Last Tuesday’s concert in Milton Keynes was a great experience. When a band continues to tour after 40 years, the bond between the follower and artist is clear, and Uriah Heep offered up oodles of pleasure
Bernie leapt around the stage, captivating and involving the audience.
Mick played on the left of the stage, touching the air in motion - his signature style - playing fast riffs while exuding the bonhomie of an oversized hobbit - holding the stage with Bernie.
At the end of the gig, Mick and Bernie expressed their appreciation for supporters loyalty and that they love playing - which must be true considering the very full tour schedule they keep up every year.
Phil played keyboards at the back, such a strong and complex element of the Heep sound. (Afterward I asked Phil if he has any section pre-recorded, but Phil said he plays every note live in concert.)
Russell plays very muscular drums
Davey (the newest member having taken over from Trevor Bolder who passed away May 2013 from cancer) almost goth in striking appearance: aquiline nose, black clothing including shiny trousers, and massive extended bass guitar. Afterward Davey said that Trevor’s boots were very big to fill, and all the band feels his loss. Mick and Davey and Bernie got together at different points to play in close proximity, and it was apparent that the band gets on well together with great team dynamics.
Rhythms surged from the outset, stimulating some head banging around the theatre. Each number was tight. Heep opened with (only) one track from their excellent 1995 album, proceeding to play an abundance of crowd-pleasing classics.
Only one number didn’t receive much audience reaction: ‘Nail on the head’ from their last album ‘In the Wild’ - which came over as if the band is knocking a nail into the head of the listener - an unpleasant image.
Overheard was one roadie saying that they could not quite get the sound balance as wanted. I sat in row 3 centre - where the sound was loud but not particularly in focus - no speakers were on-axis for this seat. Yet it is rare for perfect sound in auditoria (rare exceptions: Queen playing at Hammersmith when Freddie Mercury still had long locks, Joe Satriani at the Brixton Academy.)
As Bernie related, nearby the band is recording their new album. With such vitality and their strong yet under-acknowledged catalogue that emerged over last 20 years, over-shadowed by the early greats, this 2014 release will be worth seeking out. May we hope for some Prog Rock in there?
Uriah Heep played the same venue only last March - which was sold-out. So do, do, do, return again in 2015 - a warm welcome awaits in Wavendon.