Autumn Tour 2001 Review

Arin, doyenne of BOC-L and Op on, proved her devotion to Hawkwind yet again by
attending almost the entire Autumn 2001 tour of the UK.  Which is no mean feat for someone who lives in
Chicago!  Her review of the tour as a whole first appeared on the BOC-L mailing list and is reposted here
with her permish.  (Thx Arin!)
Scanned from
the Oct 2001
issue of Mojo
Another ad scanned from
Mojo, Oct 2001.  This
shows Hawkwind's gig at
the Royal Festival Hall on
10/10/01 as part of the
Mind Your Head
psychedelic season there.

It also served very nicely
as a warm-up gig for the
subsequent Autumn Tour.
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Well, I think that I've avoided doing this for long enough ;-)

I can say that this fall's tour was one of the most amazing things that I've ever done, and that despite all
the stress and money, I'd do it again, if I had the choice (with maybe a few modifications ;-) )

I want to thank the band, who made an overseas fan quite exceedingly happy.  Spent some lovely time
chatting to Huw, Richard, Ali, Dave and Simon.  Bonus points to Huw for continuing on, even though he
obviously felt like crap!

Double bonus points to Marion and Kris, without whom the tour would never have happened.  Ladies, you
have a thankless job, but I (and others) appreciate the fine work.  Only negative side effect was that we
only saw Kris on stage once.

More shouts out:

1) the sound engineer.  Very good this tour.

2) the light show crew.  After Jasper left, Neil and Jim took over (with help from Mr. Dibs, Keith Barton,
and Eric Siegerman later...)  well done guys!

3) Marie Jenkinson (who did the merchandising....)  well done!

4) Trev. - he really does try to spread the word.

5) Mr. Dibs, Jez, and the other roadies.  Boy, you guys must be dedicated.

6) to the poor bus driver who ended up in the hospital.  Anyone know if he's ok?

7) Simon-the-tour-manager.....kept it all together and moving.

Plus waves and hi's to everyone I had a chance to talk to from the list....Chris Warburton, Rich Warren
(happy grin), Merrick and Julie French, Ali Sumner, Mike Holmes, Jill Strobridge, Stuart (zeitgeist --
thanks for the pub lists!), Dave Hall, Neil Ward, Keith Barton, Eric Siegerman, Iain Ferguson, Colm, Nick
M, Nick Lee, Denis Regenbrecht, Rik Richardson, and all the others that I'm sure I'm missing....

As for the music itself....well, I've not seen Dave as happy as this in a while.  He seemed to be genuinely
enjoying himself.  Got to see him more on guitar than of late, and that was quite nice.

It was good to hear Lighthouse, even sans Tim.  Levitation is still one of my faves, so it was quite nice to
hear it.  Very heavy version of Spiral Galaxy.  Even if I prefer the ethereal version as done by Spiral
Realms, I certainly wasn't complaining.  Moonglum isn't my favorite Huw song, but he did it well.  
Brainbox Pollution.  Have never heard this live before.  It was well done.  Wind of Change.  Surely I've
been a good person this year.  I *love* this song.  Angels of Death is always good.  I must admit that I've
never been a fan of The Watcher.  Nice bass, though.  I love Motorway City, and the segue to Hurry on
Sundown was superb.  Hurry on Sundown is one of my all-time favorites., ever.  I love hearing this live.  
It can stay on the set list 'til the end of time, as far as I'm concerned.  Assassins of Allah/Hassan-i-Sahba.  
I still like this one.  Even given the terrorist connotations, I just don't care.  Space is their... is a lovely
interlude...Assault & Battery/Golden Void - like Hurry on Sundown, I'd be happy to hear this for a long
long while.  Ejection - eh: not my favorite by a stretch.  Spirit of the Age - oh, oh, why only once?  I
rather like SotA.....

Even though the set lists were largely the same, bits and pieces changed from night to night.  I definitely
didn't feel like I was listening to a repeat record.  Plenty of little changes from night to night.

