"Solstice Daze" December 2005 Tour

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Birkenhead 15/12/2005
Unfortunately, I arrived late and missed the first song (The Right Stuff?).  Sword of the East had just
started as I entered the hall.  My first impressions were; sound quality very good, light show excellent,
Dave Brock is smiling?!!  This is going to be an interesting gig...

The band, and audience, were in great spirits (despite a smoking ban in the auditorium) as they moved
through the most diverse set list I've seen them do in ages.  Greenback Massacre, Lord of Light, Upside
Down, Seven by Seven, Out Here We Are, Paranoia, Psi Power, Angela Android, Love in Space, Assassins
of Allah, Paradox, Brainstorm, Brainbox Pollution, Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke).

I apologise if I've missed any tracks or got any out of order, but it's the next day and I've still not had any
sleep yet.

This was one of the best Hawkwind shows I have seen in over a decade, and to think I nearly didn't go
tonight 'cos I thought it would be the same dull (sorry guys!) show as last year, but the band were having a
great time and played their socks off.  The dancers were very good this year and their costumes added
another level to the awesome kaleidoscopic light show.

I do hope this set gets recorded for a future release because I can't wait to relive that one again.

Cheers Guys, Peej
I attended the Birkenhead gig and thought I would submit a brief review...

Starting off with The Right Suff...Sword Of The East...Greenback Massacre (excellent), it took a few
songs for both band and audience to warm up...  Seven by Seven really got things moving...I thought this
was the most popular voted song in the poll but then came Lord Of Light (my vote) with Mr Dibs on
vocals...  Paradox...Psi Power...Hassan-i-Sahba....Love In Space...  Finishing up with a Brainstorm-Upside
Down-Brainstorm combination.

All the last four remaining songs in the poll were played!! - quite a welcome surprise.  Dumpy joined the
band for a couple of songs towards the end of the set, adding more welcome guitar power.  The encore
was Psychedelic Warlords and Brainbox Pollution.

Overall: pretty good...reasonable attendance...light show was as intense as ever.  The band: Brock in
particular seemed in a good mood.  Could have been a bit louder, but I can't complain!!

Cheers

Phil Swanson
Above & right: photos taken by Peej - cheers!
Manchester 16/12/2005
Have to agree with Peej: attended the Manchester gig and musically it was by far the best the guys have
played for a long time.  Great mix of old and new songs, and yes, Dave did seem to be enjoying himself.  
Third time I had seen them this year and glad to say I am eager for more.

-John


I got back late last night from my office party and I'm knackered.  The song I definitely remember is
Upside Down which is one of my favourites and I've never heard them play it before.  It sent shivers
down my spine.  It was right in the middle of Brainstorm though.  After the first two verses it kind of
slowed down and then went into Upside Down.  Then they came out of that and did the 'this is it' chant.  I
would have paid 18 quid just to hear Upside Down.

Another good bit was Seven by Seven.  It was unexpected to hear such an old favourite.  You could tell
the Hawkwind fans in the venue because all their heads started nodding in recognition.  It was good to hear
Brainstorm after a long absence, too.  Paradox and Psychedelic Warlords were also well received.  Dave
Brock looked to be enjoying himself and the keyboard player was excellent.  The seated Liverpool Empire
was always my favourite venue in the 80s but I definitely prefer the arts centre in Birkenhead to the
run-down Royal Court in Liverpool. I hope they come back to the Wirral next year.

-Ali
Just had my Christmas present early, seeing the band back to their absolute best.  Regarding the setlist you
have on the web site thought I'd point out that they played Spirit of the Age and not (unless I'm finally
losing my marbles) Seeing It as You Really Are and Paranoia.  I thought they were on form right from the
start.

