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Uriah Heep - Live in Moscow CD (album) cover

LIVE IN MOSCOW

Uriah Heep

Heavy Prog


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Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In 1985, after the release of the "Equator" album and the subsequent departure of singer Pete Goalby, Uriah Heep were once again looking for new members to fill vacant posts. Mick Box knew that once they had sorted out personnel situation they should be able to obtain a recording contract. Auditions were held and resulted in Phil Lanzon (ex-Sweet/ Grand Prix) being drafted in as replacement for John Sinclair on keyboards and Bernie Shaw, a talented Canadian (ex Grand Prix/ Stratus) being brought in to fill the lead vocal shoes. Shaw was recruited as the replacement for Stef Fontaine. Fontaine had been brought in to replace Pete Goalby but his tenure with the band was short-lived, only surviving one American tour. [CD liner notes by Robert M. Corich, Castle Copyrights 1998]

This live album features the band's 1987 first performance with the new line-up which had not recorded any new material yet. Performed throughout Soviet Union this album represented Uriah Heep as the first western band who performed live in the country. So I can imagine how this album is so important to the band's career. This can be seen on Mick Box' liner notes, London, November 1997.

Speaking about this live set musically, I have to admit that quality-wise it's not as excellent as their phenomenal Live 73 album. Couple reasons that I can say about this. First, Bernie Shaw voice is I agree very clear, transparent and he can sing high register notes excellently. This can be heard in "July Morning" where the choirs "La la la la la la .." which follows with a very high register note: "aaa . aaaa . aaaa" higher and higher, and . yeah .. Bernie can manage his voice really well, in continuous voice of rock! But he has less power as compared to the powerful voice of Byron. Sure, it's no harm at all but for those of you who have got used to the Live 73 album would find that Bernie's voice is too sweet. I think, Bernie's voice and physical appearance is really clase with Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson.

Second, everybody knows that the critical characteristic of Heep sound lies on three things: choirs, guitar sound and soaring keyboard/ organ work by Hensley at first inception of the band. For guitar, yeah I can see clearly the sounds produced by Box fingers which still have the soul of Heep sound. But, Phil Lanzon keyboard work sounds very very thin and too sweet for most of tracks featured in this live set. It has lost its soul in providing great keyboard punch for Heep sound especially during musical interlude and/ or transition segments. Third, Trevor Bolder does not play as dynamic as Gary Thain in providing bass lines. Fourth, the sonic quality of this CD is less than those remastered CD of Live 73.

That's enuff to say how this one compares to Live 73. However, I also enjoy this live CD because the tracks featured here are all good tracks from past and present. Three tracks are really new and never been recorded as studio tracks even after now (at least until 1995), they are: "Corina", "Mister Majestic" and "Pacific Highway". For me personally, "Pacific Highway" is a good track and enjoyable one. Best cuts from this live set includes: "Bird of Prey" which has become the band's legendary track from Salisbury album; "Too Scared To Run" which performed in high energy and it hasbecome my personal favorite; "Stealing" from Sweet Freedom album which also was used as opening track of the band's "Magician's Birthday Party" DVD (2002); and of course the band's mascots: "July Morning", "The Wizard" and "Easy Livin'".

Talking about Heep one would definitely remember this memorable lyrical part: "He was the wizard of a thousand kings. And I chanced to meet him one night wandering ." what a memorable singing line! Yeah . it's man! However, enjoying The Wizard from this live CD you must be prepared to get away the detailed nuances on how in studio version Mick Box played his wonderful acoustic guitar fills to open the track plus the entrance of drum work. You won't get it here because the guitar fills have been replaced with rhythm section and the drum beats have been modified erroneously that have made this song becoming unattractive to my ears. Well, what do you expect from a live recording?

Overall, it's a good live set even though it's not excellent. If you have the Live 73 CD, you may not need to purchase this CD. But, if you are a Heep-mania, like me, you should have this CD as a collection and comparison to other live CDs. Being a Heep fan I have learned that not every single release of Heep provides all excellent tracks (exception to their first 4 or 5 albums) but in every album ther must be one (at least) really stand-out track like "Against The Odds" (Sea Of Light, 1995), "Between Two Worlds" (Sonic Origami, 1998). Album-wise these two were just good. Whatever the case, I still love Uriah Heep! Keep on proggin' .!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#68388)
Posted Sunday, February 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Easy livin', Russian style

Uriah Heep were the first western rock band to perform live in Russia. There had been previous visits by pop artists such as Billy Joel, and Cliff Richard (the great Sir Clifford, for it is he), but not by a rock band.

The band undertook a series of gigs in December 1987 in the Olympiskij Stadium in Moscow playing to 180,000 people over 10 consecutive nights. The gigs came about as "July Morning" had somehow found success in the USSR in the late 1970's. Consequently, with the changing attitudes in that country, Uriah Heep were invited to perform there. "Live in Moscow", the band's third official live album, is a fine record of those concerts.

Since the recording of their "Equator" album, Trevor Boulder had returned to the fold on bass. Bernie Shaw (vocals, ex-Grand Prix, Praying Mantis, Stratus) and Phil Lanzon (keyboards, ex-Grand Prix, Sad Café and Sweet!) had also joined, and thus completed what has gone on to become the most stable line up of this notoriously turbulent band.

