|2004 Winter Tour
For right now, a listing of the dates on the tour, with contact information so you can buy
tickets ahead of time. Eventually I hope this page will encompass fan's gig reviews and
photos - please email me here if you have something to add to the page
23/10/04 - Cheltenham Town Hall
Review & Photos by Dreamworker: That was a stunner of a night. It was Hawkwind in full flight. The
songs seemed to flow a lot better than on the last tour. Band and crowd alike seemed to be having a
really good time. It literally felt very, very good - at one point the bass vibrated the hairs on my arms so
strongly that it felt like I was standing in the wind...and I was well away from the PA - not sure what that
did for my ears, though...
18/12/04 - Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre
Review by Rob:
It took us three and a half hours through driving rain to make the 170 mile journey to Exeter last night.
Coming back was worse, the rain turned to sleet and then thick, horizontal snow between Bristol and Bath.
But it was worth every minute of that journey.
Last night's gig is going to be one of those that gets talked about for many years (similar comment from
several people I spoke to). Utterly faultless imho. Has to be one of the best gigs, if not *the* best gig, I've
seen HW do.
Same setlist, same lineup as last couple of shows. All delivered with guts and visible enjoyment on the part
of the band. All received with very vocal and physical (dancing) appreciation by the audience. The band
really seemed to get off on the feedback from the crowd.
All four of them played superbly. The mix was spot on - plenty of everything, not too much of anything.
Clear as a bell, tight and loud (enough). Alan's bass and Richard's vocals came over loud and clear, as did
Jason's keys and Dave's solos.
Fantastic stuff. Astoria tonight. And after the buzz I got last night, I'm going to have to do Birkenhead on
Tuesday as well .....
And... a Review by Graham:
Afterwards, the pouring rain matched my mood as I headed for the van. And I wasn't the only one to leave
the gig feeling let down. A terrific set-list, how could it fail to please? But it did. And I'm not sure it was the
imperfect sound. After all, who the hell goes to a HW gig expecting HiFi sound quality?
I've noticed HW over the years have become more and more rehearsed, and perhaps they get locked into a
pre-programmed rut and can't break out of it, even when seeking to please the fans should be somewhere on
their radar. Could it be that? I can't think of any other explanation.
|Left: Dibs with Android backdrop
Right: Lab-coated Captain
Where I was (near to the front)
the sound was generally very
good, although there was was a
persistent loud bassy resonance
which got better as the gig went
on. There was good visibility
right across the stage even
though there was a wide security
zone. The stage set was
basically a large backdrop which
resembled an arched opening in a
black wall flanked by two
androids (who were the height
of the screen). The Chaos
Illuminations showed mainly in
the archway, making it look like
they were happening behind the
stage - cool, I thought.
The venue's own architecture frames the stage with a massive arch
which also picked out the lightshow. The dancers were well
received and definitely added to the show, although they didn't seem
to be acting out the story as dancers have sometimes in the past (or
was it all just too subtle for a heathen like me?).
The songs were all played well in my very biased
opinion. To mention a few:
The extra guitar and those fantastic keyboards really
made it. IIRC Neil said the keyboard player's name
is Jason and, as someone already pointed out, he
played with Capt Rizz. I thought his sound was
rather like the keys on the Do Not Panic album...it
would be good if he sticks around.
Left: Jason. Does anyone know his last name?
- Spirit of the Age was a tremendous opener and really got the crowd going
- Uncle Sam was out of this world. Highlight of the set for me.
- Psychedelic Warlords was the best I've ever heard played live
- Angels of Death felt like it was played slowly and came over really menacingly
- To Love a Machine is going to be a classic (like Love In Space, only different)
- Master of the Universe was just mental.
The absence of Assault & Battery / The Golden
Void is noteworthy. I love both songs and will
never tire of them, but it was good to hear some
new stuff in their place.
Roll on December !! ....Cheers.... Rob
Above: Rhythm section and backdrop. Left: Alan
Davey with dancers. Below: the core trio
Below: (L-R) Richard Chadwick, Dumpy, Dave Brock
28/10/04 - Bournemouth BIC Pavilion
Review by Sam Sheppard:
Here's my thoughts on the gig last night. I had a good night (it pissed down, though, and I got very wet), the
venue was upstairs in the BIC and there was plenty of room, the crowd was a mixed one...quite a few kids.
The band were set up at the back of the stage and seemed quite far away which I don't like, but the backdrop
and lights looked great. Dave Brock was visible in the centre of the stage and not hidden behind the
keyboards like usual and they had two dancers as on the Love in Space tour, who interacted with the crowd -
which I thought was a good thing. The sound was very good and particular highlights for me were Uncle
Sam's On Mars, Brainbox Pollution (great version) Master of the Universe (with Dumpy), Psychedelic
Warlords & Hassan-i-Sahba (which sounded a lot heavier to me) and Angela Android (which I thought was
great) - oh, and the pretty girls in the support act!
I thought the song "To Love a Machine" was the mutt's nuts, a Brock classic! Alan Davey's new one is good
Lowlights for me were Digital Nation (scrap it and play Take Me To Your Leader instead), Angels of Death (I
don't like it that much, although the Reading 86 version is good) and the pillow in the hotel which was like a
slab of concrete!
Here's another... Review by Alan Linsley:
Hey, guess what, I went to see Hawkwind last night.
I thought last night was a much better gig than Cheltenham. Better sound, tighter playing. This substantial
increase in quality between two opening dates reminds me of Cambridge & Nottingham on the May '03 tour,
so maybe they only need two gigs to get into their stride these days. The shape of the BIC Tregonwell Hall
must have been a factor in the sound, it's a very different shape to Cheltenham Town Hall i.e. wider, shorter
and not so cavernous. Alan's bass wasn't echoing around like I thought it was last Saturday. On the other
hand the sound was still uneven depending on where we stood - to the left I couldn't really hear much other
than bass & guitar, on the right the bass was weaker but I could hear everything else. I wonder if this is
something to do with the fact that Alan's bass amp is on the left :-) or maybe Fleece just doesn't mix in mono.
The band were set back a bit to give the dancers the front section of the stage. There was an audience barrier
again, but I think this was just because the stage didn't have a proper front, it descends to the main floor in
steps. Roadies Keef & Dibs were getting into the spirit of the concept this time by wearing lab coats as well
as the band, and Dibs was doing the scientist-checking-a-clipboard routine occasionally. I know I'm not the
only one who's tiring of seeing Dibs intruding onto the stage on recent tours, perhaps the lab coat was an
attempt at dealing with that. Regardless, I'd still rather not see anybody on stage that I haven't paid to see.
On a more positive note, Jason seemed a bit more in with the band last night, whereas at Cheltenham he
looked more out on a limb, and there seems to be a bit more on-stage communication between him and the
others which was nice to see. I don't envy him the job of trying to make his mark with such a close-knit
bunch as the Dave Brock Trio.
The dancers were as impressive as the previous gig but I'm still not clear on how most of their routines
actually fit in with or represent the Take Me To Your Leader concept, if indeed there is such a concept at this
stage, as the set on these preview shows seems to be basically the April / May tour set with three new
numbers mixed in.
Speaking of the set -
Spirit of the Age
Sword of the East
Uncle Sam's On Mars > The Iron Dream
Out Here We Are
Assassins of Allah inc. Palestine
Angels of Death
Ode To a Time Flower
To Love A Machine
Brainstorm inc. Vega
Master of the Universe
I missed most of Spirit, but Sword, Greenback & Warlords were awesome, blisteringly loud,
pin-you-to-the-wall stuff. In fact the opening four numbers were played back to back with no comment to
the audience and no naffing around in between. This is a huge improvement IMHO, I've been getting really
tired of all the DAT-swapping delays and "well now, er, what next?" etc of recent tours. The band are
playing tighter and keeping the set tight, and the result is a real space rock (TM) monster.
Dave said good evening and introduced Uncle Sam's On Mars, waving his clipboard around, and I swear he
had a copy of the green-covered HW lyric book to hand. This number is a real showcase for him, gesturing
to the crowd during the verses and really leading the band from the front. For those who haven't seen either
of these gigs or the summer festivals, Dave is back at the front like he used to be in the 70's & 80's, the days
of hiding behind a bank of keyboards are over. In fact, because of the stage layout Dave was effectively
centre stage last night! Never thought I'd see the day, but it's where he should be. He still can't resist nipping
off to the side to turn and watch his band though, old habits die hard. Dave, Alan & Richard all traded vocal
duties on the "Is there life out there?" break, but the song was kept very tight, wasn't allowed to lose any pace
and was soon hammering into a short burst of The Iron Dream to bring it crashing to a close.
Out Here We Are was the inevitable chatter break (don't get me started on that again). The main section has
some very jazzy tinkling keyboard sounds, from Jason I think, and it works very well. What I could do
without is that sampled sax. I don't dislike the sound, it's just that it panders to the view that HW are a band
who just play along with their own tapes. Triggered effects here and there are one thing but playing along to
a pre-recorded extra instrument makes me squirm - if it's that essential then get somebody up there to do it
live, otherwise ditch it.
I'm probably in a minority of one here but I think Digital Nation is a superb number, but I agree they haven't
got it quite right live yet. They have to think of a way of getting Richard's vocals more up front on it as he
gets drowned out a bit by the bass (no surprise there), and the synthetic drums inevitably sound weaker than
"real" drums. That song is a bit of a showcase for Jason though, there was definitely a bit of a boogie-woogie
hammond organ going on in there (an Arnold Rimmer moment anyone?).
Assassins was it's usual mighty crowd-pleasing self, excellent as ever. Jason's keyboards on that reminded
me of Deep Purple at one point, can't think why. Angels I'm not so sure about. They've slowed this down a
bit this year, although it's not quite the Mogadonwind version of 1990. I'm not sure if it's working, something
to do with Dave's guitar not coming in until the second verse maybe so it isn't riffy enough. It's definitely
missing something, it was one of the weakest numbers at Cheltenham and it's not quite there yet IMHO. As
an aside, Dave was using a different guitar for this whole gig, apparently on Fleece's recommendation, even
though he had his trusty painted Westone with him. And before anybody asks what it was, I haven't a clue
(er, it had strings, and a neck, and... I'm not a muso). The closest thing to it is the Dick Knight one on
Starfarer's Brock Guitar page, but I don't think it was that, and it's kind of yellow/orange colour. [Note:
actually this guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Custom. I've just added a photo of it to the aforementioned Dave
Brock's Guitar Stuff page...]
Ode is still a bit of a mess, a poem set to music so loud that you can't hear the poem. It's very different
backing to that used on the Apr/May tour but it still isn't working for me. As if to underline the point, it was
the only number for the entire evening which was greeted with silence at it's conclusion, and it was the same
To Love A Machine is a masterpiece, if anything it was too short and sweet. This could be the great classic
from this tour that will stay with us for years. My only gripe is that stop-start bit with the acoustic guitar
sample - see comment on sax in Out Here We Are above :-). Angela Android has an interesting change in the
middle revolving around the word "machine", almost sounds like a take off of Silver Machine, only for a few
bars though. I noticed Richard reading the lyrics for this, don't any of these people know their own lyrics
Dumpy joined in for Brainstorm, but as my mate pointed out, Dumpy's guitar style isn't right for HW. I ended
up wishing I could hear Huw on it instead. Astoria perhaps? I'm not a fan of noodle-breaks in heavier
numbers, I wish they'd just keep rockin', really, but Vega worked surprisingly well as a mid-section.
Bizarrely the house lights came up after the band had left the stage following Brainstorm, but I think that was
just an over-enthusiastic BIC employee thinking the gig was at an end as we could hear Dave's DAT of the
backing for Take Me To Your Leader playing over the PA! Keef hurried to stop the tape and Dibs went to
fetch the band back quickly before there was a riot. With house lights down again they returned for two
storming encores that rounded off the gig in epic fashion. Dumpy joined in again for Master of the Universe
(that well known Dave Anderson number ;-))), but where this worked well at Cheltenham it didn't feel right
Overall verdict - probably a 7 or 8 out of 10, and I'm very glad I went. It's apparent that some thought and
planning has gone into this show and it's clearly bearing fruit. I hope they can stay on course and maintain
that standard before they start gigging again in December.
Counting the days till Newcastle...
04/12/04 - Newcastle Journal Tyne Theatre
Review by Jill Strobridge:
Probably haven't got everything cos I'm not sure of the new titles yet but my (almost illegible - what was I
doing?!) scribblings read:
Spirit of the Age (as the first number it was too early for everyone to want to sing the chorus and in a seated
venue it takes a while for folk to relax, so it was more of a straight track) - a couple of dancers wrapped in
white muslin slowly unwrapped themselves - I wondered if we were going to have a dance sequence of
gestation through childhood into adulthood and then androidness - but it didn't seem to work out that way.
Sword of the East (slightly a surprise) slide show of daggers in orange light - the dancers did a slo-mo fight
sequence - a bit like a Matrix type display.
Greenback Massacre - don't think the dancers were on stage for this one
Psychedelic Warlords after a techno intro - I've written BLANGA here so it was pretty tight and solid
Uncle Sam's on Mars - I enjoyed this one - tight and fast but the dancers must have been doing something
strange I couldn't make sense of! Then Dave had a comment on Newcastle's apparently rather miserable
football afternoon - losing comprehensively to Chelsea I think. (Yes: 4-0)
Then a spacey instrumental with electronic saxophone included - is this Wave upon Wave? Nice but couldn't
put a name to it - the dancers had a green ball they played with. And then a track about computer game wars
- with video of Pac-Man images marching down the walls...
Assassins of Allah - with prancing dancers (can't remember if this was when they were acting out childish
tantrums with each other? Or maybe it was the one where the guy is acting dreamy and vague while the girl
is trying to practice their acrobatic act - which would be relevant for this track) - but the video of dancing
smoke was delightful - just like that orange juice advert where the juice becomes alive and twists and dances
Angels of Life/Death - very heavy.
Ode to a Timeflower - I hadn't realised this was also Letter to Robert - the Ode was much better than earlier
versions - Calvert's voice was really clear, you could hear his intonation and - bizarrely - even though it was
from a computer it was astonishingly hypnotic - I found myself really listening to it, unexpectedly so.
(Note: I'm confused about this too. The track that's been played on this tour so far has been described as a
tape of Bob's vocals, set to the musical elements of Ode To A Timeflower. It's just that some people have
referred to it as Letter To Robert, which is actually an Arthur Brown vocal track from the new album.
