Gig Of The Week: Gong
WHERE: Glasgow O2 ABC
WHEN: Thursday, September 9
The tea pots are set to fly again, as the legendary psychedelic heroes return for another tour. Once again this sees the core of Daevid Allen (guitar/vocals), Steve Hillage (guitar), Gilli Smythe (space whispers and poetry) and Miquette Giraudy (synthesisers) getting out there – in all senses – joined by bassist Dave Sturt, saxophonist/flautist Ian East and drummer Chris Taylor.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing Steve finally letting go and really getting loose onstage,” says Gong founder Allen. “He’s used to being a lot more formulaic in recent years with System 7, but he’s slowly returning to the old Steve we know, the one that would go crazy onstage, lying across the amps and so on. Maybe it’ll really happen on this tour.”
The basic set will be similar to the one the band played last year, when the fabled four first reunited.
“We might have one or two different songs in there, though. Our set can vary from an hour to two hours, depending on the curfew restrictions in each venue. Sadly, the days when we could play for hours on end have gone. That’s no longer possible in venues.”
Allen is particularly pleased that the band are not just attracting their old pixie pothead fans, but also a younger element.
“I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the jazz element in our music. And the fact that there’s room in our music to breathe. It’s the spontaneity part, which is what live performance should be all about.”
Incredibly, Allen is now 72. But moves onstage with the energy and enthusiasm of someone half his age. How does he do it?
“Well, I do yoga and generally maintain a healthy lifestyle. I also think the fact that I live in Australia helps. It’s fairly pollution free.”
Although Gong expect shows to be recorded and filmed on the tour, they’re not planning any live releases.
“In a way that defeats the object of playing live. People buy tickets and aren’t sure what they’re gonna get. We might take them to the stars, or badly crash. Nothing beats being there. However, I suppose all our worst moments will end up on YouTube, and all the great ones will disappear into space, never to be seen again.”
After Glasgow, the band play:
Sept. 10: Manchester Academy
Sept. 11: London HMV Forum
Sept. 20: Birmingham HMV Institute
Support on all dates are Nik Turner’s Space Ritual.
Get tickets at 0871 230 0333 / http://www.artistticket.com/
Oh, and as an extra treat, Allen is playing The Unicorn in Camden Road, London on September 3. It’s with one of his other bands, The Magick Brothers. Entry is free.
Find out more at http://www.planetgong.co.uk/