Though it can be argued that there’s hardly a dearth of live Hawkwind albums in the universe – official releases number 26 at the last count – few of this quality have surfaced in recent memory.
Expertly mixed and mastered from the original tapes, the set reveals an energised and focused line-up at both their heaviest and most electronic. Nik Turner was temporarily back in the fold, a genuinely unhinged sax solo in Social Alliance replete with chicken squawks and cock crows possibly hastening his exit. Michael Moorcock also materialises to lend his portentous intonations to the title track, and to opener Warriors On The Edge Of Time.
With the lion’s share of material lifted from their 80s high-point Choose Your Masques, the effect of the dominant NWOBHM can be detected, cosmically counterbalanced by Harvey Bainbridge’s highly idiosyncratic bubbling synths and chirruping sequencers.
Some on-stage banter lends a light-hearted, celebratory edge to proceedings, and the inclusion of some lesser-played gems (Steppenwolf, Ghost Dance) adds to the out-of-the-ordinary vibe. And then, like all Hawkwind line-ups, they were gone./o:p