Incidentally, on the Spring 2004 this version of Ode To A Timeflower was entitled "Trip"!)
To Love a Machine - enjoyed this very much and there was some lovely acoustic guitar background
throughout parts of it that worked really well. Either this track or the later one had the dancers acting out a
lovelorn guy rejected by a huffy android. Then Dibs came on and recited 10 Seconds of Forever - always
nice to hear this
Angela Android - this was excellent and everyone in the audience seemed to be thoroughly enjoying
themselves by now (management was pretty severe on not allowing folk to stand and dance but it was a
seated venue so they really had no choice). Finally Brainstorm - I thought this was going to be a short
version but there was an electronic break in the middle I didn't recognise before it finished off.
Brainbox Pollution - this was good and the dancers did an excellent lively act in 1950's (?) dress - this
worked very well.
Masters of the Universe - I was well taken with this version - thoroughly enjoyed it.
Welcome To The Future
And that was it. A full 2 hour show and very, very satisfactory. I don't usually enjoy seated venues but the
Tyne Theatre has a good intimate seating arrangement so you don't feel too far from the stage but you can
relax as well.
Saw Kris and loads of other folk afterwards but we had to drive back to Edinburgh so there wasn't time to
stay and chat but it was definitely worth the journey down, even though I ended up spending loads of money
8-( But the t-shirt has a nice flying saucer and alien image - the CD single was a delightful surprise - and the
fleece with its embroidered Hawkwind logo I'm really pleased to have. Don't know whether to keep it safe in
the cupboard unused or wear it and show it off to everyone! Think it'll be the latter
A good evening in all
10/12/04 - Swindon Dome / Oasis
Review by Jon:
Just got back to Wolverhampton from Swindon, and here are my thoughts on the gig. Those of you who've
read my Oakengates tirade will already know that I was less than impressed with the evening, and so it was
with trepidation that I trudged the mile or so out of Swindon town centre to the Oasis leisure centre. Fairly
easy to find the venue - it is a large dome-like structure which can be seen a fair way away. On entering the
building, I was a little perplexed. Oasis leisure centre is exactly what it says it is - swimming pool, kids dining
area and the smell of chlorine in the air. Didn't watch the support act - was it Dumpy? (No - it was The V's.)
I wander through to the gig room. Oh dear - a sports hall! Well I could always shoot a few baskets while I
A cheer goes up and Mr Brock and co. begin the proceedings. Mr Dibs reads his poetry and Spirit Of The
Age kicks in. This is more like it! Despite the cavernous room, the sound is far superior to Oakengates. The
band play the same set list as Oakengates, pretty much. Stand out tracks for me were Spirit Of The Age,
Uncle Sam, Angels Of Death, To Love A Machine and a highly worked Master of the Universe, which was
particularly excellent. The band were in good spirits. Dave was taking the mick out of Alan's sequencing,
who at one point feigned to hide what he was doing from Dave to stop him commenting. Dave appeared to
hand a newspaper to Richard, so that he would have something to read during a preprogrammed part of the
set. Great to see Brock 'out front' with his guitar, I was reminded all over again exactly how good he is.
Dumpy did not appear for the encore - so I still couldn't work out who supported - anyone out there know?
The crowd were more appreciative than at Oakengates, I thought. One small point - the venue had not got a
lighting rig - just spots set into the high ceiling. The lights are IMHO an important addition to a Hawkwind
show. The projections were used though, and were as usual, excellent.
Oh - and the fleeces have been put up in price to £25 - didn't I hear Dave say that money was the root of all
evil last night? :-) Only kidding - they are still a bargain.
Here's another...Review by Rob:
Last night's version of Uncle Sam was awesome and To Love A Machine produced goose bumps on my
arms. Sound-wise, had to move around a bit to avoid ear damage from the bass drum (very apparent at one
side), but the sound in front of the middle of the stage was excellent (if a little heavy on the sub woofer).
The stage was 'king huge. The plain sports hall walls behind provided an excellent backdrop for the Chaos
Illuminations which were most apparent to the left of the stage (looking from the audience) and for some
reason ended up on the side wall and ceiling on the other side which pushed the effects out another 2
dimensions which was good.
Dave, Alan and Richard really rocked and, as Jon said, seeing Dave do the biz up front was excellent. Dibs
was spot on for Tenth Second of Forever and other contributions. Jason's sound works superbly on some
tracks (Brainbox Pollution and MotU spring to mind immediately), but I'm not sure about some of the others
(I think it was during Brainstorm that it sounded like he was playing along to a completely different song).
The fleeces are excellent (embroidered tour logo on the left breast) and HUGE. I normally go for XL t-shirts,
but the standard Large fleece is big on me. And having tested mine out thoroughly today, I can confirm that
they are warm. Have only played the single once and it'll need a few more goes before I can decide if I like it
all or not.
Loved that venue. Good sound, plenty of room, more than adequate free car parking immediately outside so
no need to trek across town in the cold. Not sure they'd have us all back, though, given the (presumed)
damage to the sports hall floor. I believe the Exeter venue is quite small so will be completely different. I'm
looking forward to it. I'm sure the Astoria gig will be special as long as I can find the ticket that I've lost
somewhere in the house.
09/12/04 - Telford Oakengates Theatre
Review by Jon:
Just got back from Oakengates... Here is my review for what it is worth...and I am off to Swindon
tomorrow, then Cambridge, and finally I will be landing on earth at the Astoria on the 19th, so this is part 1
of my reviews...there are more parts to come! Don't expect a song by song critique, I didn't take notes on
each and every number that was played, but I will try to give a flavour of the evening.
To put things into perspective...I was at the Cheltenham gig and I was too pissed to make any kind of
sensible judgment on the gig...although I remember enjoying the whole occasion immensely despite some
problems with the sound, maybe. I was looking forward to the coming tour (which I am following
religiously). So, onto tonight at Oakengates...*bloody awful*! I dragged 4 virgin Hawkwind listeners to
tonight's gig in the hope of converting them, and unfortunately the lads let me down. Oakengates town hall
(I am 'local' - living in Wolverhampton) is a complete waste of time. No smoking, they ran out of bitter, then
lager, then any kind of draught beer!... But surely the Hawks wouldn't let me down, would they?
Well you know by now that they did! For starters the sound was bloody dreadful - a muddy mess - it
sounded like there was a band playing 'somewhere over there' wherever you stood in the hall. The band
never seemed to realise that there was an audience out there and that they were simply not connecting. I
saw these guys in recent times at Northampton and at Wolverhampton and they rocked us seriously. But
tonight was simply a non-starter. Don't get me wrong...the lads were appearing to have a great time...but
they didn't catch on to the fact that we, the audience, were not. It all went sadly wrong at the beginning
when 2 'dancers' (and I use that term in the broadest sense) desperately tried to extricate themselves from
their respective knots hanging from the stage. A lovely idea, but when you seen a bloke trapped in a piece of
bed-linen hanging from the stage, desperately trying to get free before the opening number closes - it starts to
get a bit too Spinal Tap for me.
At this point I openly apologise to my guests and assure them that things will get better once the band 'get
going'. But the poor sound inhibits the band and they continue into the next number (Sword of the East).
The band appear to think everything is hunky dory and continue slogging into the next number - but still it
sounds disconnected, too bassy and far away. My brother -whom I dragged to the fairly recent gig at
Wolverhampton- comes over and says "it's a bit shit tonight - not like the last one" - and I am left lost for
words, merely nodding in agreement. Oh god - it's all going wrong - I told these people that they would have
a gig to remember tonight! Sure, they will remember this gig - but for all the wrong reasons. A muddy
sound, shitty dancers who were at times laughable in their falling-over, unbalanced routines, a band who
ploughed through the gig regardless of how bad they sounded, appalling venue, and a shitty light show (I
assume the venue had banned the use of strobes) - not good, not good at all. I'm off to see them tomorrow -
c'mon lads, take me to where we belong, blanga me out, I KNOW you can do it do it for me tomorrow.
Next review coming soon...¦
Here's another...Review by Tom Byrne:
Very enjoyable. A few hundred there I would have said. Set list as Newcastle, if you substitute 'Ode to a
Timeflower' for 'Letter to Robert'. A beautifully laid out set. Very funny to see the roadies in lab coats and
with clip boards, like scientific technicians. Impressive dancers; very acrobatic, and their routines were
relevant to the songs. Classic Chaos Illumination light show. Reasonable to good sound quality - my chest
vibrated with the bass - keyboards could have been louder. Excellent version of Psychedelic Warlords.
Nice to hear Uncle Sam again - a pity all the heavy political edge lent to the song live by Bob Calvert was
missing - I think the times are right for that sort of thing. 'Ode to a Timeflower' was the weakest track; I
could hardly hear Bob's taped voice over the drum track. Brainstorm and Master of the Universe were as
raucous as you would expect. An excellent up-to-standard gig.
Nice to meet Arin and Rich and Nick Lee (also in lab coat) who are touring with the band.
Well done to Mr Dibs on narration - very sonorous, expecially '10 Seconds of Forever'
20/12/04 - Manchester Academy 2
Review by Mick:
The Manchester outing was a good evening - the band were on top form, but the three piece line-up has
always been my fave anyway, and the sound steadily improved throughout the first two tunes, and was spot
on by Greenback Massacre, little Alan Davey enjoying a couple of good wig outs during the night, you know
that head down no nonsense boogie thing he likes to do on his chorded bass sections...some of them so
violent that they even took Dave by surprise.
I won't go into a song by song dissection of the gig -people can do that better than me elsewhere- all the
songs were tight - some of them were given extra blanga and the instrumental breaks were more
contemporary-sounding than in previous years.
Dave, out front this tour, looks vaguely uncomfortable at certain points during the set - mainly when singing
without any guitar parts. He keeps fiddling with his rings as if he ain't sure what's going on...but saying that,
it's nice to finally see that he has legs - I always thought that maybe just the top half had been kept alive and
he was wheeled out behind his synths on a trolley in a vaguely Futurama type of way. He was in fine fettle all
night and really enjoying himself - always good to see.
Richard was in fine voice, but both nights I saw them, the rest of the band seem intent on trying to make him
lose it in a fit of giggles whenever he is on the mike. Angela Android is now one of the strongest numbers of
the set - I would imagine most of the people who called this song a heinous crime are now revising their
position - it's a great crowd pleaser. He is also fantastic on Digital Nation - a number that didn't do too much
for me on the snippet on Mission Control, but is awesome live, as is all the new stuff in the set - the sound
clips really, really don't do them justice.
Once again Neil and John were awesome with the projectors and made the backdrop consistently interesting
to watch - although I miss the big screen. The new backdrop is effective, but does kind of suck in the light
from the Opti Projectors - maybe they should have just superimposed the arch via PC projection: it would
have saved a lot of money, I imagine, and looked just as good. Looking forward to seeing it fully opened out
though in a bigger venue in the future. I would imagine it's very impressive when seen properly, as it was
designed to be extended outwards towards the audience in 3 sections, creating a real sense of depth, although
it couldn't really be done at most of the venues on the tour due to stage limitations.
What else can I say? Both nights were fantastic - great crowds in both venues, a good mix, a lot of first
timers that I spoke to, people really enjoying themselves and the band in party mood throughout - nothing
taken too seriously, and it showed well in the playing - everybody had fun - and that's what it is all about.
By the way - if Neil Ward is reading this review- SCI-FI TISWAS Neil, SCI-FI TISWAS!!
Here's another one...Review by Kris:
Me and my two buddies got in about 5 minutes into Dumpy's set...which was very interesting for the first 10
minutes or so, but after that, it seemed a bit repetitive and samey - as my friend commented, it would
probably be better if we were as stoned as some of the folks around us seemed to be! After a long drawn out
visit to the bar, we returned to our positions at the front of the venue, eagerly waiting the arrival of the
Hawks. We didn't have to wait long...after a short piece read by Mr.Dibs the band launched into a great
version of "Spirit of the Age" - as in other shows, Dave Brock was standing center stage, smiling intently and
miming some of the lyrics...maybe this was to replace the dancers, who were nowhere to be seen!
The band then launched into 3 great songs in a row... "Sword of the East", "Greenback Massacre" and
"Psychedelic Warlords". The first two, both Alan Davey numbers, were awesome... I don't know either of
them very well, but I certainly enjoyed them. "Psychedelic Warlords" was fantastic...the closest version to the
original I have yet heard. Awesome. After a short intro, the band then went straight into "Uncle Sam's On
Mars" - I have always loved this song... it's a fine example of Bob Calvert's fantastic sense of humour (two
cars in the garaaaaaaage... two cars in the gaaaaraaaage!) This worked well with 3 vocals from Davey, Brock
and Mr. Dibs. Next was "Out Here We Are" which is a nice chill out number...until the sampled sax, which
I'm afraid just sounds tacky. This was followed however by "Digital Nation" which I thought was excellent...
Richard Chadwick's vocals have definitely improved with time. He even sang the "Tomb Raider" quotes...
which I thought was a bit odd, but it sounded good.
"Hassan-i-Sahba" - I'll never be tired of hearing this. Fantastic... I love the way it falls into the trance part but
builds back up majestically into the "It is Written" part. Excellent stuff... Next was a slow and very heavy
"Angels of Death" which was just plain great. "Ode to a Timeflower" - Not sure about this... at least this time
(unlike in February) I could hear Bob Calvert to some degree...but I'm still not sure... although you can never
accuse Hawkwind songs of sounding the same as each other! Next was "To Love a Machine" which was
most excellent... I'm looking forward to the new album greatly. Mr.Dibs stepped forward to give a great
rendition of "The Ten Seconds of Forever" - my only gripe being that it *didn't* go into "Brainstorm" as it did
on Space Ritual. "Angela Android" however, sounded fine...certainly a lot better in the middle of the set than it
was as a starting number earlier in the year. "Brainstorm" was fantastic... it really brought the blanga to the
set... pounding rhythms... wow... all I can say is wow! Dumpy wasn't present during this number as at
other shows in the tour.
After a short break, the band came back on with "Brainbox Pollution" complete with footage from the Reefer
Madness film (the new official truth: if you smoke Cannabis, you will go INSANE). "Master of the Universe"
- it was seriously worth the ticket price just for this song... This took the blanga from "Brainstorm" to another
level! The floor was shaking from a combination of 15kw of bass and 500 hairy-arsed Hawkwind fans
jumping about. Absolutely awesome! "Welcome to the Future" rounded off the show, leaving me stunned and
amazed after 1 hr 45 mins of Hawkwind Madness!
