A very positive review even if their biggest hit was missing from the set!
Concert review by Robin Smith
HAWKWIND playing the Top Rank is like the Royal Philharmonic performing at the Rainbow. Something just doesn’t fit. But Reading’s home of baggy trousers, Rod Stewart haircuts and Brut aftershave didn’t deter the Hawkwind faithful.
Some seeds of change are growing in the band. The old mystique that made them so popular is being sprinkled with good old showmanship – largely by Robert Calvert, back in the fold again. Hawkwind are actually laughing on stage and a merry drum roll was played during an instrument change.
But they started out in traditional manner with ‘Assault and Battery’, a solid wall of sound interrupted briefly with some flute work, from Nik Turner. `Steppenwolf` ringed the changes for the band. It had an almost funky feel and Calvert pranced around singing like a cross between Ferry and Jagger.
The new style took the Hawkwind die-hards by surprise. Cries of `Silver Machine’ were heard — but the band played on with Calvert’s `Ragnor Rock’. `Brainstorm’ was a return to the old style. Plenty of weird noises and strobe lighting — a dated but eye riveting effect.
Then a thoughtful melodic number took the crowd by surprise again, before `Master Of The Universe’ restored confidence in the band. A really terrifying piece with Calvert donning a flying helmet and looking like an air ace back from the dead. The crowd lapped it up.
But no encore and no ‘Silver Machine’, a bad tactical error.
At the moment Hawkwind are treading a fine line between ending their old style and starting a new act. If they forsake their cosmic routes completely, then they may lose many fans. It’s best not to tamper too much with your trademark.