The Right Stuff and Sword of the East were solid with Jason doing some faithful-to-the-record keyboards
in the latter.  No danger of Dave's guitar being too low in the mix on Greenback Massacre.  Seven By
Seven started with the descending chord sequence off Space Ritual Vol 2 and ended with the bit just
before Sonic Attack on Space Ritual. The spoken bit ('Seven signs rode on seven stars' etc) was done
very well by Richard while Jason provided some Sonic Assassins/Rick Wright stylee keyboard playing in
that bit. So the arrangement was faithful to the original while updating the sound to suit the current line-up
(more music less whooshing noises). I hope there's a live album.

I assumed that 7 by 7 was the poll winner but they also did other tracks from the vote (along with some
humorous intros e.g. 'You all know what we're going to play next' before Psi Power.) The set list was
almost perfect: Love in Space, Paradox, a great version of Brainstorm incorporating all the best bits from
the various reworkings and finishing just like the original studio track, Lord of Light (featuring Mr Dibs on
vocals). And the new stuff sounded great live, including Out Here We Are, with live drumming and the
invisible Trumpeter.  And Dave did seem to be enjoying himself (especially on Spirit of the Age). It seems
as if he's able to come out from behind his keyboard and be a singer and guitarist more now that Jason is
in the band, which is no bad thing.

Oh yeah Spacehead were good too. Keep Flying!

-Nick R                                                                
Below: Birkenhead crowd.  Pic by Nick Lee (thanks!)
Dudley 20/12/2005
What a great twelve months it has been for following the Hawks, great shows along the away and, including
this evening, two new venues for me to experience. Last time I saw the band I had to comment on the way
our lads enjoyed themselves and tonight was perhaps an even better example. Sometimes I struggle to hear
all Dave's asides and tonight, amidst much of the solstice merriment, I could only really make out his
comments at the thought of a Brock led country and what might be legalised...android replicas of course.

Great views from everywhere in the venue, good light show and a set that seems pretty much in keeping
with the rest of the Solstice Daze tour. Regular readers will know that I rarely -if ever- remember the right
running order so I won't bother with a set list other than to say "Psi Power" and " Lord of Light" were
highlights for me. Excellent versions of "Right Stuff" and "Spirit of the Age " too. Oh I remember now,
Dave asked us to join in with the chorus on "Spirit". I got confused and started to do some sort of jig
although this was more to get my legs working again after putting in twelve hours hard graft directly before
the show!

Perhaps the dancers were a little cramped on what to me seemed a very small stage as they really seemed to
need more space. That said, Dave managed to find somewhere to sit down when required. A quirky addition
to this tour as I note it has been mentioned before. All in all another night that made me realise why I put the
time and effort into following this band...because we get it all back and more. I hope the chap I spoke to
before the gig that had not seen the band since the Black Sword tour won't leave it so long next time. Thank
you Hawkwind. Many more happy solstices to band and fans alike.

-Tim Palin
London Astoria 21/12/2005
CONDITIONS: Packed - tallest audience in rock history, meaning that a no time did I have a completely
unobstructed view of the stage.

VOLUME: Loudish but someway short of the Motorhead Gold Standard for Sonic Achievement.

MAN: M. Jones (lead guitar) hospitalised and therefore unavailable. Martin Ace looked in fine fettle but did
make a formal complaint about the lack of drugs available backstage. Excellent short set from the Welsh
boyos - superb version of 'C'mon' probably the highlight.

HAWKWIND: As ever, it is difficult to know where to begin...¦ the stage looked incredible. Huge 1970's
Alien-inspired backdrop plus projection screen. Stage Right - a nice floral garden display of large
sunflowers (yes - that does say floral display - see below for further explanation). Usual array of retina-
melting lighting effects - particularly during Lord of Light and Brainbox Pollution. Dave Brock's Burger Bar
has made several capital equipment purchases - including what appears to be a Mean Lean Grilling Machine
and a toasted sandwich maker.