It's almost as if after the spring tour, the band have been surfing the net reading all the tour reviews and
paying attention to what they say...because all my gripes from earlier in the year - gone! The band were
stunningly tight, loud, tons of stage presence, looked to be enjoying themselves, and the set was a blinder.
The best I've ever seen them! Hope they stay this way for a good while.
And there's this from John-Paul:
We were cruising around the unfashionable north-western arm of spiral galaxy 456 when chatter came over
the inter-galactic airwaves that the mighty legend that is Starship Hawkwind was going to perform its Sonic
Attack once again. So, with great excitement I and two other astral cosmonauts landed our cruiser and made
our way to the temporary centre of the universe, guided by the weird and wonderful lights that are the
trademark of the Mothership.
By the time we had arrived, refuelled our energy cells and purchased fluffy items of clothing, Captain Brock
was already wielding his famous Tonal-Axe to the delight of the thronging masses, his time- moulded face
contorting in a series of ecstasies has he delivered the now well known sermons of truth and wisdom. First
Officer Davey, the Bass Assassin, threw his head back and accompanied the Captain in his deliverance with
the expertise he has gained over the millennia. Star Navigator Chadwick sat at his consoles beating out the
rhythm that fuelled the starship and kept it on its unerring course. Computer Technician Jason manically
tapped rhythmic messages on his keys, a new addition to the crew but obviously hailing from a similar part of
the universe as both were speaking in the same tongue.
Two mechanoids guarded the story-screen as the Captain's words were translated from his mind, by the
auto-pilot, into imagery of numerous worlds both real and imaginary. My second-in-command commented
that the Mothership was now of two planes, one of dance and one of heaviness, this is indeed the case and
should succeed in bringing the true word to a myriad of different worlds.
Mid-way through the attack the Silver Machine's word was psychically beamed from beyond the now and
wrapped in sequences of weirdness to produce an ethereal feel, which did shudder our time- travelled bodies.
The Lab-Skin clad musicnauts were soon delivering their teachings in frenzied fashion and as the engines
roared and the lights danced, all too soon the performance was over and the Mothership was leaving Earth
once again on its never-ending journey to the stars. My cosmonauts and I left with the scriptures buzzing in
our ears and I once again returned my Lab-Skin to its airtight cask to await the next time the truth once again
returns to our skies...¦
17/12/04 - Cambridge Corn Exchange
Review by Sam:
Spanking gig, great crowd, lots of mad dancing. Band were tight and the addition of new keyboard player
was welcomed. Set list as I recall - which is already getting hazy & is definitely NOT in correct order:
Cannot remember what they started with - nearly blowing my brain up trying to think of it and I know I'm
going to kick myself hard when someone tells me!! [It was Spirit Of The Age] Psychedelic Warlords /
Hassan-i-Sahba / Digital Nation / Uncle Sam's on Mars / Angela Android / 10 seconds of Forever /
Brainstorm. Encore: Brainbox Pollution / Master of the Universe
Sounded great but could have been louder - think there were technical 'issues'. Looking forward to Sunday
night now and Hi to the two Dutch guys at the front wearing clogs, it's what it's all about.
Anyway, must go fix legs as also didn't stop dancing
-Sam & Andy :-)
Here's another...Review by Derek:
I agree that it was very good, one of the most of enjoyable I've been to (my eleventh time seeing them). We
should have some kind of petition to have Dave out front more often, he made it much more entertaining,
especially as he was evidently really enjoying himself.
As mentioned before there was lots of freaky dancing and drunken acrobatics, the place was pretty much full
from what I could see. One of the speakers crackled, juddered then popped during Psychedelic Warlords
(briefly the bass sounded just like on the original before speaker packed up totally!).
There were no dancers tonight, just the band. The additional keyboard player really worked as it meant they
didn't have to rely on sequencing quite so much. Whether he's a long term addition I don't know, I like the
three piece lineup as a nucleus, but to my mind they need others to add to the sound. This lineup definitely
The set list was pretty much as described on Starfarer.net with one addition. I missed the intro courtesy of
the glacially slow bar staff, do they feed them valium or what? Something was recited, presumably by Mr.
Dibs. By the time I'd got back in the hall the air was thick with herbal smoke and the place was pretty much
Spirit of the Age; Great to see Dave out front with the Les Paul, kind of visualising the lyrics with his hands
and arms as he sang. Very entertaining. Dave launched into a guitar solo which was enjoyable to see/hear. He
seems to be much happier to play guitar this time around, which is always a good thing.
Sword of the East; This was very similar to on the previous tour, complete bowel worrying bass frequencies.
I think I like the live version over that on the Xenon Codex, it seems heavier and has matured well with age.
Greenback Massacre; I liked this though I was expecting it to be louder, heavier and altogether much more of
a Blanga number from listening to the demo on Mission Control. However, the crowd liked it, and I nearly lost
my pint courtesy of a (presumably) chemically enhanced student dancing like he was being electrocuted!
Psychedelic Warlords; Much closer to the original than I've ever heard it, complete with swishing electronic
intro a la HOTMG. Finally they're doing the chorus almost like it was originally (with the long drawn out "that
ain't no lie" - thank you Alan)
Uncle Sam's On Mars; Brilliant, one of the major HW songs I've never heard. Lots of the familiar Nixon
samples about "how proud we all are", and very well sung by Dave, Alan and Mr. Dibs.
Out Here We Are; Much like on the demo on Mission Control, quite mellow, I didn't much like the sequenced
sax, but it was a nice interlude.
Digital Nation; I'm not that taken with this, though it was amusing watching Alan and Dave trying to make
Richard laugh while he was singing. The tomb raider "welcome to my home" samples were gone, and were
read out instead by Richard. The visuals were great, lots of images from old space invader games from the
late seventies, early eighties.
Hassan-i-Sahba; And there was much rejoicing! Very good, complete with the Space is Their Palestine
electronic section. Richard's electronic drumming is getting really impressive, complex patterns...the mutating
smoke patterns on the screen emulating the increasingly fragrant atmosphere.
Angels of Death; Very slow and heavy like on "Do not Panic", with bone rattling bass. I much prefer it slow
Ode to a Timeflower; A dance number with a very appropriate Calvert recitation about the fragrant herbal
smell engulfing the hall. I wasn't sure about this number, partly because I've never heard the original before
and couldn't recognise it as Calvert. I couldn't make out the words that well either. I'm sure if I was more
familiar with the poem it would have been a different experience.
To Love a Machine; A strong new number, though Dave sang it clutching a clipboard to read from rather than
playing the guitar. Again some Brock fretwork in the middle section I think. The whole song seemed pretty
different from the demo.
Ten Seconds of Forever; Woohoo, this was read just like on Space Ritual by Mr. Dibs while Dave and
Richard were chucking things at each other and generally horsing around at the back. Great fun, though the
next song wasn't what everyone was naturally expecting....
Angela Android; I heard this at Northampton and wasn't totally convinced, partly because the vocals had been
lost in the mix. This was great at Cambridge though, the crowd loved it, and again Alan and Dave were trying
to put off Richard. The final section with the descending riff and all three singing really got the crowd going I
Brainstorm; Blanga factor ten Mr. Sulu!!! Almost lost the pint again as people careered through the crowd to
jump around at the front. The middle section slowed right down and they did Vega off Alien 4, which was
good but seemed out of place in the of such a fast number, then it was back to the ear drum destroying finale.