Onto the tour report:

7th Nov:  Left Chicago at about 5:30pm Nov. 6th.  Only thing to note: flying international from O'Hare
airport was virtually indistinguishable from before Sept. 11.  ...and if people were being hesitant to fly, I
certainly couldn't tell.  The flight was packed solid.  Arrive at Heathrow.  Catch a cup of coffee.  Attempt
to call the place I'm renting a car from, only to find out the number that they gave me doesn't work.  Have
a short panic moment, end up getting the number from directory assistance.  Call them...and they come to
pick me up from the airport.  Rent car, for more money than I was quoted (specifically, insurance ended
up being far more than the actual car rental.  Eek).  Attempt to drive car #1.. The transmission is
half-manual and half-automatic, and very confusing (I'd asked for an automatic, since driving stick gives
me hives.)  Figure that out.  Attempt to drive car #2.  Do not get killed getting out to the M4, despite my
best efforts.  (Seriously....the car rental company gave me no instructions on street signs, or right of way,
or any of the standard driving stuff that I'd be expected to not know, being as I'm from the States.)  
Figure out how to get to Nottingham.  Get lost in Nottingham, attempting to find my hotel.  (Sigh.  Story
of my driving career over there.)  Find and check into hotel.  Get to Rock City.  Worry a bit, as I don't see
any crowds or people hanging out.  Talk to a bunch of other fans standing outside waiting for the gig to
open.  At least half of whom are Americans and are primarily Gong fans.  A couple of whom were Brits,
but non-net folks. (I ended up bumping into those two quite often for the rest of the tour.)  Get in, park
myself up by the stage.  Chris Warburton recognizes me in the crowd.  Chat for a bit.  Gong (I'd never
seen Gong before.  I'd just heard my first Gong albums a short while before.  Wow.)  Chat to an
American Gong / Hawk fan.  Attempt to spread gospel of BOC-L.  Hawkwind.  Oh my god.  What can I
say, except that not sleeping for 30 hours, and driving on the wrong side of the road, and getting lost, and
all the other stress just melted away.  (I'll cover actual gig related stuff later ;-))  Talk to Chris W., who
offers to put me up for Birmingham.  As Birmingham is one of the cities I don't have accommodations for
yet, I happily take him up on his offer.  We arrange to meet at the gig location the next night.  Get back to
hotel.  Sleep like the dead.  Get up, check out, find out that the band was staying in the same hotel I was.  
Curse myself for missing a grand opportunity, and go find the car.

8th: Get lost getting out of Nottingham.  Get into the Birmingham city limits.  I can't seem to find the gig.  
Find a car park.  Ditch car.  Proceed to wander around Birmingham city centre for a few hours looking
for the gig.  (Fortunately, I'd left early, so I had time to burn.)  While getting lost, I ran smack into the
Andromeda Bookshop, which is one of the SF bookshops that I'd been meaning to get to when I had a
chance.  Ended up hopping a taxi to the gig.  Got together with Chris W. and his amour, and ended up in a
pub chatting about random science fiction tv, and gig.  Turns out that they can't put me up, but did make
reservations for me at a nearby travel inn, and will get me there post gig.  Start the never-ending wait for
Hawkwind.  Birmingham had 3(!) opening acts.  The stupid pseudo-Dylan spouting his politics sans pants
really should have been shot.  The techno duo was ok, and Zion Train was OK for the first number, but all
of their numbers seemed far too similar, and they were on for too long.  Hawkwind.  Yep, they still have
the magic.  Get back to Hotel, and thank Chris and friend profusely....

9th: Get up, hit the Andromeda bookshop, find a phone, call up to Merrick and Julie [French] to see if I
can crash with them for the night and for Manchester (since I knew they were going...) Reach Julie, and
she's cool with it, so it on up to Sheffield.  Find it (yay!  I actually found something!) OK...and just let me
say that if you are in the Sheffield area, and haven't visited Merrick and Julie's place, you must find an
excuse to stop in.  Merrick does these wonderful big origami-like stars and other hanging ceiling art...and
their house has got all kinds of neat stuff in it.  Very, very cool.  They introduce me to Pete and Leigh, a
couple of other Hawkwind fans, who were up for the Manchester show.

