|Hawkwind 1997 Video CD review
Many thanks to John-Paul for this review!
My FiancÃ©e got me a copy of the Hawkwind Video CD â€œLive At The Cubby Bear Chicago 1997â€�.
Itâ€™s an amateur production but the sound is good and although itâ€™s filmed using only one camera, the
lights (by the Solar Fire Lightshow) make this quite watchable. Itâ€™s a twin-disc affair (the CDâ€™s
themselves look like CDRâ€™s) packaged in single case with a colourful sleeve and track listing on the
back. Being a Video CD, which is something of an unusual format, you should be able to play it on any
computerâ€™s CD drive, and thereâ€™s a good chance that most DVD players will handle it OK. (Mine
Even though this is an unofficial release, I feel itâ€™s a must-have for the fact that nowhere else on film
(yet) can you see this line-up: Brock, Chadwick, Richards and Tree.
CD 1 starts with animation of a flying saucer to the strains of Earth Calling (the original Space Ritual Alive
version) then the gig proper starts. The static camera is set centrally about twenty rows back with an
annoying graphic around the screen - like youâ€™re looking through a catâ€™s eye.
Wheels follows and a good version it is too, with great spoken lyrics in the middle from the Captain; his
voice is well up in the mix which is another good point, but Jerryâ€™s guitar is a bit quiet. The lightshow
is good on this (and all the other songs) - itâ€™s just a pity about the silly graphic around the screen.
Next up is Warriors - the poem, ably spoken by Ron, which goes straight into a stonking version of Assault
& Battery / Golden Void with some excellent, if rather quiet, lead guitar by Jerry.
After a load of spiel about coming from the country and being a green man (?) the lads give us Assassins Of
Allah with the twiddly bit (Space Is Their Palestine) in the middle. Ron does the vocals but he isnâ€™t a
patch on Mr Davey IMHO - although his bass playing is good. The camera zooms and pans giving us close-
up glimpses of the band but as usual Dave is hiding behind his keyboards.
Alchemy is next up phased in by Ron reciting the old â€œCockpit Checkâ€� piece. This would be a lot
better if Jerryâ€™s guitar was louder.
Mr. Brock then gives us a fabulous rendition of Love In Space with just enough echo on his voice IMHO -
sweet. No pause this time, just a countdown from ten by Ron and weâ€™re into Aerospaceage Inferno.
Ronâ€™s voice is similar to Calvertâ€™s: not as strong, but this is not a bad effort. Dave then launches
straight into Sonic Attack helped manically by Ron. Lots of echo, whooshes, drum rolls, shouts, screams
and other unworldly sounds, fantastic. Itâ€™s Ronâ€™s turn next with Blue Skin, this is a great song and
a good opportunity for Ron to use his punky style voice.
Itâ€™s time to insert disc two, which kicks off with Brainstorm, and not a bad version too. A brief bass
solo before the â€œthis is itâ€� refrain slows the music down and into The Camera That Could Lie. I
donâ€™t know why but Hawkwind do reggae really well IMHO and this is no exception. Back into
Brainstorm with the â€œthis is itâ€� refrain, one last chorus and then the finish and into Alien I Am. This
is really different to any other version Iâ€™ve heard with Dave singing the verse over Ron repeatedly
chanting the â€œMy heart is softenedâ€� lyric and a very minimalist musical backing. Reptoid Vision is
next and very good it is too with Ronâ€™s crazy vocals, strobes and Jerryâ€™s guitar which you can now
hear, and thatâ€™s it for the main part of the set.
The encore then starts with Ejection, sung really well by Ron, as the song begins the picture goes fuzzy and
weâ€™re back to the flying saucer from the opening of the VCD and you feel the end must be nighâ€¦sure
enough, after another brief glimpse of the band itâ€™s all over.
All in all quite a good gig and interesting for some early versions of some songs. Itâ€™s a little spoilt by
having only the one camera but the music is good enough to hold your interest. Come on Hawkwind,
release some more film footage and keep us all happy!