Lots of cheering and stamping of feet, then the encores....
Brainbox Pollution; Heard this at Northampton in the spring and it's a great version. Alan's bass playing makes
it almost sound like a Chuck Berry number, and the Reefer madness/stoned hamster projections were
hilarious. As the song ended, someone in front of me shouted "play it again!". Instead we got the familiar
Master of the Universe; A huge Blanga fest, lots of jumping around and it was general sonic destruction time.
Alan seemed to get a bit upset (the teddy was hurled firmly from the pram in the general direction of the
roadies), I think his stage monitor packed up and there was lots of head scratching by the lab coated roadies.
Still, it didn't seem to affect his playing, and I love the way they play it these days with funky bass bit in the
middle section and shuffling drums.
Welcome To The Future; Short sweet and very very loud, my ears are still ringing.
All in all it was a very enjoyable night, a suitable mixture of heavy guitar based music and the more electronic
dance orientated stuff that got introduced in the early nineties. I think that was one of the best performances
I've seen from them, very tight and they were obviously all having fun.
On a final note, I don't think anyone's commented on the content of the Xmas CD. We got stuck in the car
park on the way out so had plenty of chance to listen to it.
It's great IMHO, the Christmas treat seems to be Richard singing a spacey glam rock version of we wish you
a merry christmas, very funny.
A good live version of Angela Android, though I think it was better live tonight.
"The Secret Knowledge of Water" is a very well done mellow instrumental with (presumably) Dave doing
some subtle slide/knife guitar work.
Ritual Breathing is quite a psychedelic slightly dancey/trancey instrumental number with lots of bubbling
spaciness and an eastern sounding violin. Lots of vicious stereo panning.
I guess if you were violently opposed to the electronic departures of the early nineties, you won't like much of
this. If you are like me, you will find this very encouraging. I thought they are quite high quality spacey
19/12/04 - London Astoria
Review and photo by John Chase:
Thought I 'd send over a shot from last night's Astoria Gig. I'll stick my neck out and say I've not seen
Hawkwind quite so tight, adrenaline-fuelled and dynamic sounding for years...the new stuff is great, the
re-working of old numbers excellent... Brainstorm, Sword of the East and the awesome Angels of Death (or
was it Agents of Death just for this tour?) being my favourites. The whole staging, dancers and backdrop
Below: Android backdrop (left) / Matthew Wright (centre) / Dave Brock (top right) / Alan & Dumpy (bottom
right) (c) John Chase 2004
|Above: Exeter photos, 18/12/2004, courtesy of Alan Taylor (cheers!)
Here's a Review by Jill:
This was brilliant - even the dancers were good - somehow what they were doing on this occasion was far
more related to what the band were playing and felt natural without detracting from either the music or the
Matthew Wright did the readings (he does look menacing with no hair and a lab coat!) and I thought did them
well - where Dibs has sonorous power in his voice Matthew Wright has feeling and emotion and I preferred
that. 10 Seconds of Forever (IMO!!) needs emotion - rather than threat - the danger is already implied in the
countdown but the countdown isn't important until right at the end - it's only a background to the intense
images and these are the really important bits. Anyhow it's only right at the end of 10 Seconds of Forever -
when time runs out that the countdown and the images become one and the same i.e. Oblivion (never, never,
I loved Digital Nation this time - because there seemed to be an element of threat in the background music to
this that hadn't been present before and that extra dimension made the song so much more compelling. All the
tracks flowed beautifully into each other and the reason for the odd electronic pause in the middle of
Brainstorm was completely explained when Dumpy came in and did a storming guitar session in that section
and he seemed to be enjoying every second of it!. Angela Android was a masterly track and To Love A
Machine had returned to a more guitar sounding keyboard rather than the piano it was in Exeter. The house
lights were stunning - at one stage in Hassan-i-Sahba the band was playing behind a wash of yellow light that
transformed the whole stage into a desert coloured scene - astonishingly effective. By Brainstorm the strobes
were so intense you were looking through a haze of light onto a stage that almost seemed to float
disconnected behind this visual veil. And the long white strip of nylon that the dancers played with across the
front of the stage had shimmering coloured light patterns reflecting off it that twisted and danced beautifully.
PS: I'm sure there was a quotation from Hamlet ("taking arms against a sea of troubles") during the show at
Exeter but it had gone again by Astoria so I can't for the life of me remember where it fitted in!
We also have one more Review by Chris:
Bloody excellent!! The band really gelled and again my only gripes being Out Here We Are and Digital Nation,
to me they just drone on and of course Ode To A Timeflower...I hated this on the last tour and still cannot
Spirit of the Age is good but is it a set opener? Uncle Sam...pure genius, Sword Of The East and Greenback
Massacre are just sublime Alan Davey moments. Assassins of Allah is still brilliant but I was disappointed that
Brainstorm did not follow 10 Seconds Of Forever (although I do like Angela Android) but Brainstorm when it
did appear...I really do believe it was the best version since the early 80's. Brainbox Pollution caused even
more idiot dancing and Master of the Universe with Dumpy...superb!!!
So in short: bad Exeter and good London... So there you have it ...what a band... I felt let down in Exeter
then Astoria blew me away!!!! Not too happy with Out Here We Are and Digital Nation but Greenback
Massacre and To Love a Machine are classics in the making.
And another Review by Graham P:
This was the first time I'd been to back-to-back concerts but it was well worth the extra trip. Inevitably you
see and hear a few more things the second time around and of course this time I got to see the whole show,
dancers and all. I mean, the stage alone in the Astoria is about the size of the hall at the Phoenix! There was
a long queue ("the first time I ever had to queue for Hawkwind" according to the person in front of me in the
queue), which didn't seem to start moving until around 7.30. Hence, by the time I arrived in the hall, the V's
had virtually finished their set: they sounded confident and competent and seemed to get a good reaction.
There was a break of around 20 minutes while Dibs and company cleared the V's gear and checked
microphones, etc.. According to notices in the foyer the concert was facing an 11.00 pm curfew so there
was little of the usual time-wasting that goes on between acts at most concerts.
I made my way to near the font of the hall for Dumpy's set. His introduction was slightly longer this time,
thanking the Hawks and dedicating the set to "one of the nicest guitarists" he knew, namely Huw Lloyd
Langton. He explained that his association with the Hawks went right back to 1971 when he saw them in
places like the Roundhouse - and that the set he was going to play was a mixture of guitar, bass pedal and
effects. He seems awfully mellow compared to the raucous hell-raiser whose band provided support on the
"Black Sword" tour, regaling the faithful with such tasteful and politically incorrect tunes as "Hots for
Bronski" as far as I recall! As in Exeter, the set lasted less than half an hour and consisted of two linked
pieces, between which he fiddled around with effects. The sound was, in truth, a fair facsimile of early
Hawkwind, or at least as good as one man, a guitar and some effects could reasonably achieve in less than 30
minutes! The audience applauded but someone standing near me summed up his reaction as â€œnonplussed".
