May 2003 Tour Review

Nick Lee first posted this review of the May 2003 tour on the  BOC-L/Hawkwind mailing
list and Yahoo! Hawkwind email group on Wednesday 28th May 2003.  It  is reposted here
with his permission.  (Thanks Nick!)
Right: Arthur in action (pic
courtesy of Alan Taylor)
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Back to reality again today after another great Hawktour and with quite a bump!  Still, it's Wednesday but
it only feels like Monday so the week should fly by!

Had a cracking time at all gigs, Cambridge was a little rough and ready, Chronoglide Skyway not really
ready and couple of problems here and there (such as Arthur stepping on Dave's sequencer pedal, leading
to the wrong pattern in Spirit of the Age).  Nottingham was a great step forward, Skyway much
improved and the last time we'd hear 7x7, sadly as it was beginning to sound pretty damn good.  And we
got a first listen of Angela Android in the encore.  A great support from the Ozrics here who were well
and truly on form and went down very well, as you'd expect.  Also I bumped into an old friend from Uni
days who'd travelled over from Australia to coincide with the tour.  Amazing who you see at Hawkwind
gigs!

Interrupting the Hawk tour I caught the Silver Machine / Assassins of Silence gig in Oxford on Saturday.  
Sadly very underattended, can't have been many people there who weren't associated with one or other
band, I dare say.  Silver Machine opened the show with track including Steppenwolf, Levitation, Psi
Power, Death Trap and Uncle Sam.  They were the tighter of the two acts on the night and delivered a
pretty powerful set despite the regular power trips on the PA.  They came across sounding, to me, like
early 80s HW tackling these songs.  Assassins of Silence up next with a set containing more of the Space
Ritual era material - Orgone Accumulator, Upside Down, Brainstorm, 10 Seconds...  Maybe not quite as
tight as Silver Machine but they went for some more 'adventurous' songs such as the Demented Man,
Hero With A Wing and Children of the Sun.  Augmented by some rather nice lights and the very lovely
Kat on dance.  Both bands are well worth making the effort to catch if you can.

Next up was the Astoria Hawkgig.  Met up with Bill and Ian in the Wetherspoons and were joined by
Mike, Jill, Rich and a friend of Mike's who's name eludes me.  Dr & the Medics were on first and played
a pretty entertaining set, though as Bill pointed out, they seem to have transformed into the Rezillos since
last I saw them play (the Calvert tribute gig, I think).  It was fun to see them joined by Alan and Wurzel
for a couple of Motorhead numbers.  Then Hawkwind - this was certainly the best gig of the tour, the
line-up of Dave, Alan, Richard and Simon augmented tonight by Captain Black on synths giving us some
good swoosh.  Pretty much everything worked out well tonight.  The non-surprise guest of Matthew
Wright proving to deliver a surprisingly good version of Spirit of the Age (preceded by the Right Stuff -
has he asked the band to a special version of this as a theme to his show yet?) it all looked very much like
a dream come true and he could be seen bopping away at the side of the stage with a damn great cheesy
grin most of the evening - well wouldn't you?  This gig was definitely one of the best I've been to in a
long while.  Shame Lene Lovich wasn't able to make it to sing Angela Android as on the new album.

Bristol next, another superb gig, with a spirited support from Daevid Allen.  This didn't quite live up to the
Astoria but was still a great show, the band clealy having a whale of a time.

Last night was at Birmingham.  Motorway City it may well be, but the only way in which it resembled
Utopia was that after driving around for ages being confronted with no-through roads, diversions,
roadworks and bus- / taxi-only routes I had to get out it of in order to get into it.  Another cracking gig,
not as well attended as it might have been, but it was a huge venue.  The band gave a great performance,
probably the best Chronoglide Skyway yet with Simon right out there in the mix.  The lights from Chaos
Illumination, great as ever on this tour, really benefitted from the higher ceilings at these last three gigs,
giving plenty of space to see the projections etc.

The set list for the tour was:

Time Captains (a good show starter), Master of the Universe, Time and Confusion, Prelude, The
Watcher  (absolutely cracking every night, who care if Alan is copying Lemmy or not, the current line-up
have made this a very distinctive version of their own, led by some the best bass-playing the band has
seen from Alan), Out Of The Shadows (always love to hear this, wasn't too sure about the techno insert
but it grew on me), Chronoglide Skyway (by the end of the tour this was sounding really good, it need
Simon's violin to be high in the mix to work, some lead from Dave would make this one sublime),
Steppenwolf (Arthur has made this his own, rather than just copying Bob, everyone seemed to be
enjoying the wolf-howls by the end of the tour), 7x7 next at Cambridge / Nottingham but replaced by
Paranoia and The Right Stuff from Astoria onwards, Spirit of the Age (great from Nottingham onwards,
never heard such lead guitar in this from Dave before), Take Me To Your Leader (the first new one,
some nice techno with vocals from Dave with Richard taking over), Sun Ray (wonderful, though the
band seemed to struggle with this one a bit in places, its a classic slab of HW, punchy riff driving bass
and some lovely violin from Simon), Assassins of Allah (though Night of the Hawks was on the setlist,
early on in the tour, at least.  Caused some confusion at the desk I believe!), Assault & Battery / Golden
Void (stunning as always), Where Are They Now (as someone pointed out this sounded as though it had
always come right after the Void's end, what a wonderful version of this 'lost classic').  Encore was
Paranoia at Cambridge only replaced by Angela Android from Nottingham onwards (OK, maybe not the
best song title but a lovely piece of techno blanga, initiated by Richard with Alan picking up the bass line
and Dave joining in on guitar later on), rounded off with a rousing version of Silver Machine, Arthur
style.  Special mention should also be made to Kris's great fire-eating at the Astoria and to the dancer who
joined for London onwards (she made a great 'android replica'!).

What great week!  A big hello to everyone I managed to meet up with: Mike, Jill, Alan L, Alan T, Rob,
Jack (& son), Jon, Roy, and anyone else I've forgotten.  Huge thanks to all the crew and the Hawks for
another great tour.  See you all at Pentrich!