|December 2007 Tour
Fellow Hairy-Arsed Hawkwind Fans' gig reviews and photos - contributions gladly accepted! Please
email me here to add to the page.
Many thanks to all whose reviews and / or photos appear here
Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall 12/12/2007
I was at the Hawkwind gig last night at Wolverhampton... There were a few technical problems that
seemed to delay the start, with the band hanging around on stage waiting. Eventually the band kicked off
the set with The Black Corridor, with Mr Dibs on lead vocals.
It seemed to take a few numbers before the band seemed to really get going. Technical problems appeared
to continue, with Dave switching from his Westone to a Les Paul for a while.
Not much from Space Ritual was played â€“ the possible highlight being a very strong Time We Left with
Mr Dibs delivering a great bass part. Other highlights were Utopia, Paradox and a very good Silver
It was a strong performance, but did not seem to flow as well as usual. Tim and Mr Dibs were very much
out front, whereas Dave stayed behind his rig most of the night. I'm not sure whether it was just because
this was the first night or because of the technical problems. Anyway I will find out next week at the
|Above: pic by Steve Barlow
I couldn't agree more. That was a fantastic set.
Dibs delivered superb lead vocals on a couple of tracks, Dave sang Lighthouse (Tim had no mic) and
Richard led or co-led on Aerospaceage Inferno and Silver Machine, IIRC. Brief highlights included Space
Love (or Space Rock? - a new one sung by all but led by Dave, I think)...an orgasmic Paradox, the best
version of Robot I've heard them play this century, an utterly sublime Lighthouse. Damnation Alley was
utterly fantastic, Sonic Attack was *sung* by Dibs and worked very well IMHO.
Other points of interest - Orgone Accumulator had You Know You're Only Dreaming in the middle section.
Dibs handled the vocals on Abducted and The Awakening, and there were some new words sung to what
sounded a bit like Death Trap. Welcome To The Future was sung by Dave a bit like the way he does
The encores, Flying Doctor and Silver Machine, were both mind blowing, especially the latter.
The only excuses for missing what promises to be (again) one of the best tours yet are that the rapture
occurred and you were one of the elect, or you were extraordinarily renditioned, and you're reading this on
your waterboarding break.
Highlights were Damnation Alley, Sonic Attack, a melodious version of Welcome to the Future, Orgone
Accumulator, Robot and many more. All this was backed by a fine set of films from the ever excellent
Chaos Illuminations. And well done Dibs - front man centric. Tim Blake looked like he was conjuring
demons with that theremin.
It was the 70's in the 00's with better technology - good mix, excellent drumming, classic keys, plaintive
solos. Led Zebedee? Jimmy who? Robert what? When they can do what went on in Wolverhampton last
night continuously for 38 years, THEN they should be on Radio 4.
Holmfirth Picturedrome 13/12/2007
It was the first time I had been to Holmfirth Picturedrome to see a gig, but it won't be the last. Apart
from the massive lack of toilet facilities it is an excellent little venue with good all round views of the
stage and great acoustics. As for Hawkwind themselves, well, they were brilliant, I have been going to
see them since 1982 and this concert was right up there. They were tight, energetic and most of all they
all looked like they were enjoying themselves. Tim Blake is always great value and looks as mad as a
march hare which is just right for the band. Mr.Dibs is a worthy replacement for Alan and his vocal
style fits right in, especially on the mid-seventies material. Richard was breathtaking on drums, probably
the best Hawkwind drumming I have heard since Simon King, and his vocal parts are good, too. Jason's
keyboards were more noticeable in the mix this time and it is obvious he has enormous talent, with some
great ivory tinkling. Dave stayed behind his keyboards which is a bit of a shame but his lead guitaring
gets better and better.
Now having said all that, with only one new song "Space Love" (?) have the Hawks in fact become a
tribute of themselves as someone recently said... The regurgitation of old songs has been going on some
time now. I know they play about with them as they did with "Sonic Attack" and "Welcome To The
Future" on Thursday, which I have to say were super renditions especially Mr.Dibs' vocals on "Sonic"
and the dancers each side of the stage dressed like air stewards holding placards saying things like "Do
Not Panic". I recall a "Sounds" (music paper) reporter once described the songs on the '79 tour as
"bastardisations of the originals" and I think this is true. I'm not saying the songs don't sound good, they
do, and with modern technology they sometimes sound as fresh as when they were first played, but new
ones would sound better. I think each present member of Hawkwind is at least as talented as Mr.Turner
and his crew and they have managed to release a superb new album and take it on tour. Come on Dave
and co., give us some new stuff. Anyway, to sum up; spectacular gig, stunning lightshow, old songs.
