A few years back, when Uriah Heep played in the US, the closest they came for me was Akron, Ohio – a show a few of us went to. It was a great show, great venue, great crowd. After the show it became apparent that there were a number of us who traveled from Southern Ontario to see the band; someone asked Bernie why the band hadn’t been up to Toronto and his response was “we can’t get arrested up there” – as in no one would book them. Well, fast forward 3 years, in the middle of a snowy and extremely cold winter – and the band played 6 shows in 7 nights in Ontario and Quebec -ALL either sold out or were damn close to being! Shitty weather, no new album to promote – and the people turned out in huge numbers! Who knew!? I was fortunate enough to attend both London and Toronto shows. Below is a brief review and [pardon] some mediocre camera pics 😉
The band’s newest set wastes no time on getting into and has very few softer moments — get to the bar and bathroom before they come on stage!
First appearing is keyboard player Phil Lanzon playing those opening notes to Gypsy, accompanied by Dave Rimmer [bass]. The band came on and roared right into the classic – from their first album in 1970, and followed it up with Look At Yourself and Shadows Of Grief [both from 1971]. Drummer – Russell Gilbrook is such a huge player, that he really drives the band to be heavier, and the fans light up when Mick Box enters the stage for the first track – recognizing just who he is. Bernie Shaw IS the singer for Heep. Not only has he come to own those classics, but he knows how to get reactions out of the crowd and how to get everyone fired up.
The band’s set would carry on with the majority of early 70s material, seeing as Heep has no new album as of yet to promote. It is only a 13 song set, but it includes a few lengthy numbers in The Magicians Birthday and the epic heavy ballad July Morning.
There was also the favorites Stealin, The Wizard, Sunrise — the former 2 being a very few of the Heep tracks that classic rock radio routinely play, and the crowd knew them word for word. there were a handful of post glory-days songs in the set – The Law from 2014’s “Outsider” album, which is an interesting choice, as it changes the pace a bit [it is the only song in the set that seems to allow the crowd to settle down a bit], as well as One Minute [from the same album] – which many in the crowd recognized, it is a great live number. Between Two Worlds [from 1998’s “Sonic Origami”] is met with great response from the crowd; it is a heavy song and features 2 killer solos from Mick, so if anyone didn’t know this song beforehand – they’d remember it afterwards!
The set closes with the acoustic track Lady In Black, from 1971. Not a hit at the time, but was a huge hit years later in Europe [upon re-release], and became a big crowd favorite, as it allows for Bernie to get the audience’ participation. An odd way to end things, but hey after a lot of noise – the band came back out and do their biggest hit and recognizable song – Easy Livin. And despite all the re-records and live versions on record — this has never sounded heavier or better [especially in Toronto, I really liked the sound in the Phoenix theatre].
It was 90 minutes full of energy and classic songs. Part of that may be the point that these guys are really having a good time – I hope the band doesn’t wait a whole year [as Bernie said they’d be back next year after the new album is released this fall] – Heep could/should come back sooner than later, lots of other cities to add to the list. Regardless, looking forward to the new album and Next tour!
*The band is currently on a break, and return to the US & Canada in April. check out the dates for the west side of North America at > http://www.uriah-heep.com/newa/livedates.php
KJJ, March ’18