„He’s a lonely rider, he is the outsider!“
After years and years of missing this band, it was on 19th of November that I finally got to see Uriah Heep at Szene Wien. It was a tough decision, since Slash played a concert in Vienna on the same day… but I chose Uriah Heep, and was not disappointed.
Formed in London in the year of 1969, Uriah Heep is a band often referred to as one of the „Big Four“ of Hard Rock (next to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin) and a true legend. Having sold millions of records, their latest and 24th studio album Outsider was released in June 2014 and songs from it are performed on the current world tour. The album also features bassist Davey Rimmer, who joined the band after the death of former bassist Trevor Bolder, who died of cancer in 2013.
First things first: the band was definitely worth the wait. They managed not only to fulfill, but to even top all the expectations I had. Apart from playing and performing brilliantly, they also had a great show and a good setlist. The thing that amazed me most, however, is the atmosphere they managed to create, and the strong presence they had on stage. They seemed to be so excited to be back in Vienna again, yet they radiated that certain professional calmness that only real experts can have. Their joy completely captured the audience, and none of it seemed fake.
When Wednesdays turn into Fridays
Singer Bernie Shaw, who joined the band in 1986 after the death of original singer David Byron, is tremendously talented and has great power in his voice, which he managed to apply on every note. Apart from that, he is a great entertainer, informing the audience about the fact that this Wednesday was „not Mittwoch…just an early Friday!“
Instrumentally, there is truly nothing negative that can be said about this gig, or, in fact, the band itself. Mick Box, guitarist and founding member of the band, had a permanent smile on his face and convinced not only by his skills, but also by his creative guitar tricks and crazy hand moves.
Then there was Phil Lanzon on keys, who joined the band in ’86 and also proved his vocal talent. Lastly, the two „newer“ members, drummer Russell Gilbrook (2007) and left-handed bassist Davey Rimmer (2013), who make a great match and provide the best possible rhythmical basis for Uriah Heeps‘ music. I think I’ve never seen a bass with that long a neck as Rimmer’s.
To hell with three-minute radio songs
The band played songs from the new album such as The Law and the title track The Outsider. Generally, I can truly recommend this latest album, there are great tracks on it with genuine Heep-Sound. Amongst the setlist, they also played Sunrise (a personal highlight for me) and the 10-minute Prog Rock track The Magician’s Birthday (here, Bernie Shaw let us now that they would play this extra-long song, simply because they can, and because they send all those three-minute radio songs to hell). The concert also included the world-famous hits Gypsy, Easy Livin‘ and, of course, Lady In Black, on which the audience transformed into a huge choir.
It is such a great feeling when you get to see musicians who really know what their profession is all about. And after decades of playing, they still manage to deliver such happiness on stage, which makes everybody in the audience forget the world outside for a few hours. Cheers to this gig, cheers to hard rock, cheers to Uriah Heep!
Author: Robin Frank