Hawkwind

Live 1984-1995

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A truly phenomenal package, Hawkwind's Live 1984-1995 might (in the continued absence of any significant '70s footage) stand as the ultimate guide to the live Hawkwind experience. Across three stuffed DVDs, three full concerts -- from 1984, 1985 and 1995 -- capture the band in what has always been its native state, on-stage with the volume cranked high, the light show on stun, and every nerve end aching in anticipation. Shot in Ipswich, England, the 1984 performance (originally released on VHS as Night of the Hawks) is the most traditional of the three shows, a virtual greatest-hits set that sees the recently returned and lavishly costumed Nik Turner fronting the band with delirious eccentricity. The 1985 performance, meanwhile, captures what remains one of Hawkwind's most lavish productions, the Chronicle of the Black Sword epic that strung new and old material together, to form one captivating whole, and which winds up with both a pounding encore performance featuring a guesting Michael Moorcock (catch the brilliant "Born to Go"!) and the seldom-seen promo for the "Needle Gun" single. Finally, Love in Space was shot during the 1995 Alien 4 tour, with the four-piece band now fronted by Ron Tree and aided and abetted by sundry performance artists. Musically, this is the least essential of the three discs, but visually, it's as powerful as any Hawkwind performance should be, and at least includes an astonishing version of "Death Trap."

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