Regardless of Hawkwind's long history of member changes and personal issues, at this Phoenix show Turner and his exceptionally talented band took a moderate crowd of diehard fans on a journey to the outer limits with a fiercely played set that featured songs from Hawkwind's early 70's recording, Space Ritual. "Earth Calling" kicked the galactic adventure into gear.
Trippy visuals added depth and dimension, jumping off the screening and encompassing the entire stage setup, probably making some attendees long for the days when they wouldn't even dream of attending this show without a little boost of the hallucinogenic variety.
The band barely let up as they worked their way through the first half of the set that included "Born to Go," "Brainstorm" and "The Awakening." Though Turner had a couple of brief sound issues with his mic, the sound was mixed nicely. Every instrument was able to shine, the vocals simultaneously blending into the mix while sitting just a little bit on top without any one instrument being too invasive.
Every player in that band is just so good, and obviously so into it, that it was easy to continuously shift focus. The guitarists were killer, the drummer just a total monster blurring the air with sticks and limbs, and the keyboardist was as fun to watch as her playing was good. Clad in a space-y silver bikini covered by a '70s long fringe vest and boots looking of the same era, she added plenty of ethereal dance moves to the event.
Turner, himself, is a real fucking joy to watch. Barely a moment without a little grin on his face, this freaky space captain is nothing but a terror on the sax and the flute, putting his wild jazz into the hard rock grooves. Turner maintains an intimate and intricate knowledge of the music that comes off as pure passion and from a place that obviously gives him some real peace.