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Hawkwind

The Business Trip – Live

Review by Gary Hill

Hawkwind had done a live album not that many years earlier with Palace Springs, so this seemed a little soon to put out one. Still, the line up had gotten down to three members (Dave Brock, Alan Davey and Richard Chadwick) and they were doing a lot different set. So, I suppose it made sense. These days I can’t imagine how many live discs the band has out there. In any event, I like this one quite a bit. Considering that it’s got a bit of a different sound than some of their other live recordings and the fact that a lot of this material is newer rather than the classics, that says a lot. If you love to see how much sound three guys can make (think Rush), then this is definitely one for you.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Altair

This is just a short (a minute and five seconds) keyboard introductory piece. It feels like it might have come from some science fiction film soundtrack.

Quark Strangeness And Charm
Here’s a classic song. This one has a pretty, almost pure progressive rock texture in this telling. This seems slower and mellower than a lot of versions of the track, but it’s also full of “quark, strangeness and charm.” OK, I’m not sure about that first one, but the other two for sure. There’s a great soaring jam later in the track.

 

LSD

This is one of the cooler tracks from the Electric Teepee CD. It rocks out quite well and has a definite classic Hawkwind feeling to it. There are hints of “Assassins of Allah” on this at times. There is some intense guitar heavy jamming on this later. Not as blatant we also get some tasty guitar runs from Alan Davey later.

The Camera That Could Lie
This comes right out of the last track with an almost reggae feeling to it. Of course, it’s Hawkwind styled reggae. Although this is a bit unusual for Hawkwind it’s a great piece of music. The lyrics are very paranoid in nature. As is typical of Hawkwind they move this out into a cool instrumental segment that keeps morphing later. A keyboard section takes it into mellower territory later, but then they fire out into some of the hardest rocking sounds of the disc.
Green Finned Demon
Keyboard based and slow paced, this is a cool song with a definite science fiction meets fantasy theme to the lyrics. This is quite a tasty number. Further down the road the bass begins to move in new patterns and at a higher point of prominence. From there they move out into a more powered up version of the track’s central themes for a killer instrumental excursion. They return to sedate territory after a while to deliver another verse and chorus and then fire back out into even more hard rocking sounds. This is an incredibly powerful piece of music.
Do That
This comes out of the last number and features some killer music. The drums are far more out front here and this is really a chunk of “You Shouldn’t Do That.” Delivered in this format it actually reminds me quite a bit of Rush. Of course, when I say “snippet,” this is over three minutes long and quite a powerful jam. Alan Davey really shines here.
The Day A Wall Came Down

Percussion just about steals the show on this instrumental. It’s got some keyboard layers and other sounds, but tuned percussion and just plain pounding drums really drive this. This is a little strange, but also quite tasty.

Berlin Axis
Coming out of the last track, this one is an instrumental, too. It’s a lot mellower and based pretty purely on keyboards. Waves of ambient sound come and go on this jam. There is some guitar and a bit of melody later.

 

Void Of Golden Light

I’ve seen this track over the year under a few different names. It’s always been one of my favorites. This version starts on acoustic guitar with a more stripped down approach. To me that causes it to lose some of its magic as the lush arrangement really makes this one – at least the earlier portions. When they kick out into the harder edged section later it is more effective. Further down the road we get some killer guitar soloing.

Right Stuff
Here’s a Robert Calvert tune. This is hard edged and quite tasty. They put in a great version of it. Of course, I’ve always noticed how this number is quite similar to “Silver Machine.” They turn out quite an energized and powerhouse performance here. It eventually dissolves to bass and keys to segue into the next number.
Wastelands
This is a pretty keyboard dominated number. It works well to counter balance the fury of “The Right Stuff.”
The Dream Goes On
Seeming almost like another part of the last track, this one is based on keyboards and drums and gets noisier as it carries on. A great melody line emerges after a short time and then a bit after the one minute mark they power this out into another hard rocking jam. At less than two minutes in length this is still more of an instrumental interlude.
Right To Decide
With an introduction from Dave Brock, this is a frantic hard edged jam. They move this out through a number of variants and alterations.
The Dream Has Ended
As this enters you might make out the familiar melody. While it’s got a different title, the first minute or so of this is actually the haunting “You Know You’re Only Dreaming.” I like this version quite a bit. They move it out into a different jam from there. All the instruments seem to take an equal role at different times on this. See if you can spot the other vintage Hawkwind jam in the end here – a hint for you is it comes from the debut disc.
This Future

Although it’s got a different title, this short keyboard dominated number is “Welcome to the Future.”

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