THIS NEXT BIT IS TRUE: At various points during the performance the band were joined by 2 fairies with
large wings, and a creature of indeterminate sex who performed various dance routines having emerged
from the cover of the aforementioned floral display - probably meant something but to be honest didn't quite
catch the drift. During 'Spirit of the Age' the beautiful blonde fairy with large blue wings threw spiky
luminous yellow balls into the audience (one of which is now on the office wall !) whilst her colleague use a
bubble machine to enliven the proceedings

For reasons not fully explained one of the road crew handled lead vocals on 'Seven By Seven' and another
track. Finally, prior to the encores, some B-list radio celeb (identity unknown) presented the band with gold
(-ish) discs to celebrate sales of the latest album (in the Stonehenge area presumably).

SET LIST: From memory:- The Right Stuff, Sword of the East, Greenback Massacre, Lord of Light,
Upside Down, Seven by Seven, Out Here We Are, Paranoia, Psi Power, Angela Android, Love in Space,
Assassins of Allah, Spirit of the Age, Paradox, Brainstorm ("upside down version" whatever that may mean)
ENCORES: Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke), Brainbox Pollution.

All in all another spiffing, if slightly confusing, evening in the company of the Hawklords. What does it all
mean? Who cares...¦Until the next gig!

-Nick B.


Despite managing to walk in late, towards the end of the first (?) number, I had a good time at the gig. Iâ
€™ll leave the exact setlist to those with better memory, but the band played a fair selection of early '70s
material (Lord of Light, Brainbox Pollution, Seeing It As You Really Are, etc.), together with the usual
favourites such as Brainstorm, Spirit Of The Age and the extended Assassins of Allah/Space Is Their
Palestine. From memory there were only three tracks played from the new album, Greenback Massacre,
Out Here We Are & Angela Android. A welcome surprise was the inclusion of Love In Space (great to
hear, though it was a streamlined version minus the usual jam in the middle). Psi Power and Psychedelic
Warlords (both featuring a new introductions so that I didn't recognise them at first!) were also welcome
additions to the set. So, a good track selection, with the one exception of Angela Android. I've never liked
this song, and hearing it live didn't change my view, especially with the cheesy choreography of the two
androids groping each other! This was definitely the low point of the gig for me.

The lineup was the usual core of Brock/Davey/Chadwick and Jason Stuart, together with guests Jez
Huggett (sax / flute) & Mr Dibs (occasional vox). There was also a guest guitarist briefly towards the end
of the encore (Keith Barton??)

Dave was in top form, out front and playing some great lead, and I have to accord with other reviewers in
saying he really looked like he was enjoying himself, smiling often throughout the gig. It's unusual not to see
him hidden behind banks of keyboards (in fact he didn't have any that I could see, just a Pod (?) for the
guitar and one or two other small bits of gear). I welcome seeing him out front, but I did find myself
occasionally missing Dr Technical, as at times the sound seemed a bit light on the synth FX. Jason Stuart
seemed competent enough, though again I found myself wishing for more Blake/Bainbridge style synth
bubbles. However the fantastic lightshow went a long way towards making things more atmospheric, so
much so that by Assassins of Allah middle section I found myself entranced by it, a perfect visual
accompaniment to the exotic mix of eastern sounds and glissando guitar. I thought Alan and Richard played
very strongly, giving just the kind of solid, dynamic rhythm section the band needed in preparation for take-
off. The only unnecessary element was the sax, which sounded undermixed anyway, but what was there
just didn't seem to complement the sound, to my ears. Jez Huggett may be a decent player in his own right
but I have to say I just don't think he is Hawkwind.

Unexpectedly, Matthew Wright appeared just before the encore to introduce Rob Ayling, who then handed
awards to each of the band members for impressive sales of TMTYL. Well done lads! Still I must say
although I was disappointed with the new studio offering, this gig confirmed that Hawkwind can still cut it
live, offering the necessary full-on assault on the senses with visuals and sound.

-Daniel Briggs


Having seen the set list from previous venues on this tour I was really looking forward to this show. The
last time I saw the band was in Middlesborough and they were awesome so there was some trepidation that
they might not match that performance.

Any doubt was quickly dispelled by an excellent start with The Right Stuff and Sword of the East. Classic
after classic was rolled out to an audience who were clearly lapping it up. The light show was spot on and
certainly needs a venue of at least the size of the Astoria to be truly effective.  The dancers added to the
show but were not as prominent as they have been in previous tours.

The band sounded as tight as ever and appeared to be really enjoying the show.  Dave did some outstanding
guitar work at times and Jason now appears to be a vital part of the sound. Surprised to see some doubts
over the addition of Jez Huggett. He was only added for the Astoria and there were extensive rehearsals
prior to the show. I thought he came over very well and some of the flute work fitted in perfectly.

I agree with the comments re Mr Dibs handling some of the vocals.  I had really been looking forward to
hearing Dave do the vocals on Lord of Light but transpired that Dibs did them instead.  The track was still
excellent but from a personal point of view Dibs is not a patch on Dave in terms of vocals. Mild criticism
only given the content of the show.

My own personal highlight had to be Paradox.  The slow piano intro before the band launch full pelt into
this is amazing. Has always been a favourite of mine and tonight I thought Dave really played great guitar on
it.

Felt that the sound could have been louder and a bit clearer - Richard's voice did not come through
particularly strongly on Andrea Android but again, that is just a minor flaw in what was a tremendous
evening's entertainment. Can only hope this tour has been filmed / recorded for future release.

Yet again the band proved that they have still got that little bit of magic which makes them stand out from
the crowd. It is a pity that more people have not recognised this and given them the acclaim they richly
deserve.  Already looking forward to shows next year.

-Ron W.
doing it brilliantly, long may he continue to do so.

The only down side of the night for me, and something most of the group with me agreed with, was Mr
Dibs' getting involved all the time ruined things a bit. Here we had Hawkwind performing songs they
haven't performed for years, fans were astounded to hear the opening riffs to Seven by Seven, Upside
Down, and Lord Of Light. But all of a sudden on came Mr Dibs joining in. They were all ruined by him,
his vocals are not the best and surely Dave Brock, Alan or Richard would have been better singing the
parts of the songs he did. His band Spacehead supported on the night, and they are not the best at all. A lot
of their songs sound the same, the guitarist does nothing for me, and I was very surprised to see Brock
having him join Hawkwind for parts of the set in 2003. I'm glad this has stopped. Mr Dibs' bass playing
also
doesn't do it for me neither do his vocals which are very lightweight. The drummer lacks drive, and
Left & Above: photos by Peej
Below & right pics by Peej
Even though I have the misfortune to live in the godforsaken hellhole that is Birkenhead, I was quite
honestly in two minds whether or not to attend this gig, due to a) the largely disappointing show last year
(far too much in the way of backing tapes, including sax!), b) the dreadful sound at the venue, and not
least c) Mr. Brock's outrageous behaviour towards Mr. Turner in recent years. As it happens, it was
bloody good. MUCH better than I was expecting, to be honest, largely due to several old classics being
dusted off... even the sound wasn't too bad, unless stood right at the front, where the PA was horribly
distorted. A qualified success.

BUT... They are still playing "Brainstorm", which is a bit rich considering their "Nik can't play our songs"
policy. Not only that, but an early 90s electronic instrumental* was played before they came on with a
"Standing On The Edge" voice-over from Nik! C'mon guys, make your minds up... Also, it is well known
that Space Ritual have been opening their set for some months with "The Right Stuff". Coincidence?
Scoring points? You decide.

Dumpy, bless him, came on for ONE song during which his guitar was totally inaudible out front. It might
have looked powerful, but it certainly didn't sound that way!  I won't go into details about how rude a
certain member of the HW entourage was to a very good friend of mine, 'cos I'll probably get killed. Or
beaten up.

Keep smiling, don't publish this unless thoroughly edited
[I didn't edit it at all!], and merry bloody Xmas!!!

-The Count      
Below: Alan & Dave, pic by Nick Lee
Got to the Birkenhead gig, and I must say it was the
best performance I have seen the band do since the
excellent 2001 tour, with Huw Lloyd Langton &
Simon House.

