|Gig Review 8 - Wembley 19/10/2002
The Twin Towers in this instance being Hawkwind and Motorhead playing on the same bill
at Wembley Arena. Motorhead topped the bill and Hawkwind played as "Special Guests",
below Anthrax, who were the support band per se. Sacrilege!
|This gig was reviewed by Rich Warren and Manfred Scholido, originally on the BOC-L / Hawkwind email
list, and their writing appears here with their permission
This was a Heavy Full On Blanga set from start to finish. The band decided to go at it like a freight train.
Setlist: Ejection / Angels of Death / Motorway City / Hurry on Sundown / Master of the Universe / Song of
the Gremlin / The Watcher / Assassins of Allah / Silver Machine
Crew Members: Dave Brock, Huw Lloyd Langton, Alan Davey, Richard Chadwick, Tim Blake, Arthur
Brown (vocals on Master of the Universe & Song of the Gremlin, backing vocals on Silver Machine),
Lemmy (bass/vocals on Silver Machine)
Ejection really started it the way they meant to go on, the heaviest I think I've ever heard the band,
probably necessary with an audience constructed of 50% Nu Metal Kids, and the rest grizzled old
Motorhead fans (with us handful of true believers ;-) Angels of Death followed with a very 'wall of sound'
feel, I think the sound was very distorted at this point...but others might disagree!
Motorway City really shone, Huw was certainly having one of his in-form gigs, and enjoying himself
(though there did seem to be problems with his monitors being up too high through parts of the set).
Hurry On Sundown, never fails to get me bouncing, it's as fresh as the day it was written (though I'd love
to hear it acoustic sometime...broken record...)
A very heavy, storming Master of the Universe, which even with Arthur reading the lyrics off, left me
reeling. Song of the Gremlin, how often do we ever hear that :-) What can I say about Arthur Brown!!
He was a superb performer, a real showman. Lemmy might have started Motorhead's set with 'we're
going to f**k you up', but I think Arthur got there first :-) He truly is the God of Hellfire.
The Watcher was pretty much as played on recent dates, though as people have already said this was
closer to an instrumental version, because Alan's vocals just weren't audible, he suffered from this through
other parts of the set as well.
Assassins of Allah, I think it's impossible for this song not to be a crowd pleaser, no change here. And
then back on, after a little foot stomping, for Silver Machine. Lemmy looks larger than life, he always
seems to fill the stage :-) A crowd already enjoying themselves muchly went wild. Have to say he looks
his old self again. And yet again the sound guys blow it, the first few seconds the whole band was only on
monitors, before the sound was switched back on. When it did come up, it was by far the best
performance of Silver Machine I've seen in the gigs I've been to. Arthur was singing backing vocals, and
Tim leapt up from his synths to join Arthur at his mic..
A fitting and great end to a fabulous 50 minutes. It's a shame not as many people made it down to
Wembley, because you missed the heaviest Hawkwind set I can remember. I don't know what the Nu
Metal kids were expecting but they got well and truly steamrollered. And thanks to Kris and co. for the
excellent firebreathing, it's always fabulous to see :-)
Tim looked like he was having a whale of a time inserting keyboards when and where throughout the set,
he looked like a Hippy Island in a sea of Metal. The audience came away happy (more converts for the
Church of Hawkwind), and it looked like the band did too - Mission Accomplished. So Roll on December,
for Walthamstow (and wherever else I can drag myself to) !!!
Wembley: what a rip off, the merchandise is all sold by Wembley personnel, at a huge markup. They
seemed to be marking up a fiver on all the T Shirts. I saw Trevor Hughes briefly and he looked like he
was struggling to even get merchandise onto the stands. Some HawkFest T Shirts eventually appeared,
but at Â£20 each !!!!!! (Good job I already have 2 ;-) In fact the whole place was plain odd, like an
aircraft hangar with bars around each side. Wouldn't ever be my first choice of venue, they seemed very
strict about everything, far too commercialised, basically a money generation machine, without concern
for the content...ugh...
I'll skip the support bands, since they weren't the reason I went ;-) (And we did skip Anthrax literally)
I enjoyed the gig. The Wembley stewards and security staff were as rude and officious as ever, and
whatever cock-up made Alan's vocals completely inaudible for two-thirds of the set was infuriating - how
does something like that get left for so long?? The numbers most affected were 'Ejection' and 'The
Watcher' - fortunately they sound surprisingly OK as near-instrumentals. The bit of feedback didn't bother
me - HW were (wisely) playing it as loud and heavy as possible and I thought the noise fitted in nicely!
And other than that the sound was actually very good at times: 'Angels Of Death' and 'Hassan I Sabbah'
sounded great. What was going on between Huw and Alan during 'Motorway City'? Stage banter or stage
barney? Anyway, HW played great, and I thought they triumphed over adversity in a big way: they went
down a storm and I'm sure won some new fans. Brock presumably thought so too as he looked very
happy at the end, which as we know isn't always so. I was pleased to note that HW got longer than
Anthrax despite being below them on the bill. Possibly the encore with Lemmy might have been
unscheduled. Sounded great though, probably the best 'Silver Machine' I've heard.
As for the rest of the night - I missed the first band (who were they?) but from what I could hear from the
bar they sounded like fairly standard HM/thrash. Anthrax - I listened to half a song before deciding I was
not going to enjoy them and adjourning to the bar. I believe this to have been a wise decision.
Motorhead - first time I've seen 'em for fifteen years. They were excellent. Having only a passing
acquaintance with their newer material, I was surprised to find I recognised most of what they played.
The new numbers didn't grab me particularly, but it's hard to make any real judgement on a song you've
never heard when it's coming at you at this earsplitting volume. God it was loud. Definitely the loudest
gig I've attended, easily louder than previous MH gigs, even. My ears are still ringing 20 hours later. The
sheer intensity of sonic attack makes Motorhead unlike any other live band. However it also means they
can sound rather samey after a while and I was glad they threw in some differently-paced numbers
('Metropolis', 'Orgasmotron', 'Going To Brazil') to break things up a bit. Also a souped-up blues thing
which I can't put a name to (wasn't 'Hoochie Coochie Man' was it?).
What I found really interesting -and unexpected- was this: because they push things to such an extreme of
speed and noise, the music can get really quite tripped-out at times, or at least that's how it ends up when
it's amplified to this level. Some of the instrumental breaks sound truly -insanely- psychedelic. I mean, Phil
Campbell's free-form soloing at the end of 'Killed By Death' sounded like Jerry Garcia on speed. And the
drum solo (first time I've *ever* enjoyed a drum solo, Mr Dee is impressive, sounds almost like a cross
between John Bonham and Simon King!) actually sounded like some kind of futuristic hardcore
drum'n'bass track at one point. Really! Well, I thought so anyway. (Lemmy would be horrified).
A powerful night, and I probably won't leave it another 15 years 'til I see them again. A smaller venue
might be nice. On the evidence of last night that's quite possible - the standing area was full but there
looked to be plenty of unsold seats at the sides, so maybe they over-reached themselves playing this venue.
-- Manfred Scholido