After a short break, with nondescript music playing on the PA, the Hawks made their way on stage and
fiddled around with equipment for a few minutes. Dibs carried a large white cloth "pod" to the front of the
stage, which evidently concealed a dancer - who emerged during the first song. The keyboard player had lost
his coloured hair and star-trek make-up; Dave and Alan both wore lab coats (although, as in Exeter, Alan shed
his coat part-way through the set), Richard in his usual woolly jumper. Matthew Wright came out to read the
opening poem before the band launched unhurriedly into "Spirit Of The Age". The current set structure is
nicely paced, indeed possibly better paced than any Hawkwind set I've seen. Dave's vocals are notably
expressive and accompanied by appropriate gestures (making wings as he sings "Oh for the wings of any
bird"). The dancers nicely complemented the set: two of them did most of the mime, dance and balletic
acrobatics, two others were dressed as rather striking male and female demons. This sort of amateur
dramatics stuff could have been horribly cheesy or, worse, very Spinal Tap. However, it worked well enough
and, for my tastes the whole performance was spot-on. The band were evidently enjoying themselves and
not taking things too seriously - but without resorting to (say) Turner-style clowning or on-stage dancing
competitions. At the same time, much care and attention had gone into the design of the backdrop, the
lightshow, choreography and, definitely not least, the music. The show was a triumph and it's a pity that it
wasn't being recorded for DVD release (at least, no cameras were in evidence). Alan's sequencer seemed to
behave itself perfectly and just about the only downside, a consequence of playing in this cavernous venue,
was a certain coarseness to the sound; Richard's vocal contributions were harder to pick out and the mix
lacked the clarity of the sound at the Exeter show, although guitar and bass came through clearly.
During "Sword Of The East", Dave indulged in some all too rare soloing on guitar and, as pretty much
throughout the concert, remained at the front of the stage alongside Alan. I don't think I've ever seen him
looking so relaxed on stage and both his guitar playing and singing seem to have taken on a new lease of life.
Perhaps it helps that he's not playing keyboards - just running a few effects from his console. As at Exeter,
"Sword Of The East" was followed by "Greenback Massacre", both sung by Alan, then by "Psychedelic
Warlords" and "Uncle Sam's On Mars", with Dave and Alan singing on both, and Dibs joining the front line to
contribute vocals again on the latter. Then the instrumental break (â€œOut Here Are We") and "Digital
Nation". During these two numbers Dave sat down at the back to play guitar. At some point, Dave read a
piece that seemed to be called "Technoland" from his clipboard (as at Exeter in fact). In any case, the next
song was "Assassins", with the usual "Space Is Their Palestine" mid-section. "Ode To A Time Flower" was
next, with less explanation from Dave than at Exeter, and Bob's words being harder to pick out of the mix.
"To Love A Machine" followed, Dave on solo lead vocal, joined by Alan on the chorus ("To love a machine is
not commonplace"). On second hearing I still think this will be a classic. A live album from this show would
be most welcome - as well as TMTYL itself of course! Along with several other people at or near the front, I
took the opportunity to take some photos - someone behind asked if I'd managed to get a picture of Dave
playing guitar: yes, I think everyone appreciated the fact that he was out front, playing guitar and leading the
band rather than remaining in the shadows.
Matthew Wright read "10 Seconds Of Forever", slightly spoiled by the microphone not being switched on
until the second line, and the band launched into "Angela Android". "Brainstorm" closed the main set, with
Dumpy joining them onstage to play lead guitar. Again there was an instrumental break, which sounded rather
like "Vega" (but with some Shakespearian recitation, possibly "Now is the winter of our discontent", deep in
the mix). As in Exeter, the encore was "Brainbox Pollution", "Master Of The Universe" and "Welcome".
Dumpy again joined in on "Master". Both the old chestnuts (Brainstorm and Master) were excellent of course,
with Dumpy filling out the sound, but I preferred the power trio (plus keyboards) versions from Exeter. Then
it was all over, and not even 11.00 yet. The consensus of comments overheard on the way out was that this
was the best the band had been for many a year.
The thing is, this version of Hawkwind benefits from the presence of a keyboard player but there really isn't
anything (or anyone) that would improve what they're doing right now. Much as I love seeing the likes of
Huw, Tim, Simon, Arthur and co on stage with the Hawks, this year's concerts have been exceptional. Long
may they run!
Here's a Review by Jill:
Slightly disappointing in some ways - possibly spoiled by the fact that I'd seen the set at Newcastle and not
helped by the intense smoke that was drifting in hazy layers throughout the hall and inhaling this lot on top of
a large dinner left me feeling surprisingly unwell. However once that passed - the show: no dancers - which
was interesting because you could focus on Hawkwind's music without distractions and the light show was
much more visible on a large backdrop. It was good but took me a while to enjoy it - too many breaks
between songs - the segue flow wasn't there - Digital Nation coming after the instrumental track seemed to
really slow everything down (although both are good tracks) and Angels of Death was another slow number
coming after the excitement of Hassan-i-Sahba - but from Ode to a Timeflower I felt everything come to life
and even a young lass in front of me in a short black dress suddenly decided this was a great gig and started
dancing enthusiastically so the show ended powerfully and everyone seemed to go away really happy - except
that it was chucking down waterfalls of rain outside and all the taxis were booked up until 2.45am! So we got
somewhat wet walking back to the hotel which thankfully was quite close by.
And another... Review by Chris:
Worse gig I have ever seen Hawkwind do - and someone agreed with me! Not loud enough and I hate to say
this, but apart from To Love A machine, the new tracks are just boring!! To me the band seemed to be going
through the motions, I know it's a small gig but......the fans in Exeter were so cool and friendly, compared
with the London crowd - too many a**holes who can't hold their drink!!! If we could transplant the Exeter
fans to Astoria ...heaven!!!!
And a Review by Graham P:
On a horribly wet blustery night, the Hawks played the Exeter Phoenix, a tiny venue in the centre of Exeter.
The merchandising desk was right at the doorway: Pete Pracownik(?) was signing copies of a book of his
artwork and the Sonic Assassins biography; tee-shirts, "Spirit Of The Age" tour programmes, â€œSpaced Out
In London" and the Christmas CD were on sale. [Note: nice idea, but only the live version â€œAngela
Android" stands out.] Alan Davey was talking to fans. A note pinned to the wall by the bar showed that
Dumpy was due on at 8.30, followed by the Hawks at 9.45, predicted finish at 11.45 pm. No late nights on
this tour it seems.
The PA was playing Floyd, Caravan and Yes, perhaps a fair choice given the average age of the audience.
Dave Brock briefly appeared on stage before disappearing rapidly into the backstage area. Dumpy appeared
on stage promptly at 8.30 with his guitar, briefly introduced himself as Spacenutz, then reminded us that he
was also Dumpy and that he was going to play some "ambient" music. With his flowing grey beard and
shades he now looks like the missing third member of ZZ-Top's frontline. He played along to his drum
machine / tapes / effects for the next half hour with no break and no further words. As he said, this was
more ambient than his usual fare and passed the time agreeably enough, especially during the more â
€œspacey" second part. The still small crowd applauded appreciatively.
Dibs and co. cleared Dumpy's gear, adjusted mikes and guitars, etc, and the stage was set. Alan and Richard
wandered on and then off again. Alan's bass, keyboard and computer were stage left, drums in the middle,
Dave's guitar and other kit (no keyboards as far as I could see) was centre right and two keyboards were set
up on he far right. Finally, around 9.45 as promised, the screen behind the stage lifted to reveal the "Spirit"
tour artwork and, as Floyd's "One Of These Days" faded out, the Hawks appeared on stage. The hall was by
now packed. Dave and Alan appeared, wearing lab coats. Richard (no lab coat) sat behind his drums and the
keyboard player dressed in a lab coat and with the hairstyle of a star-trek extra took up position at the
keyboards. His contributions throughout really helped fill out the sound, meaning that the band didn't seem to
rely (quite) so much on sequencing.