What was great about this performance was how
relaxed Dave Brock looked. He was out front
smiling, playing loads of lead guitar in all the songs.
This is something I can't remember seeing him do
before, and I have been watching the band since
1970. Th
e choice of songs was also excellent, with
brilliant versions of classics they rarely ever do; Paradox,  Seven by Seven, Upside Down, Psi Power,
Love In Space and Lord Of Light. The rest of the set consisted of a good mix of songs - The Right Stuff,
Sword Of The East, Out Here We Are, Greenback Massacre, Angela Android, Spirit Of The Age,
Brainstorm, Assassins Of Allah, Psychedelic Warlords and Brainbox Pollution.
The keyboard player Jason Stuart, fits in well, and
gives the band a fuller, better sound. Alan Davey
was his usual self, pumping away on bass, and
Richard Chadwick gave a solid performance on
drums, and good vocal harmonies. But the star was
Dave Brock, I wish he had done this all those years
after Huw left the band in 89, and it was crying out
for a lead guitarist. He has always been capable, but
for years he has seemed to shy away from it apart
from the odd blast usually on The Golden Void. It
has been years that fans like myself have been
waiting and hoping that Dave would get out front
and play hi
s guitar, but at last he is doing it, and
Above: only Richard remains focussed (pic: N.Lee)
doing a solo spot, or with his band, and Hawkwind having Huw coming on to join them towards the end
like Dumpy does for a couple of songs. Maybe that's a thought, that they might consider for future gigs in
2006. I know it would please a lot of the fans, and after all, that's what it is all about surely.

-Dave The Hawklord


Brilliant performance by the band, one of the best I have seen.  A good choice of songs, including some
70's classics. Thought Dave Brock was playing some brilliant lead guitar licks, it was good to see him
taking the lead.  A message to the Captain, please put some decent support bands on to open these gigs,
cos at £18.50 a ticket Spacehead were terrible.  Was glad when they had finished their set.  Then we were
blown away by Hawkwind's good mix of new and classic songs, but was disappointed when Mr Dibs
returned to take the lead on vocals.  As Dave Brock is the only remaining original member out of this
current line up, it surely would be better to have ex band members as guests, rather than roadies.
[Err,
what about ex-members Nik Turner, Del Dettmar and DikMik...?  All were roadies at first!]

-Paul Bluestone


I must take issue with the criticism of poor old Dibsy from a couple of your reviewers.

1. This was perhaps the best Hawkwind gig I've seen, and I include the Calvert years. The production,
precision, performance and pyrotechnic light so made it (ok - that's all the alliteration), along with the
inspired selection of material.

2. Dibs is used to performing these songs with his own band, and in my view delivered the songs tunefully,
powerfully and competently.

3. Dibs is a formidable bass player. I came to this conclusion when I saw him in Buxton recently. He can
march his fingers up and down the fretboard with the rest of them.

4. Hawkwind has been called 'the people's band'. What can be more democratic than having your roadies
on to do a turn?

5. Hawkwind has always been a revolving door for musicians, bringing in old performers and friends such
as Keith Kniveton on a whim. I see no qualitative difference to this policy and letting Dibs and Keith have
a go.

6. Keith B is also a fine and enthusiastic musician.

7. These two guys are two of the most pleasant troupers you would wish to meet; they have no airs, are
genuinely in love with the music and do their best to give the optimum performance.

Regards

Tom

No argument from me on the specifics of the gig that I caught on this tour: Mr.Dibs did excellently in
singing the numbers that he tackled during Hawkwind's set...more to follow as regards my own review.

Below: L-R Alan Davey, Richard Chadwick, Dave Brock, on stage at Birkenhead (photo: Nick Lee)
the synth player although making some nice spacey
sounds, was hidden behind two laptops.

