THE last 18 months or so, as we all know, has been one horrible old death march of much-celebrated as well as less well-known musicians. Be it Bowie or Lemmy, Matt Roberts or Henry McCullough; they’ve been huge losses all.

Among the sorry line of permanent departures from the stage were two icons of the psychedelia genre, Daevid Allen and Gilli Smith. So it was always going to be pretty moving to welcome Gong to the capital for an evening of spacey rock magnificence.

Gone are the days of Gong pioneers Allen and Smith, but wow, today’s incarnation have the lot: charisma, stage presence and musical skill.

Led by frontman and guitarist Kavus Torabi and playing in front of a kaleidoscopic light show of flying teapots and swirly rainbows Gong entertained the crowd to a collection of classics and newer tracks like Rejoice! I’m Dead.

They opened with The Thing That Should Be, and had the whole place rocking with follow-up tracks You Can’t Kill Me and a spellbinding I’ve Been Stoned Before.

Cue a singalong with an audience member, a bit of banter with the crowd, before treats to include Kapital, Phone Book, Tropical Fish and encores Insert Your Prophecy and Tried So Hard.

Coupled with the lightshow, this latest line-up delivered a top show of space rock, one which demonstrated the spirit of Gong lives on – despite the fact Allen and Smith are irreplaceable.