Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Uriah Heep -- Ram's Head - June 29 2010

Uriah Heep - First time for me since 1976. Many people are not aware of how active they have been since then, as they have not hit these shores in just under ten years. That was truly evident as visa problems pushed back their tour dates a week or more, at least this one anyway. Although they were not quite as big in the US as Deep Purple, both bands have huge followings in Europe and Asia and get extensive work there. I am still surprised Purple hasn't toured here (ok I see they snuck into California for two shows in 2007), but Uriah Heep has finally made it over for a few shows. It is Mick Box on guitar as the only original member, although Trevor Bolder (Spiders from Mars) was new at that '76 show and aside from a couple years off, he has been with them since. The drummer retired a couple years back, but the vocalist and keyboardist have been with them since 1996. So it is not a surprise that they are tight, together and know their stuff. They all are older, although it is hard to judge the drummer's age and his strength and speed are youthful enough. When they hit it, they are hitting it with speed and power. There are some orchestrated harmonies that they handle well, with a synth to add some angelic chorus sounds as well. Frankly they look good and a lot more fit than many in the crowd. But everyone had a good time. My favorite moment was the singer asking someone "Are we disturbing your conversation?" He was smiling and not being a jerk, but many in the audience applauded, so I am not the only one bothered by audience yammering during songs. It actually was a lot less tonight than club shows with college crowds, but Heep did a singer/keyboardist duet on "Rain" and had a couple featuring acoustic guitar as well, so there were quiet moments. And that variety was nice and it really was a fun night. They did two shows and I attended the early show. Don't rip me if I have the set list wrong (I don't know much beyond 1976) but I had the set as:  Wake the Sleeper/Return to Fantasy/Book of Lies/Bird of Prey/Sunrise/Stealin'/Rain/The Wizard/Gypsy/Angels Walk with You/July Morning/Easy Living w/ encore of Lady in Black. If you haven't slowed down, check these guys out, because they haven't either.

Quote of the Night: paraphrasing of a pre-show chat between two musicians/Heep fans, well one guy's rant anyway... "I mean (John) Wetton wasn't that good. (Gary) Thain was a great bassist, nice guy, played real melodic. But Wetton? Fuck, I coulda outplayed that guy. Really down period with him, man. Thain was great."

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