Dumpy got up with them for Brainstorm and he
seemed to be playing some nice lead, going by his
finger movements, only problem was his amp was
so low, nobody could hear him. Shame as he can
play the guitar, and I wish he had supported tonight
instead of Spacehead. Dumpy I notice is supporting
at all the other gigs on the tour.  [Birkenhead and
Manchester only, I think]  All in all, Mr Dibs apart,
it was a great night. Now for me what would be a
good
support would be Huw Lloyd Langton, either
Above: Green pic by Nick
I attended both the Birkenhead and Manchester shows and was highly impressed.  Birkenhead was the
usual cosy venue and the band gave a good account of themselves, but when I got to Manchester I was
surprised at the size of the crowd which to say the least was lively.  The venue was bigger so the light
show had more effect and the sound was crystal clear.  The lads were enjoying themselves and played a
set that had changed quite a bit.  It was great to hear Love in Space, Upside Down, 7 by 7 and Psi Power
again.  The standout new ones were Greenback Massacre which really rocked and Angela Android which
has been elongated already.  The dancers were the usual crew who gave some interesting interpretations
of some songs.  The band do seem rejuvenated of late and are as good as ever.  I don't know whether age
is creeping up but Dave sat down quite a bit, which I thought was quite funny...

Hope this is of use and of course made you jealous

-Tim Belfield


I was lucky enough to be present at the Manchester academy on Friday. I thought that the Sheffield
Corporation gig was good but this one simply blew it out of the water. I travelled for 5 hours to get there
but after a few ales with some veteran Hawkfans in a nearby bar it was plain that this Night of the Hawks
was going to be one to remember. The crowd was animated to say the least and the set list excellent. I
have been following the band for 25 years and had never heard Upside Down or Psi Power played live
before. My party was made up of Hawkfans who had been in the fold for over 25 years (although Mark
from Germany had not seen them since 1980) but it was a special evening as I had not seen some of the
gang for 15 years (cheers Fred, Grim and Gareth!).

The band were certainly up for this one and played throughout with a new found energy, the highlights for
me being Upside Down, Psi Power and Seven By Seven but that is not to say that the remainder was not
outstanding...it certainly was and a thoroughly entertaining night was had by all, tour shirts all round sir!!
Welcome to the future.

-Rhodri
Left & below: Nick Lee's shots from Manchester
Simply wonderful, as usual.  I had a great view from the balcony and arriving right on time was
thoroughly entertained by both Spacehead and then Man.  Hawkwind warm-up bands never fail to
disappoint; but what a treat watching Man again.  The last time I saw them was at Kingston Poly in 1972,
I think.  Thought they had long gone!  Then on to Hawkwind, wow, great lights, great stage set up and as
always top-drawer music. I missed about 20 years of Hawkwind in the 80s / 90s (must have been mad)
but getting back into them in the late 90s at Shepherd's Bush was definitely a good move.  I live overseas
now but manage to catch a show about once a year with my other half Alison and just love them.

I won't go through all their numbers on the night but Assassins of Allah and Spirit of the Age were
electrifying, somewhat better than some of their newer stuff.  I am looking forward to next year and as I
now live in Germany am hoping to see them in Holland, sometime in April, at an outdoor fest - this will
take me back to where it all started for me at a Windsor Free Fest, back in the early 70s.

Keep on rocking, there's years left in the old boys yet!

-Mike Fulker


The doors opened promptly at 7.00 and I reached the balcony in time to catch Spacehead's short and
rather perfunctory set, played to a sparse crowd. Nothing sounds much like a song and only the closing â
€œDark Star"really gels. By the time Man appear at 7.45, the venue has filled up. I admit to knowing
nothing about Man, aside from the name but first impression is that they are currently Man and four boys.
Surely only the avuncular old mutton-chopped bass player and singer can have seen any service with them
in the 70s. However, they don't take long to win the crowd over with their blues/folk/rock. The last track
in particular really hits a groove and 45 minutes passes very quickly.

