Recorded, of course, during Hawkwind's 1979 U.K. tour, Live '79 wrapped up seven tracks from the hour-plus extravaganza that greeted concert-goers, with the emphasis (hardly surprisingly) on the older classics that remained the band's most dramatic calling card. For longtime fans, however, there were still several surprises, as the solid mass of earlier band lineups opened out to almost virtuosic proportions. With one eye surely fixed on the rapidly emerging New Wave of British Heavy Metal, guitarist Huw Lloyd Langton lays down guitar solos that the likes of "Silver Machine" and "Master of the Universe" had never previously imagined. Keyboard player Tim Blake (ex-Gong) was granted his own solo showcase mid-set -- "Lighthouse," from his newly released New Jerusalem solo album, is included here, although he also performed the epic title track. Both newcomers went at least some way toward compensating for the recent loss of Bob Calvert -- indeed, the sheer vivacity and variety of the band's performance might not even have been possible had the idiosyncratic poet remained on board. The sound quality is not necessarily all that one would expect from a major-label release, although compared to Space Ritual, Hawkwind's only previous in-concert set, that's hardly surprising. The truncating of the performance itself can, however, be remedied via its inclusion on Dave Brock's own Complete '79 anthology.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson