Saturday, November 18, 2023

Hawkwind Space Ritual Deluxe Box Set

This is a box that has taken a while to absorb and critic.. 11 discs, basically, three full 110 min or so shows from late 1972.  They are more or less the same in many ways, just some of the transitions from the jams in a lot of the songs can be a little different but damn, the band was very tight and super powerful. This was really drug fuelled acid blues space rock madness at it´s best…. no one had a sound anything like this in 1972.  NO ONE!!!  Some of the interlude pieces are a bit different and the way they space in with Earth Calling into Born to Go each night. Wow.. wish we had some film to go along with that!!!  The booklet has all the lyrics and basically everything that was in the original LP as far as art goes. No new pictures that I have not seen before. Anyway, here is a detailed description of the shows. 

Note: For some reason I started with Locano and wrote about Liverpool last.  


Seems the band are quite good at timing Earth Calling to just around 2mins. A bit longer on this night that the other 2 nights.  Born to Go is a bit shorter compared to Locano.  Down thru the Night, a perfect transition song.  Lord of Light is Nik's longest sax solo of the show normally during this song and this version keeps up with that. The Black Corridor has a different start and then the spoken word kicks in.  Trippy… Space is Deep..  Cool version and nice vocal ending and then Nik draws it out even more before they space out with Electronic No1. This one is more guitar oriented. Dave is more into it.  Time to get punished with the Orgone Accumulator!  The first guitar solo is slow to build but then he really plays some cool stuff but not as intense as Locano or London. Dave plays a totally different guitar riff for a minute but no one catches on to take it somewhere new so they go into the main riff again. In the next space out there are some really different sounds (dik Mik, vocal??). This is totally different than on the other nights and 2mins shorter as well! Upside Down, a strange track but only 3 mins. 10 Seconds of Forever has some intense electronic sounds. This leads into BRAINSTORM! 

Intense.. Makes you wonder how Nik does it?? He plays sax solos for half of every song, nearly (except when he plays flute!). Quite the sax stamina!  This is the longest version of the 3 at nearly 14mins.  Always love 7 by 7..  Time we left this world Today has a different start, a different guitar pedal effect or riff before the real one comes in. The balance of the lead vocal and play back from the backing vocals is so cool and makes the track really different.  Killer guitar solo on this track and a long space out that takes the track to over 13mins!  Master of the Universe is a powerful and much faster than the original studio version! Very powerful drumming!! This version is about 30 seconds longer than the others.  After Welcome to the Future, at this show the encore is You Shouldn´t do That, which in the old day could stretch out to 30mins!  But now they keep it more under control and only but they still totally freak out and it is so powerful. Dave is a master on the wah pedal. So intense at times.  Lemmy really cuts thru the mix more on this track. 

Locano Sunderland

This is a really spaced out show. Earth Calling is really cool and then Born to Go is a mindblower.  They get totally spaced out in the 5-7mins and what an ending. Phew… Nik has a really long sax solo in Lord of Light compared to normal. The Awakening, as with most of the poetry stuff, the background stuff is so far out and trippy.. Space is Deep is such a spacey track.  Electronic one is wild with the voices, awesome mix.  Then you get pummelled with Orgone Accumulator!  The timing of the Space Ritual is just so perfect. One intense track, a more mellow or spoken word space out and then another high energy track..  After Dave's awesome spaced out wah solo, they try to go back into the main riff but decide to let Nik take a long solo before heading back into the vocals at 5mins..  Brainstorm is super intense and the guitar is heavy and in battle with the sax at times but they get super spaced out but Simon just keeps pounding on and keeps the energy level insane. Did anyone have a more dirty fuzzed out sound as Dave on Masters of the Universe.  Wow… Super intense version and guitar. The rhythm section is relentless..


Now the band has had a week off are back in London and Earth Calling is far out but last about 2mins like all the other versions. Born to Go blasts you out into space for 10 mins!! 90 seconds longer than at Sunderland.  Very cool how they melt from Down thru the Night into the Awakening.  Trippy as always and then blast into Lord of Light.. Simon.. wow.. the guy is incredible.  Nik¨s solo is a lot shorter on this version that at Locano. The band seems to be aware they are recording this show, perhaps.  The Black Corridor, you can hear Del and Dik Mik very well and what they contribute. Space is Deep (7), indeed! I just love that guitar sound at the end section before the go into the Electronic No 1 (3)!!  It is so spacey… True Space rock…. This is really far out and the clarity of the mix, amazing. Who is making that like roaring sound?? Crazy… Again, Dave is just amazing on Orgone. That first solo, the tone of his guitar and how spacey and intense it is. Wow..  The 2nd half is as lose and wandering as in the other versions and ends dead on 10mins. 

Brainstorm starts CD 2 and it is super intense and the way the electronics are mixed at times is really killer..  What a super intense song and freakout!! I can hardly imagine there was anything as heavy as this in 1972………  This version is really crazy though.. They seem to be going into the end part and then go into another total jam out section as it seems Nik did not want to stop his solo and then they go in and out of the main guitar riff as NIk just keeps going.  Nik starts singing again at 8:50.  The riff that Dave plays around 10:10, is the classic Acid King riff.. tone and all!!!   The ending on this version is totally different than in Locano.  Nearly 12mins long…   7 by 7 (7) is such an awesome floating space journey.  What a great mix by Stephen! Sonic Attack… this one is different every night.  The electronics are in your face at times.  I can not even imagine what people thought if they had never heard Hawkwind before and someone puts this on the turntable in 1973 and cranks it up. What the fuck is this stuff about Sonic Attack??? These guys are really far out.   Time we left this world today has such a heavy riff and Dave's first solo is epic!!! They get totally spaced out and no one is sure where to go???? At 5.50 Lemmy has a short solo as they decide to see when to kick into Master of the Universe and it takes them awhile, in what is some of the most improvised stuff on the entire 3 show set! At 8:30 they decide to come back to the main riff. Spaced out until 11.30… Master of the Universe is super fast on this night!!  Simon is on speed!!!!  He is playing so fast the band is really having a hard time playing the song at this speed!!  This version is 7 mins!   We get You Shouldn't do That and off we go. A very short version! Dave's solo is totally killer from 3-4 mins. Wow…. 

So which show is the best of the three?? How knows??? I think I like Locano the best. I had really hoped that at least one of the shows would have had a long epic version of Brainstorm or You Shouldn't do that for 20mins or something… I think by this time, their super extended freakout jams were over actually…   I really wish they had put the song times on the back of the box for each show so you could have chosen to listen to the longest ones or shortest ones… My guess is most are pretty close to the same times.   Dave's first guitar solo is so intense and what a sound on Brainstorm from the Liverpool Stadium show is really awesome but this version is only 13 mins.  Interesting ending.  

Anyway, you can not go wrong if you have the money as the mixes are great and the shows powerful, even though it is more or less the same show 5 times and in 5.1!!!!   A bit overkill except for the absolute die hard fan!

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