Exeter Phoenix 15/12/2007
As promised photos from Exeter last night 15th
December 2007. Fantastic show with Tim Blake
and Dibs fitting in nicely. Brockie as ever difficult
to catch on camera but I got a few. Hope you like
-Bryan (who took the next 6 photos from Exeter)
It was a good gig last night. The venue was packed, it
was hot and sweaty, with no room to move. Which
didn't help my claustrophobia at all, but there was sufficient room to help avoid getting all freaked out.
The sound was very clear, and it was good to hear Richard's drums. Tim's theremin was wonderful,
though could have been a tad louder for me, especially the bassier notes, as I suspect we could have got
quite a lot of subsonic noise, which would have shaken the place (he he he he)... And the projections
were all new to me, as far as I could tell. Nice dancing, and backdrops, and there was a great deep
grunting sound coming from Dibs' bass, clearer and more punchy than Alan's Lemmy tribute from the
last few tours - more Adrian Shaw than Lemmy.
Damnation Alley, Orgone Accumulator and Paradox were terrific, but Robot was just superb... the band
seemed to be suffering from various colds & flu's... get well chaps.
Oh, and they played Flying Doctor! Last time I saw Hawkwind in Exeter was at St David's Hall about 20
years ago, when they played for the Satan's Slaves (Motorcycle Club) and I asked Harvey (at midnight, in
the motorway services the night before the gig) if there was any chance they could play it , and sure
enough they did. Wonderful!
|Going clockwise from above: dancer with Jason in
the background, Dave, Tim Blake & Mr. Dibs
Same gig, different reviewer...the following text and photos are courtesy of TangledWoof...
Well, another December, another Hawkwind gig. Flew from Glasgow to Bristol on Saturday morning,
picked up by taxi and spent the rest of the morning in the company of a pair of voracious vegetarians. I
ate all their food, all the while bemoaning that it would have been better deep-fried in batter (I am Scottish
after all), but to no avail. Chatted some, talked about how good Father Ted is, then went for a good
walk. Some time passed and we made it to Exeter, where it was very, very cold. We went to the
Phoenix and picked up my ticket, then went for some grub, then went back to the venue for some chat
with Alan and Ian and had a few words with Nick Lee and Keith Henderson. Also picked up my Magna
DVD. In the foyer there was a guy being escorted from the venue who, frankly, was in a bit of a state.
We had to be on our toes to dodge his projectile vomiting as he went past. I blame the cider. I would
never get myself into such a state, ahem...
Show time. I'm pretty well convinced that when it comes to Hawkwind, I'm easy pleased. There were
elements of the show that I didn't care for, but all in all, I was hugely entertained and I loved the
experience, which is how it should be. And there were plenty of surprises. I had my camera so I took
lots of pictures, without caring much for the quality but knowing that if I take enough pics, at least some
are going to turn out well, and they all proved to be a great reminder of the show.
First up we were treated to a Krel animation not sure what it was all about because I wasn't really paying
attention, but it looked great. The new backdrops also looked nice, with the Space Ritual cats.
The best bits of the show for me, in no particular order, were...
...Dibs did a great job...there was a time when I dreaded his presence on bass (mostly 'cos I can't stand
Spacehead and that godawful Standing at the Edge of the Universe song) but I've grown to like him. It's
a shame that Alan's gone because he was a real driver behind Hawkwind but some of Dibs' stuff is
refreshing to hear, basically because itâ€™s different.
...Tim Blake. When I heard we were getting theremin at the show, I thought 'great' but then I though
boo, it'll probably be a mess. But Tim did us proud. He did his theremin-y bits really well with my only
criticism being that it wasn't loud enough. It was just wonderful when he did the rising weeeeeeeee noise
into the 2nd verse of Masters of the Universe. Which is what we all love Hawkwind for and it was a joy
to hear. And as well as that, he made a great front man, doing all his loony stuff, although with his
sleeveless top on and his oh-so-dramatic playing of the theremin, I do have rather a lot of photos of his
armpits. Not sure what his other keyboard sounded like.
