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Uriah Heep - Live in Moscow CD (album) cover

LIVE IN MOSCOW

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.12 | 24 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars As usual, several personnel changes (again should I say). A new vocalist (the fifth one if I do not forget anybody) and a new keyboardist (the third one) for this live album. This line-up had no studio album to promote and maybe the Russian soil was less risky to record a live album than it would have on the West European one.

Russian public was less used to see rock bands and was probably more indulgent than other audiences. It was not known at the time, but this line-up will be the longest one in the band history : over fifteen years ! Sadly enough, and only very recently, Kerslake (aged 60) had to put an end to his musical career due to health problem.

Some of the legendary tracks are played here, and quite well I must say.

Shaw vocals in "Birds Of Prey" are quite good. High pitched and powerful. A very good start. "Stealin" has never been a fave of mine, and this version won't do anything to revise my judgement.

One of the best number form "Abominog" is also superbly played here. "Too Scared to Run" features a great guitar work. This is really a wild number. Like the Heep was used to in its early days. A real good moment.

Next come two numbers which will never be released in a studio version (to my knowledge) : "Corina" which is a pleasant and rhythmy rock song : good riff and catchy chorus. Not bad actually, and rather superior to lots of the studio material the Heep have released during the last decade. I do not have the same feeling about "Mister Majestic". A rather boring rock ballad for about two minutes. The tempo accelerates nicely after this and it tuns into a decent pop-rock tune. Nothing memorable and therefore not prolonged in a later studio album. But maybe that it was not idea at all ?

Back to the past with "The Wizzard" which is only an appetizer in the awaiting of "July Morning". One of the best ever writeen song from the Heep (and a really great track, all bands taken into consideration). The whole band does quite a good job here.

Shaw on the vocals is excellent, on par with Byron in this difficult excercise. Bolder is sober and offers good backing bass play. The second most difficult role are of course the keys. They were so phenomenal with Hensley that it is difficult of course to hold the comparison. Still, Lauzon does a good job. This track (as usual when played) is the centerpiece of this live album.

I do not know if the tracklist here follows the one of the concerts (probably not since it sounds at the end that it was the last song of the show before the encores) but to get "Easy Livin" just after "July Morning" is an assurance that the waves of fans will be very pleased. Another fave of the Heep fans (to which I belong if you haven't noticed yet). This version is not unforgetable. The keys are not played as they ought to, but the rest of the band offers a great job : one feels a real unity already in this line-up that the years will polished even more.

I'm not sure that the second track from "Abominog" was really a number that was highly expected by the audience (especially at this moment of the concert, maybe "Sunrise" or "Traveller In Time" would have work better to heat up more the atmosphere. Same applies for the third new song of this live album : "Pacific Highway". A simple hard-rock song with a good chorus. Keys sounds again not top notch (like in "Easy Livin").

The remastered version offers an extra twenty-three minutes of music to the Heep fans.

I was quite pleased with "Gypsy" which is one of my all time fave of the band. This song brings us back to the very beginning of the band, their first album actually and a brilliant track. An Heep anthem, no doubt. It confirms that Shaw was a very good choice to take up the lead vocal role. He is really great in those legendary track (which was not a given fact at the time). Even if I have made some mixed comments about Lauzon, I have to admit that his play here is quite nice (offering an airy break in the middle-part). The finale of the song is maybe a bit lenghty but there are hopes for the future.

"Rockarama" from their last studio album "Equator" should have been avoided. I hated the studio version and there's no reason to change my mind with this very long live rendition (over ten minutes of the worse music). It starts with a useless three minutes intro, before the band starts jamming for another two. It reminds me the lenghtly soli of the seventies (often exaggagerated). The song as such is not worse than the studio version (but this is difficult to achieve).

The closing number "Heartache City" (from "Equator" as well) was one of the best of this album, so there is nothing wrong here but the track sequence is probably not the best possible one. I would have preferred to go crescendo and finish with numbers like "July Morning" or "Easy Livin". Some other great tracks would have also been welcome...

This live album is one of the best one of the band since the fabulous "Live 1973" (which will remain their best ever, IMO). These guys have proved that they are almost on par with the most classic Heep's line-up. On stage. I just hope that they will also produce great numbers in their studio releases.

I would have rated it with four stars if the new material had been better and of course "Rockarama" skipped. Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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