Dave read an introductory poem from his clipboard and the set proper kicked off with "Spirit Of The Age" (of
course) with Dave, as ever, doing his own version of the words. For this song he remained at the front of
the stage, clipboard in hand, really entering into the spirit of the er...occasion, as it were. The band seemed to
be in good spirits and Dave apologised for the lack of dancers, explaining that there had been problems ("you
don't want to know" said Alan), later saying that (as was pretty obvious) there was simply no room for
dancers on such a small stage. Next up, "Sword Of The East" - sung, naturally, by Alan. "Greenback
Massacre" was the first of the new songs - short, tight and aggressive and again sung by Alan. It was evident
that Alan was in charge of most of the on-stage sequencing - and the frequent slightly pained glances from
Dave and Richard in his direction as he fiddled with settings at the start of each song suggested that this
wasn't running quite as smoothly as the band would have liked. "Psychedelic Warlords" was despatched
efficiently, with Dave and Alan sharing vocals, and Dave playing and singing at the front of the stage - a
pleasant change! Dibs came up on stage for "Uncle Sam's On Mars", reading Bob Calvert's spoken passages
("we've got drum majorettes in white ankle socks", etc) and providing backing vocals. The song closed with
a rousing version of "Iron Dream" as the power trio showed just how well, powerful they can be.
A laid-back instrumental ("Out Here Are We") followed and then Richard's techno-inspired "Digital Nation".
Not a typical Hawk song but it worked - and Richard's vocals were good. In fact his vocal contributions
throughout were a revelation. As Dave remarked later, they never knew they had such a talent in the ranks.
"Assassins of Allah" followed, then "Angels of Death". Angels had been given a makeover, with the bass
leading the introductory section and Dave's guitar coming in only after the first chorus. "Ode To A Time
Flower" followed: Bob Calvert's words with a taped backing. "We still remember him", said Dave, explaining
that Bob had given him a tape of his poems, this one being about marijuana, and they'd added some backing.
Up to now the sound had been fairly good but Richard and Dave were still looking a bit stressed - and even
Alan was casting frequent baleful glances at his computer. However, from here on in, everything fell into
place. Dave sang lead on "To Love A Machine" - which may just turn out to be one of his classic minor-key
space ballads. His vocals were excellent, sung with real feeling. Dibs came out with lab coat and clipboard to
read "10 Seconds Of Forever" and the band launched into "Angela Android", a song that has improved out of
all recognition since the spring tour, Richard providing a confident lead vocal. "Brainstorm" closed the set, an
excellent version. They did their normal stop-start thing in the middle before getting back into the song with a
vengeance, the power trio hitting that blissful Hawkwind groove.
The encore was equally impressive, kicking off with "Brainbox Pollution" and moving into an excellent â
€œMaster Of The Universe" - now played with considerably more conviction than the tired 1980s/1990s
versions. After the first verse, Alan's bass dominated the first part of the middle instrumental section - his
playing, as indeed it was all night, being quite superb. Dave's guitar led into the second verse, sung by Alan,
with all the correct words now restored instead of simply repeating the first verse. As Dave recited
"Welcome To The Future", I had to leave. I thought the band was good in Aberdeen back in the spring but
this was better still. Outstanding!
-Graham P. (who also took the following photos...)
21/12/04 - Birkenhead Pacific Rd Arts Centre
Review by Tim Belfield:
I have just got back from Birkenhead and the only downer of the evening was that the single had sold out.
The set list was the same as before although I don't think they played Out Here We Are. The gig seemed to
pretty much reflect the majority of previous favourable reviews. So the only things to add are a few personal
opinions. All the new songs sounded fresh and well played, I even enjoyed Angela Android, which I have
slated previously. Brainstorm was the highlight of the evening for pure energy. There were no dancers and
Dumpy played excellent guitar on MOTU. Another fine evening with Hawkwind...
But it wasn't all sweetness and light. Here's a tale of woe from Dave:
This is instead of a review.
I was going to send you a review on the Birkenhead Gig. But along we went all 5 of us, after rushing home
from work, we travelled through the tunnel from Liverpool and arrived at 7pm, only to be told there would be
no tickets sold on the door, that they classed it as sold out because they would only let in people who had
pre-booked tickets on the internet. No mention of this on The Pacific Road Site. So how are people to know
What a farce!! We stood outside to see if anybody was selling tickets but this place is a weird venue in the
middle of nowhere. It's an old warehouse and looks massive from outside, so we found it hard to believe it
was sold out. So we tried again, and they told us yes, there probably was space for more people, but they had
no facility for payment on the door. We told the guy that we had tried the box office several times but
whenever you ring, an answerphone tells you they are closed. Indeed tonight the box office was closed.
Totally ridiculous state of affairs!!! There was loads of people coming up wanting to pay on the door and
being turned away, because there was nobody to take money on the door, so they just told everybody it was
Why are the band booking dumps like this who don't know how to put on a night like this. There are loads of
venues in LIVERPOOL that the band can play, like The Royal Court, or The Liverpool Academy where
Motorhead played in November. What are they doing playing in venues miles from anywhere like this Arts
Centre, in Birkenhead?
Well that's 5 x £17.50 the band's missed out on tonight, plus the CD's and merchandise that we would have
We got back in the car and travelled back to Liverpool feeling very disappointed. Having read the reviews on
your site, we all expected this to be a night to remember. Yes we will remember it, as a total non-starter. To
make things even worse this was the last gig of the tour so we can't go and see the band anywhere else. We
all wish we had gone to the gig the night before at Manchester Academy. It is a proper venue used to putting
on big name bands like Hawkwind, but it's too late, too late as Lemmy's classic song says.
We will have to wait until the next tour now.
But on a happier note...Review by JR:
Well these guys have been doing it for a long time so they ought to be good. But they weren't just good, it
was a fantastic gig. I don't think I've ever seen them on such good form and they looked like they were having
a great time too. Sound was good and Pacific Road is a nice venue. The crowd was just right. Enough people
to give a good roar but not so packed people are dancing on your toes.
No huge surprises in the set list. It was a well chosen set though, with the band speeding up then slowing the
pace several times. For me the gig really took off when they played Assassins of Allah and the second half just
flew by. If I had a complaint it's that the lyrics to Ode to a Timeflower weren't very clear.
No dancers, but the band was so good that dancers could only have been a distraction. I could probably have
lived without the bald guy with the clipboard. Calvert was a very good poet, and I'm not sure the attempts to
imitate him work that well.
All in all one of the most enjoyable concerts I've been to for ages, and the two Hawkwind virgins I took with
me were impressed too.
Below left: Alan & Richard Above: the core trio Below right: Alan and computer
|Right: heads-down, no nonsense space rock!
|Above: Mr.Dibs in action Right: Captain Dave Brock
Below: Hawks plus Dumpy
...who also took these photos (right and below) of
Alan Davey and Dave Brock, at the Astoria, on
Above: I recognise that fairy!
Left: Alan & his tools
Left: Alan & Richard Above: Dave & Android
|Below: the stage set, with the Captain at rest!.