10th: Up the next morning, get ready for gig.  Head out a bit early so we can stop at a pair of stone circles
(Arbor Low and the Painted Ladies, I think....)  I'd never been up-close-and-personal with any of the stone
circles (had the prior obligatory trip to Stonehenge, but it'd been roped off by that point.)  Wow.  Rather
cool.  This was the only real "touristy" thing that I did all trip, but really must come over at some point
(sans Hawkwind gigs for an excuse) just to do the tourist thing and hang out with some of the folks on
the list.  Get to Manchester a bit early, and help Merrick set up some stars and stuff for the stage.  I'd
been anxious about this one, as I didn't have a ticket for Manchester (silly bastards wouldn't hold one at
the door for me.  Like it's easy to pop by and grab a ticket from the States.  Piffle.)  When I got
exceedingly shy (but worried on how to get in), Julie asked Dave on my behalf for a guest pass.  Julie, I
have not the words to thank you.  I am in your debt.  Met Rich Warren again, and was rather thankful for
that.  Hawkwind comes on.  Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  Found out later that I'd missed Mick Crook in the
crowd somewhere.  Alas :-(  Got back to Sheffield that night.  Crashed.  Got up, made my goodbyes
(really, I cannot thank the two of you enough.) and headed off to Liverpool.

11th: Made it to Liverpool without getting lost.  I was ecstatic.  Met Ali from irc, and remet Mike Holmes,
who is always a delight to chat to.  (Also met Mike's SO, a lovely lady named Lucy, and a couple of other
folks.  Nick Lee and some others...I think.  Oh yeah, and I see Rich Warren again ;-))  I'd volunteered to
help out the band, if they needed anything.  So I left the pub a bit early, and started my career as
flyer-giver.  (Which, despite all else, I rather enjoyed.  It's a good way to meet other fans (very similar to
gophering at science fiction conventions), and I like helping out the band (and Trev....))  This was one of
the few shows I really didn't enjoy, largely because I ended up getting hit by assorted folks who really
wanted to mosh.  I'd been trying to get up close to the stage so that I could have a good view (since I am
rather short), but (as was later pointed out to me) some of the real assholes like to hang out up front.  Oh
well.  I put that one down to experience, and hoped the next night would be better.  Was going to stay
with Mike H. for Glasgow and Edinburgh, so we made plans to meet up in Moffat the next day.

12th: Off to Moffat.  Get worried, since Mike didn't show.  Call over, (thank you, oh lord, for the
invention of the cell phone) find out that he and Lucy had broken down.  Eek.  They manage to get going
again, and Lucy drops Mike off and he and I head off to Glasgow.  Yes, you guessed it boys and girls, we
get lost trying to get into the gig.  Mike swears that it's Glasgow's one-way system, but I suspect that he's
just being polite, and it's just my usual "have no idea how to get anywhere" problem.  Met up with Jill
Strobridge (which is always a pleasure), Stuart, Dave Hall, one of Jill's friends, and misc others.  Oh,
yeah...and Rich Warren ;-)  Great gig.  Just fantabulous.

13th: Then off to Edinburgh.  Mike's friend (whose name I'm forgetting, but I remember that he's looking
for a copy of the Compleat Traveller in Black by Brunner) took me around Edinburgh while Mike was at
work, which was rather nice.  Found a couple more science fiction bookstops (I have a weakness for
them.)  Met up at pub with people (most of the same gang as Glasgow), went to gig.  Great gig!  I found
the hidden secret to really enjoying the show...if you can manage it (and see ;-)), go hang out by the sound
guy. Tim (who was doing sound) was really good on this tour, and the sound was almost always crystal
clear.  Offered lifts to Rich, Mike, and Jill to Newcastle.

14th: Off the next day, not quite bright and early in the morning.  Lo and behold - we get lost on the way
to Newcastle, although it was very, very pleasant to have good people to chat to in the car.  Get gradually
a bit more stressed out, as we get lost finding our respective hotels.  Find Jill's hotel, park for a bit to get
directions to the one that Mike and I (and Stuart, then, as it turns out Rich) was staying in.  Get to the
Travel Inn, unload, grab stuff, then immediately off to find the Opera House.  (I helped Jim Lascko with
the slides for the Opera House.  That was fun.)  Gig was incredible.  Finally got a chance to see Kris.  
Managed to get back for the miniparty postgig, and chatted with assorted folks, including the Mr.
Quimby's Beard folks, who I had been looking forward to seeing perform (I had caught their show in
Chicago in the previous month.)  They are nice people.  Everyone go see them at the Forum ;-)  Went
back to the hotel, chatted a bit w/ Mike, Stuart, Jill, and Rich.  Regretfully said goodbye to all of the
above, and geared up for the drive down to Cardiff.

