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Uriah Heep - Live at Sweden Rock Festival 2009 (Official Bootleg) CD (album) cover

LIVE AT SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL 2009 (OFFICIAL BOOTLEG)

Uriah Heep

Heavy Prog


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Rune2000
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Prog Metal Team
3 stars I haven't heard a single Uriah Heep album after their 1973 release Sweet Freedom but seeing that this new live album was recorded at a festival that I love to visit on regular basis there was a definite curiosity on my part about this release.

Although I was present at Sweden Rock Festival 2009 I didn't witness this particular performance since Uriah Heep headlined the Wednesday kick off of the festival. This was quite unfortunate since I usually skip that first festival day simply because it usually doesn't offer as many highlights as the next three days. This time around the only remotely famous acts performing that day were Deathstars, Amon Amarth, Sevendust, Blaze Bayley and Uriah Heep among which only the last one felt remotely interesting. Just for reference, Thursday's highlights consisted of Volbeat, The Tubes, Seventh Wonder, Hammerfall and Over The Rainbow, just to name a few. While Friday was the most progressive of the days featuring Neal Morse, Marillion, Voivod, Kamelot, UFO, Motörhead and In Flames. It should be added that the Wednesday kick-offs are relatively new since they were only introduced a few years back due to the increased demand for the festival.

The set-list for this particular gig comprised almost entirely of the band's early '70s material with the exception of two Wake The Sleeper tracks towards the middle of the show. Sunrise from The Magician's Birthday was a surprising opening since I would have expected to hear any of the upbeat classics, like the ones to come, to open the concert but I definitely atmosphere and tone that Uriah Heep created with this very well performed first track. Stealin' opens with a nice organ-sounding keyboard and Bernie Shaw's attempts at audience-interactions work well but the rest of the track sounds too much like a bunch of semi-retired rockers trying to please their equally old audience. The band keeps things simple with Gypsy only offering us the basic version of the tune while the wonderful Look At Yourself is expanded to the 8-minute mark by an extensive guitar solo where Mick Box really pushes himself to the limits of his ability. This is all great but I still miss the vital Ken Hensley's organ sound that just can't be replicated by Phil Lanzon's keyboards.

The two new tracks go by pretty unnoticed although Ghost Of The Ocean does reminds me of the good old days sound and I once again like Mick Box's work here. The last 20 minutes offer us the three most well recognized Uriah Heep compositions which don't really reach the quality of the studio takes mainly because of Bernie Shaw's vocal performance that just can't be compared to David Byron's young voice. It gets a bit ridiculous when the backing vocals on Easy Livin' completely overshadow the lead vocalist, but the audience don't seem to mind and help him gladly along.

Overall I guess it's hard to go wrong with classic material such as this and even though I have a few complaints related to some performances here and there it's great that the band is still alive and kickin' after almost 40 years of their existence!

**** star songs: Sunrise (4:50) Gypsy (5:36) Look At Yourself (7:50) Ghost Of The Ocean (3:36) July Morning (10:51) Easy Living (3:24) Lady In Black (7:35)

*** star songs: Stealin' (6:20) Angels Walk With You (6:33)

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Posted Sunday, May 23, 2010 | Review Permalink

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