There is a certain amount of moving things around on stage, although the Hawk's equipment is pretty
much all in place already. Alan is there at his computer. His computer, keyboard and downward pointing
mic are all stage left. Dave's workstation (with familiar drape) and mic stand are towards the right, with
Jason's keyboard on the far right. There are two extra mic stands between Alan and Dave's positions, one
with the mic low down and one high up. Look like we're going to see Jez Huggett at some point and
probably Mr Dibs too...¦ It would be nice to see some of the old boys again (Tim Blake, Harvey, Simon
House, Huw, even Arthur Brown) but I guess that isn't on the cards at present.  

Just after 9.00 the lights go down. The set kicks off with "The Right Stuff". Four Hawks on stage,
obviously enjoying themselves. Dave looks quite debonair in a jacket instead of his usual lab coat.  
Unfortunately, the sound up in the balcony is rubbish - a muddy sludge. They slow things down for the
second verse (shades of the lounge act!) but the new arrangement works well. The familiar carrion crow
visuals herald "Sword Of The East", quickly followed by "Greenback Massacre". So far, all competent but
rather unexciting. The first highlight comes next: "Seven By Seven" with Dave in excellent vocal form, Jez
playing (mostly inaudible) flute and Dibs coming on to recite the spoken part in the middle. Then "Out Here
Are We" slows things down again. Some of the brass fills are taped but Jez also adds some live sax.

"Angela Android" is next, Richard's vocals rather lost in the mix. Two dancers at the front of stage get into
a clinch at appropriate intervals during the song! A good version of "Love In Space" follows - Dave on
guitar and vocals. The evening's second highlight, "Lord Of Light", is up next. As the smoke cleared, I
was disappointed to see Dibs step up to the mic instead of Dave but, all credit to him, he belts out the song
brilliantly (even if he seemed to get a bit lost on the "What can I see?", "What can it be?", etc chants in the
middle). Then the real highlight of the night, a brilliant performance of "Paradox". Jason's piano is
prominent, the sound sharp and Brock's vocals superb.

Tension released, a singalong "Spirit Of The Age" follows, Dave doing his standard, definitely wrong,
version of the lyrics and looking supremely relaxed. "Do you know what the next song is?" Alan asks the
crowd and, from Alan's reaction, someone in front obviously gets the hint. Taped whispered voices start
up and the band slips into "Psi Power". Dave's singing is spot on (and he gets the lyrics right), the
arrangement sticks pretty faithfully to the original and only a poor mix, with Jason's keyboards buried,
makes this less than perfect.

Jez wanders back on stage for "Assassins of Allah"/"Space Is Their Palestine". Despite this being played to
death in recent years it isn't bad and the dancers provide some colour: two winged females and a male
demon (recycled from last year). As usual the dancers add an air of amateur dramatics to the performance
but, there again, for a Christmas concert it all adds to the enjoyment.

The main set ends with "Brainstorm" / "Upside Down" / "Brainstorm", with Dibs singing "Upside Down"  
and again acquitting himself well. As throughout the set, the lightshow is excellent; the performance shit
hot.

The encore kicks off with "Psychedelic Warlords"; Dave by now in tee-shirt, having dispensed with his
jacket. As the sound dies down, Matthew Wright wanders on stage and announces the "surprise"
appearance of the head of Voiceprint to hand out gold records to each member of the band for sales of â
€œTake Me To Your Leader". This job done, Dave then announces that Mr Wright too is being awarded a
gold record, which is handed out by a huge bloke with a moustache (Who was he? He looked a bit like
Martin Griffin
[That is indeed who it was]). Finally, a storming version of "Brainbox Pollution", with Keith
Barton joining in on second guitar, Jez Hugget on prominent sax, and Mr Dibs on additional vocals. The
sound mix good, the dancers back out. An excellent end to a good concert: well-chosen set, relaxed
performances. They may be closer to the end of their career than the beginning but they don't look like
slowing down!

-Graham P
I have to own up to taking the London pics......
On the left, what I was going for was a motion
study of the protagonists in the centre of the stage,
but what I actually got was a blurred Jex Huggett
and Mr.Chadwick...