15th: drove all day.  Really, rather not fun in the slightest.  Yes, got lost after I hit Cardiff.  Ended up
finding the right hotel, though.  Cardiff Bay is beautiful.  Just wanted to mention that ;-)

16th: Eric Siegerman (who was my travelling companion for the last week of the tour) made it in.  We
went off to gig, and he got himself involved helping out with Jim, which pleased Eric immensely, I think.
;-)  Cardiff was a good show.  Met up with Iain Ferguson, and Colm (I think.)

17th: Off to Hitchin.  Odd little place to stay and very odd little town.  Completely packed show, though.  
Sold out, I found out later.  (Missed seeing some of the London crowd, since they couldn't get tix :-( )  (I
think this is where I started bumping into Keith Barton, who did the southern half of the tour, but that
might've been earlier ;-)) ...and a quick bravo to Capt. Black.  Keep up the good work.

18th: off to, um, Salisbury.  Absolutely lovely place, and we stayed in a lovely B&B.  Bumped into Dave
Brock shopping before the gig ;-)  Desperately called about for a place to stay.  Finally found one that
wasn't booked solid.  Gig was, as expected, rather good.

19th: off to Poole.  lovely venue.  Half standing, half sitting, depending on your interest.  Good gig.

20th: off to Torquay.  Seaside town.  Interesting place.  Absolutely fantastic gig, but desperately needed
more people.  Jill was here ;-)  Chatted with Ali for a bit backstage, and saw Simon's wig ;-)  Jez Huggett
and Capt. Black on stage.  Life is happy.

21st: off to Brighton.  And the never-ending, there-is-no-way-to-get-to-the-hotel-by-car annoyance.  End
up staying with in the same place as the band again.  Bump into them checking in ;-)  Get very, very lost
trying to find the Concorde 2, mostly because Eric and I didn't figure that there was a lower level to the
city ;-)  Packed to the gills gig, and very rocking.

22nd: Found out why driving in London sucks.  Finally, finally, finally got to take the car back.  Danced a
jig the entire way into London from Heathrow.  Stayed at the same place we did last year for the Astoria
(hey...I knew it, and it was on the Victoria line.  Two of the last three gigs I did in London were on
opposite ends of the Victoria line.  Coincidence, or part of a much larger plot?)

23rd: Did a bit of shopping (yay, Fantasy Centre on Holloway Road.  My new favorite science fiction shop
in London) and met up with Nick M and Ali for much happy munching in Chinatown.  Spent much too
much time hanging out in EasyEverything catching up with email (7000 messages, eek.)  Happiness,
though, Rich is going to make it down for the Walthamstow gig.  Kept trying to convince Jill, too ;-)

24th: Found Denis and his sister, and Rich, and we all went up early to catch the sound check.  Did much
Tolkien geeking, and discussed role playing games.  It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful some of
the folks on the list are.   Listened to the sound check, then went off to the Bell to meet people.  Finally
met up with Rik and chatted to him a bit, which was cool.  Picked up several t-shirts for people, which I
will send out Real Soon Now.  Then went to the gig proper.  Finally remembered to bring my astroballs,
and spent the early part of the gig juggling in the back of the room, which I've wanted to do for eons. Jim
kindly let me put Denis's sister up on the lighting platform, as she is smaller than I am, and also has the
too-short problem.  Spent the second half of the gig enjoying Rich's company (as I'm sure those of you
who saw us at Walthamstow realize ;-)).  Said goodbye to the band (boy, cannot believe that it is over),
hopped the mad cab from hell back to the hotel, and spent one of the sweetest weekends of my life with
my (now) boyfriend ;-)

26th: Got very frazzled trying to get back to Heathrow, managed to make it just as the gate was opening
for my flight.  got back. passed out.  then dealt with dealing back in reality :-(

(take me back to the tour I survived....)