hawkwind conventions and Arin & Richâ
€™s wedding. Where the earlier interview that Jet Martin did with the Captain featured more of a
chronological trawl through Hawkwind's history, this is more thematic. Topics covered include some of
the logistical stuff, like staging costs and equipment. But mostly there is discussion of various past and
present members of the band and how they came to be in Hawkwind (incidentally, the Hawkwind revolving
door is blamed on the fans "liking it" - just thought you'd all like to know!). This stuff is not always
flattering, and Martin Griffin takes a bit of stick - apparently Dave threatened to shoot him in the knee - MG
wasn't to know that it was only a starter pistol! Dave is all smiles and laughs a lot throughout, so this
doesn't come across as any kind of hatchet job. Mention of Nik Turner might have led us down that road
but it does not prompt the level of bitterness you might expect - though Dave does rather decline to say
much about recent events vis-Ã -vis Nik, confining himself to the well-known observations about excessive
sax-playing. And he does concede that Nik was a good front man.
Regarding Huwie, Dave takes pains to explain the health problems with which Huw had been afflicted:
Legionnaire's Disease (in 2002), hypoglycaemia and osteoporosis...although (an aside), having watched the
DVD, my feeling is that the direction Huw's taken as a musician, towards a more bluesy style, is as much
the reason for his drifting out of Hawkwind as the health issues. (Not everyone agrees with me on this!)
Someone else given a good report card is DikMik, who Dave credits with actually *playing music* on the
audio generator, which apparently ain't that easy.
Let's finish with a few quotations:
On Richard Chadwick "Very easy-going - an old hippy!"
On Alan Davey: "He's the best bass player we've ever had"
When asked if he'd spotted Lemmy's star quality straight away, Dave says "No! We were all just stoned
Overall then, this is I think the best Hawkwind DVD that's been released. It's a very straightforward
portrait of what the band are like live, with a few good and bad things along the way. The interview is a
real bonus, enjoyable to watch as the Captain's good humour is infectious. 9/10
Hawkwind's latest DVD is "Out Of The Shadows", available on Secret Records from CD Services and
other stockists. Digitally filmed and recorded at Newcastle Opera House on 4th December 2002, the DVD
boasts 5.1 Surround Sound and has the following tracklist: