Birmingham Symphony Hall
Concerns had been raised that given the horrible album and unhappiness in Captain Brock’s starship, these orchestra concerts would be a creative and commercial flop. Not at all; live, this was Hawkwind doing what they do best, with a few orchestral flourishes and sweeps to replace the synths, with a spectacular laser show and slyly witty back projections (the “Sonic Attack” sequence, done like a public information film, was perfect). It wasn’t loud enough for me, but I think it was a good call sonically, as you could hear everything, including the lyrics that brought me back to reading “Science Fiction Monthly” and having Bruce Pennington pictures on my walls in the years before self-abuse and cool. The new band members (Dibs having left due to irreconcilable musical differences) did a good job, with the new bassist wisely adopting the middle name, “Rickenbacker”, and living up to this. Mike Batt was channelling Jocky Wilson, if his shirt was to be anything to judge by. Given the jocularity amongst the band, I reckon he could have got away with a bar of a Wombles song. If only he’d been involved with “The Clangers” – that would have been even more perfect.
Failed clones of Bill Bailey, more than a few Tommy Saxondales n’ Mags couples, dodgy geezers sneaking bifters outside the hall, and sensible chaps who caught the eye of other sensible chaps and hoped they would not be recognised in the Senior Common Room or the barristers chambers, let alone a sticky-floored rock pub. One or two people who might have been known as hippies once.
It made me think..
Hawkwind are 50 years old next year, and Dave Brock is 78. We really won’t see their like again. I can’t take seriously anyone who likes music who doesn’t at least appreciate them for what they are, even if it’s not their sort of thing.