Sonic Attack was actually enjoyable, from the blistering black and white stars in the lightshow and the
reworked music. The dancers had wheels (relevant!) and were dressed as clownish air steward(esse)s
and had painted table tennis bats with glo-sticks crudely taped to them! That and the painted "Do not
Panic" signs though one said "Don't panic". Marks
off for that one, chaps. Only at a Hawkwind
gig... I thought it was great anyway.
Space Rock/Love/Whatever had a good old Hawkwindy sound to it but the words were, well, I laughed
my arse off at them. Sorry guys but this isn't progress.
Damnation Alley was the mutt's nuts. It was fabulous. I think part of the problem with Hawkwind and
these comments by Alan Davey saying that they sound like a tribute/karaoke band is that Hawkwind kept
progressing with their sound and constantly reinvented songs, perhaps due to a basic drive to change but
more because of the ever changing line-ups. On the other hand, tribute bands are often very
accomplished musicians who try to recreate the sound. So when Hawkwind come out and play an old
tune like Damnation Alley and it sounds as good as this, inevitably you draw parallels between the two. It
kind of echo's Brock and Tait's interview that came with the Hawkwind Log Book thingy where they said
of tribute bands something like "f*ckin hell, they sound more like us than we do.".
Flying Doctor was fun, and the lightshow was on warp factor 9 by this point, with lots of green blobs
coming at us.
Aerospaceage Inferno is never one of my favourites but we had Tim there to entertain us on the theremin
and it was great to sing along to.
Robot, again, not one of my faves, but this version was very good and the robot performers were good
Alien (I Am) was the big surprise of the night, great to hear Brock picking out the melody on his guitar.
Arrival in Utopia was great too, I really like the lightshow on this one, nice and colourful.
Silver Machine I also enjoyed immensely. It seemed like Richard's drumming was harder than usual
throughout the show, but I noticed it especially in this version of SM. I think they played it a little slower
than normal but it had that thumping bass (or whatever) drum quality to it like Simon King played it 35
And then the show was over. Back to Bristol, 4 hours sleep then taxi back to the airport for the early
flight back to Glasgow.
This was an absolutely brilliant show. The venue was rammed, and the band were really on form. The
sound and lighting were incredibly good. 'Man Of The Match' award goes to Mr Dibs â€“ amazing vocals
and bass... And there were lots of cameras dotted around filming the whole thing. I canâ€™t wait for the
P.S. Same set as Wolverhampton! -Steve Barlow (who also took the following pics)
London Astoria 19/12/2007
from Spacehead, who I'd seen supporting Hawkwind a couple of times, and didn't rate at all. I'd warmed
to him a little more when he did a couple of guest spots on vocals at the aforementioned 2005 Xmas
show, but his promotion to full-time band member just seemed like another big step towards the band
becoming an inferior imitation of itself.
Well, Dibs old chap, if you're reading this - well done for proving me (and, I suspect, quite a few other
people) wrong. Yes - in footballing parlance, the boy done good. Different style of bass playing to Alan,
but sounded good and powerful, and it turns out he's a much better singer than I could possibly have
imagined from his Spacehead days- in particular (and speaking as a major devotee of Bob Calvert's lyrics
and vocals), I'm pleasantly surprised by his ability to sing the Calvert songs: weighing the words nicely,
and putting the emphasis in the right places (something Great Uncle Brock has often been unaccountably
bad at) without trying too hard to imitate Bob's unique phrasings.
Admittedly, it did take a while to feel convinced- "The Black Corridor"/"Aerospaceage Inferno" opener
sounded sterile and perfunctory, and left me cold. Then they played what I assume is (gasp) a new song.
It was poppy and catchy (I've long felt that Hawkwind have always done a nice little sideline in poppier
stuff. It's probably for the best that it's not a seam they've mined very often- but still, from the Famous
Hit Single (of which more anon) to "Right To Decide", they've turned out some fair toe-tappers) but the
chorus of (ahem) "I want some of your space love baby" had the doubts creeping in again. Then there
was an instrumental (was it part of "Take Me To Your Leader"? Or was it more new stuff? I'm not sure)
the words to "The Awakening" tacked on unconvincingly at the end, and by this point of the set I was
feeling it was all a bit ho-hum. But matters improved with "Orgone Accumulator"- now, this is one of my
very favourite Hawkwind tracks, but when they played it last year, the new speeded-up arrangement
sounded atrocious, a failing compounded on that occasion by a serious Failure To Jam in the middle
section- well, tonight they were still playing the uptempo version, but it sounded a whole lot better, and
then in the middle Tim did some fancy theremin stuff, they threw in a couple of verses of "Only
Dreaming", and by the time they got back to the main theme, the band was seriously cooking and the
spaceship Hawkwind was unmistakably airborne. Hurrah!
So as usual, I wavered about attending the annual
Yuletide (or should that be winter solstice) show. In
fact this year I wavered rather more than usual: I'd
seen the band at the equivalent gig last year, a very
hit-and-miss affair, and soon after that, it emerged
that Alan Davey had left and that Dibs was the new
bassist. This news, to put it politely, did not enthuse
me. Alan Davey, whatever his limitations, was a
quality bass player and had been the engine of the
live sound for years. Dibs, on the other hand, I knew
Tim was alternating between the theremin- which sounded great and allowed for a rather more improvised
feel than we've become used to (in fact the tyranny of the samplers/computers/click tracks was rather
less in evidence tonight than has tended to be the case in recent years)- and some sort of keyboard-guitar
thing, which certainly looked very groovy but I really wasn't sure I could hear any sound from it,
and I even wondered if someone had forgotten to plug it in. Having said that, the sound overall was
generally full, rich and soupy, just like Hawkwind should be, so presumably it was in there somewhere. But
the theremin - have Hawkwind ever used one before? If not, why not? It's made for them. Not only does
it sound quintessentially Hawkish, it even looks like a prop from a 1950s sc-fi movie. (Talking of the
visuals, the dancers/mime artists were, in a major break with Hawkwind tradition, actually *quite good*. I
wouldn't put it any more strongly than "quite good", but even that was a very pleasant surprise after some
of the embarrassment we've had to endure in this department over the last few years. I might even go as
far as saying that they actually added something to the show).
Anyway, after that there were a number of highlights, including an excellent bass-heavy rendition of
"Robot" which was a million times better than the mess they made of this song last year, but the summit-
that Total Hawkwind Moment, that warp-factor peak experience we go to these gigs for- was the double
whammy of "Master of the Universe" and "Time We Left" - an inspired segue, allowing the band to
combine maximum heaviness with psychedelic meltdown as only they can. The rest of the set - being
picky, I'd say "Lighthouse" was far from the best I've heard it, but "Damnation Alley" was rip-roaring, and
this is where it really struck me that Dibs can sing the Calvert stuff rather well. Then there was the new
version of "Sonic Attack" with the lyrics being sung (well, sort of) rather than intoned- this might sound
like sacrilege, but it sounded convincing, and the edgy riffing that accompanied the vocals was a
promising sign of how this line-up might sound if and when they turn out new material. "Welcome to the
Future" was also sung rather than spoken, but this didn't work as well, and was in truth a slightly
anti-climactic ending to the main set. Still, by this time I was completely won over, and didn't care.
The encores: an enjoyable romp through "Flying Doctor", and then the Famous Hit Single. Like, I suspect,
many Hawkwind devotees, I'm a bit ambivalent about "Silver Machine", indeed I rather like the fact that
they don't play it live that often, but I must say it sounded absolutely storming tonight and the massed
singalong of the faithful was a genuinely uplifting and celebratory moment. Against all odds, the spaceship
appears to be back on course.
First, some context: I'm one of those (I'm sure there must be others) who loved Hawkwind with a
passion in the glory years, and has viewed their continued existence into the 21st century with a
sometimes uneasy mixture of affection and scepticism. For me, latterday Hawk-matters hit a remarkable
high point circa 2001, when the Brock/Davey/Chadwick triumvirate were augmented by returning old
hands Simon House (one of my very favourite players in the saga of Hawkwind) and Huw
Lloyd-Langton- that was a stellar band which, unlike some of the 90s line-ups, felt and sounded like the
Real Thing. But, of course, it didn't last, and since then the band have relied on live sets packed with old
material and, despite some outrageously enjoyable gigs (the 2005 Xmas show was a particular highlight),
the feeling that they were turning into their own tribute band was never far away.
Continuing with reviews of the Astoria gig, the succeeding photos are all (c) John Chase 2007....
Really enjoyed it - have to say I was one of the biggest sceptics re: Mr.Dibs but I thought he did
excellently last night. His sound is not quite as full and fat as Alan's but I do prefer his vocals - and Iâ
€™m not sorry to see the back of Greenback Massacre either! Paradox was brilliant, as was Master,
Time We Left, Utopia and Damnation Alley. I would have liked to have heard Lord of Light, Down
Through The Night or Born To Go, but you can't have everything. The band looked pretty happy,
irrespective of the germs they said they were harbouring! Tim was a very welcome addition and the
sound seemed very full and, dare I say it, not quite as clinically reliant on the computer programmes as
previously? Dunno, one got the feeling they could have just gone off jamming at a tangent if they'd
I thought the bass could've been raised in the mix a bit, it seemed to get reduced after about half the gig.
I was downstairs throughout, dead centre and about midway between the stage and the mixing desk â€“
the sound was good, though I did wonder if Tim switched off accidentally at one point.
Utterly jam packed venue last night: lots and lots of appreciative noise from the crowd, great atmosphere,
fab sound where I was stood (near the mixing desk - kick drum not overloading my poor old ears, crisp
clear bassâ€¦) Dave's guitar was coming over loud and clear when he wanted it to, with great solos
throughout. Paradox springs to mind as being orgasmic.
Great vocals from both Richard (especially Silver Machine) and Mr.Dibs (his improvisational rant in the
middle of Flying Doctor was excellent). As a rhythm section I find them refreshing and uplifting as they
fit in with the songs rather than dominating them. Orgone Accumulator for instance seemed to gallop
along more like it used to than the punky feel it's had recently, as did Robot (which was a highlight for me
Tim has added a welcome new dimension to the overall sound, playing his guitar-keyboard thingy more
than at Wolverhampton (doing the solo on Master Of The Universe, IIRC), sonically assaulting us with his
brilliant theremin work, and even doing the vocals at the start of Lighthouse before Dave took over for the
song proper. Jason's keyboards sat a bit further back in the mix than they had been last year / earlier this
year, so they were still quite audible but left room for others to shine through.
The lightshow seemed different last night. Good, but different. I didn't spot the films and spacey images
I've seen before but that may just have been me not looking properly... And there were at least 2
professional looking cameras that I could see so maybe there's another Passport Holders' DVD in the
Last night was a real stonker, rammed to capacity and also being videoed by a 12 camera team. Rob
Ayling was spotted at the soundcheck so watch out/beware! Still not sure about the raffia-covered
dancers at times, although they were very professional: I like my Hawkwind dark and dramatic, so
waving bicycle wheels around during Sonic Attack raised a few eyebrows.
It was nice that we have at last escaped the curse of Assassins Of Allah and Spirit of the Age, which
have been dropped from the set, great songs but I'm tired of hearing them. Instead we had a rousing
version of Alien I Am, preceded by Abducted. Great versions of Robot, and Orgone Accumulator...but
the ending seemed to fall a bit flat with Welcome to the Future, the crowd were desperate for more...and
even the house lights man seemed to think they'd come back on after Silver Machine. Although it should
be pointed out that Dave Brock had just spent the last 3 days in bed with flu, and the gig was very nearly
cancelled, so we should be grateful.
I preferred the Astoria gig to last yearâ€™s,
especially the increased use of Richard on vocals and
Timâ€™s theremin. Favourite number on the night
was Robot and least favourite Damnation Alley. Very
balanced set and good to see Alien material used â€“
could have been more considering it was Space
Night. Dancerâ€™s costumes much better and far
less childish than last year. The worst aspect of the
show was the support â€“ Prime Sinister who I had
fortunately missed at Hawkfest due to watching a
band on the other stage. As someone else has
mentioned they were tedious and I couldnâ€™t wait
until they had finished.
Eagerly looking forward to the concert and having seen the set list already knew that there were some
favourites in there. Doors opened and got a good position up in the balcony which gave an excellent view
of the stage and the screen. Support act okay if you are into that sort of thing but personally found it
repetitive and boring.
As 9 oâ€™clock approached you could feel the excitement and expectation rise for what was to be one of
the great performances. Same set that has been listed for the previous concerts. The addition of Dibs and
Tim Blake certainly made a difference. Dibs, in my mind, does not drive the band as hard as Alan did and
this leaves more space for others to fill in and what a job Jason and Tim did of filling in. Both were superb
but special mention to Tim for the theremin work. Richard as always was good and solid which only
leaves Dave. The Captain put in a sterling performance with some outstanding work on Paradox, Alien I
Am and Masters Of The Universe.
Paradox and MotU took the band to a new level that I have not seen them achieve for some time. They
together with magnificent lights form Chaos Illumination were absolutely stunning. Space Love sounds like
classic Hawkwind with the Captainâ€™s voice and guitar in great form.
On the downside, while I liked this rendition of Welcome To The Future, I do not think that it was a
version to finish on. The old arrangement where it reaches a great crescendo finishes a concert on a high.
This version I felt left something out at the end and should maybe have finished in the old style. Minor
quibble, nothing else.
Encore time: Flying Doctor was OK but Silver Machine was just astounding â€“ possibly the best version
that they have ever played. Crowd were genuinely disappointed that there was only one encore.
There have been some suggestions that the band have become a tribute to themselves. I think that is a load
of rubbish and if tonight was a tribute, then give me more. This was one of the great performances that I
have seen in the past 35 years - musically and visually superb. Produce an album to the standard of Space
Love and they will reach a new level.
Incidentally the show was captured on video â€“ canâ€™t wait!
Space Night wasnÂ´t quite all it was cracked up to be but it was still well worth the effort, eventually.
The crowd queuing outside was good-humoured and expectations were high (at least, mine were) but the
shabby interior of the Astoria and the almost complete absence of any sign of Hawkwind-related activity
rather dampened my enthusiasm. Down in the bar, T-shirts were on sale, along with the Magna DVD.
The support band, Prime Sinister, appeared on schedule at around 7.45. A death metal trio, their lumpen
sledgehammer sound, gargled vocals and simian posing (guitars hung at knee level, legs splayed, hair
flying) was simply not very welcome. Towards the end of what felt like a very long set, occasional
flashes of slick guitar work and slightly less lumpy grooves relieved the tedium but I wasnÂ´t tempted to
buy their CD. Not one of the better support acts.
The stage was quickly cleared - it was notable that Dibs was not out front fixing the equipment so his
promotion is presumably official by now. The Hawks appeared on schedule at 9.00pm. The set was
sparsely decorated, with even Mr BrockÂ´s psychedelic tablecloth absent (and replaced by Christmas
lights). Dibs took up station on the left, Jason and keyboards were on the right and Richard was centre
stage at the back. Dave BrockÂ´s rig was next to and slightly behind JasonÂ´s. Tim Blake, resplendent in
black sleeveless tee-shirt and white strap-on keyboard, stood (or more often pranced around, apparently
convinced he was on stage with Van Halen) next to Dibs. The gadget in front of Tim turned out to be a
theremin, which he â€œplayedâ€� (visible only as expansive hand gestures from the back of the hall!)
frequently throughout the set, obtaining some authentic audio-generator sounds - indeed he plays more
theremin than keyboards. He also had a keyboard and monitor at the back of the stage but rarely visited
them. An extra microphone stand was placed stage centre but sadly seemed to be there only so that Tim
could add a few vocal asides during Lighthouse â€“ he basically didnÂ´t sing at all and there were no
guests. The backdrop was dominated by an excellent slideshow.
Dibs kicked off proceeding with a rendition of â€œThe Black Corridorâ€�, which was followed by â
€œAerospaceage Infernoâ€�. The sound was smooth (two keyboard players) and the presentation slick;
there was a lengthy spoken section, again handled by Dibs. This was followed by the only completely
new song, â€œSpace Loveâ€�, which was lively enough, with something of a blues flavour and some
suspiciously familiar lyrics. Only three tracks in and we got a taped instrumental (â€œSplashfinâ€�), with
dancers on stage while the band mainly stood around.
Dibs recited â€œThe Awakeningâ€� and the band blasted into a lively â€œOrgone Accumulatorâ€�,
sung by Dave. This had a section of â€œYou Know YouÂ´re Only Dreamingâ€� inserted, sung by Dave,
before returning to the final verse of â€œOrgoneâ€�. Slickly done but IÂ´d prefer complete songs to
JasonÂ´s piano introduction signalled a very fine â€œParadoxâ€�, although the a capella section (show-
cased nicely on the Magna DVD) was missing. Next up was â€œRobotâ€�, still not one of my favourites
presently but vastly improved over previous recent efforts (including the one on the Magna DVD), with a
fuller sound provided by the two keyboard players. Dave was, however, a bit unsure of the words and
was visibly referring to his lyric sheet from time to time. The dancers added little to this one, veering - as
they do sometimes - towards pantomime territory.
Dibs read â€œAbductionâ€� followed by a hugely welcome revival of â€œAlien I Amâ€�, visually also a
treat with two aliens on stilts roaming the stage. Dave really shone on this one with expressive vocals and
excellent guitar work. Still on a high, we got a ferocious â€œMaster Of The Universeâ€�, Dibs providing
the bass-only start to the second verse. However, the following â€œTime We Leftâ€� sounded brittle
and forced (much as Robot did on previous outings) and was also way too short. On the plus side, Dave
Brock was strolling around the stage and looking wholly relaxed.
Tim Blake took up position centre stage for â€œLighthouseâ€� and contributed to the vocals, but Dave
and Dibs carried the song. Initially uncertain, it finally hit some kind of groove. This was followed by a
near perfect â€œArrival In Utopiaâ€�, complete with a new spoken section, some entertaining acrobatics
from the dancers, and an instrumental quote from â€œParanoiaâ€�. The standard was maintained on â
€œDamnation Alleyâ€�, sung by Dibs and with Brock contributing a guitar solo. There was however by
now though a sense that the band, admittedly all suffering from flu, was winding down for the night.
â€œSonic Attackâ€� was certainly different. Dibs recited the first section, the dancers adding to the
visual spectacle by carrying, er, bicycle wheels, as well as placards saying â€œDo not panicâ€�, etc.
The second section was sung, to a new tune, and worked rather well. The main set closed with what I
can only describe as a lounge act version of â€œWelcome To The Futureâ€�, sung by Dave.
The band were quickly back for the expected encore, kicking off with an excellent â€œFlying Doctorâ
€�, sung by Dibs, and closing out with â€œSilver Machineâ€�, restored to its former glory and with
Richard taking lead vocals. It was only 10.40 and the band bids us goodnight. The house lights stayed
down for some minutes, leading everyone to expect a second encore but it never came.
This was a polished and professional set, with excellent lights and good sound. IÂ´m not saying Alan
isnÂ´t missed, because he is, but Dibs is already integral to the band sound (as is Jason obviously) and
has somewhat smoothed out the vocal mix. Tim BlakeÂ´s role is less clear but if nothing else he added
visual interest (not least by looking faintly ridiculous with his very 1980s strap-on keyboard) and helped
to fill out the sound. From the audience perspective, one of the most curious (and not entirely
unwelcome) differences this time around was that the venue was smoke free.
While a lot of work has gone into updating arrangements of old songs, the lack of new compositions was
still disappointing. Clearly thereÂ´s a reason for this, as Dave explained on the website, with the recent
death of both his parents. However, on the plus side, Brock senior lived to be 100 and IÂ´d like to think
that this means that we can look forward to another 30 years of Hawkwind (although I have to admit that
many of the audience, myself included, arenÂ´t likely to be around by then â€“ but weÂ´ll keep coming
back as long as we can).
BTW, after reviewing some of TangledWoofâ€™s photos from Exeter, it looked to me as if the back
projections werenâ€™t as expansive as usual. I asked Marie of Chaos Illumination if they had been
working under some kind of constraint there, and here is what she said by way of response:
â€œThe lens was changed for Exeter as it was a narrower projection area but this made the image a bit
too narrow. However, the wider lens would have been way too big and the images would have been lost.
Also, the in-house lighting was exceptionally poor as well with no space / option to rig our own lights as
seen on the Wolverhampton pics.
It was an interesting evening at the Astoria as due to work commitments, only I could make it with the
video, Neil and John were at home. However, Jasper (Colour Sound Experiments) did his usual excellent
job on the in house lights.â€�
That would be why Rob Dreamworker noticed a difference, then :-)