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Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday Party (DVD) CD (album) cover

THE MAGICIAN'S BIRTHDAY PARTY (DVD)

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

4.18 | 13 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars A veritable Wonderworld

The Magician's Birthday party was intended to become an annual event, although in recent years there has been some slippage in its frequency. While subsequent Parties can certainly be hailed as Magic Nights it is the first such event, held in London UK in 2001, which stands as the most memorable and emotional evening to date. The then current line up (drummer Lee Kerslake has since retired) were joined by former Heep members John Lawton and Ken Hensley. It is Hensley's presence which makes this the Uriah Heep gig to eclipse all others.

The band play a commendable set covering a cross section of their songs through the years. Original lead singer David Byron is remembered in the lyrics of "Between two worlds", while Thijs Van Leer (of Focus) gives "Tales" from "The magician's birthday" album a whole new dimension with some wonderful flute playing and yodelling(!). Hensley first appears on stage for "July morning", and remains there from then on. Most of the time he is back at his Hammond organ, sitting adjacent to current keyboard player Phil Lanzon. The highlight for me is the rare live performance of "Paradise/The spell" where Hensley's switches to slide guitar for the epic solo from that piece.

This DVD version adds a whole new dimension over and above that captured by the CD release. For one thing, there are a host of tracks on this set which were omitted from the CD, including such classics as "Stealin'" and the more recent "Mistress of all time".

Despite any residual animosity between the surviving members of the classic line up, there is a real feeling of kinship and hatchet burying throughout the gig, with Hensley and Kerslake even indulging in a spontaneous embrace. For fans of the band, this was a night made in heaven, and one which will live on through this superb DVD for many years. For fans of the band, this is an essential acquisition.

The DVD includes a decent collection of bonus features, including an extra track from the gig ("Logical progression") and a featurette on their visit to the USA in 2001. There is also a fine booklet with many still photos from the gig.

Easy Livin | 5/5 |

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