The gigs, and indeed this album, came at a rather awkward time for the band since, apart from the line up changes, they had just signed to a new record label. This meant that their first release for Legacy records was to be a live album. They hastily came up with three new songs 'Mr Majestic' (perhaps with Phil singing?!), 'Corina' and 'Pacific Highway', which were included in the concert set list. The band themselves recognise that these are by no means Uriah Heep classics, and there is little doubt that they are the weak points of the album. Those tracks offered little indication of how well this line up would gel together in both song writing and performance terms. What they did do though was offer the reassurance that the band was writing again, with a view to recording new studio material.

The set list otherwise comprises of a mixture of songs from the Byron era and from their then more recent albums. The older tracks are favourites such as "Stealin'", "Easy livin'", "July morning" and "The wizard". It is also good to see a relatively rare airing of the opening track from "Salisbury", "Bird of prey". This song opens the album, offering Shaw the opportunity to exercise his full vocal range, and giving Lanzon the chance to come up with some symphonic keyboard sounds. The performances are pretty much faithful to the original recordings, or at least to the live versions which had developed over the years since their release. The walls of sound, swathes of keyboards, and Box's distinctive wah-wah guitar solos all have a reassuringly familiar presence. It was however the voice of Bernie Shaw which was guaranteed to leave a lump in the throat of every long term fan of the band. Here at last was someone who, while by no means imitating Byron, could sing the best songs from the Byron era in a way they had not been heard since the ultimately tragic Byron moved on to the "other world".

Elsewhere the segued "Wizard/July morning" sounds eerily familiar, being a nearly identical repetition of the "Live 1973" performance. This is immediately followed by the superb song named after myself, "Easy Livin"!

The highlight of the set is undoubtedly the "extra" track, "Gypsy". After the classic riff is belted out in the usual way for the initial verses and choruses, the music is brought to an abrupt halt. At this point, Phil Lanzon goes into one of his finest ever solo spots. He moves his keyboards through classical and operatic sounds, in a virtuoso performance which clearly has the crowd enthralled. The message here was loud and clear. This new line up has the confidence, indeed the audacity, to take the band's signature track and stamp their own identity upon it in no uncertain terms. With this one track, fans of the band received the reassurance they so desperately sought, that the spirit of Uriah Heep was very much alive and indeed thriving.

A fine live album.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#78938)
Posted Sunday, May 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#118944)
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Uriah Heep broke the Iron Curtain and became one of the most regular rock band visiting Russia till now. Without doubt ,good for Russia.

Album by itself represents one of endless band line-up playing gold classic for hungry-for-rock russian fans ( in fact, it's one of very first Western band visited Empire of Evil). Some songs sounds good, some not too much. In all cases, Uriah Heep earlier live album (1973) is much more better. There you can find some songs sounding like originals, or trying to sound like this. No new arrangements ( ok, I don't think that some russian folk song elements used for filling the space between songs are new direction), nothing new at all.

All the recording looks as "anti-matrioshka" : russians well-known all around the world by producing and selling their "matrioshkas" to any foreign tourist at any possibility. So, Uriah Heep made their "matrioshka" - old product packed in new paper with fashionable ( at a time ) symbols on it.

Fully listenable, not too interesting and not too reasonable release. If you have early Uriah Heep concert album, or even just studio albums with the same songs, there is no reason to purchase that one.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#250118)
Posted Thursday, November 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Really great Live album from the masters Uriah Heep recorded live in Moscow in 1987 and released a year after in summer of 1988. Some classic tunes here that made them famous over the years, played with balls, every member shines, good sound and great musicianship. Here appear for the first time Bernie Shaw as UH vocalist, he integraded really well in their sound and since then he is teh front man. Mick Box guitar sounds great, crunchy with nice catchy solos specially on pieces like Bird of prey, Too Scared to Run, Pacific Highway and on 3 bonus tracks on CD version, one of them is Heartache City - what a killer piece, simply smokes this tune. Very good druming, bass lines, all is damn fine , the sound is crystal clear. Quite under rated live album, is not talked very much about UH live albums, but hey I'm a fan for more then 20 years, saw them twice live and are among my fav bands ever, love them. 3.5 stars for this live album, lots of great moments here that any UH fan can enjoy.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#993660)
Posted Tuesday, July 09, 2013 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Misters majestic in Moscow

This live album was released in 1988 and was the first ever release by the Bolder-Box-Kerslake-Lanzon-Shaw line-up. It was recorded at the historic Moscow concerts in December 1987 when Uriah Heep became the first Rock band from the West to perform there. The event was also filmed (and released on DVD many years later). There are here a few songs that did not appear on the video. These are Bird Of Prey and That's The Way That It Is as well as Rockarama and Heartache City, the latter two only appearing as bonus tracks on the CD version (and hearing them now one understands why they were not chosen for the original album release and omitted from the video). Gypsy appears on the video and on some versions of this album, but apparently not on all versions (so make sure you get the version that holds it because this rendition is excellent). Look At Yourself was included on the video but not on any version of the album.

The most interesting songs, however, are the three songs that are not included on any of the band's studio albums. These are Pacific Highway, Corina, and Mister Majestic. The latter is particularly interesting as it features lead vocals by Phil Lanzon (the band's new keyboard player at the time and who wrote the song). Lanzon is not a great singer, and it is by no means an excellent song, but it is rather interesting to hear it as this keyboard-driven song stands quite apart from the band's regular repertoire. Pacific Highway and Corina, by contrast, are rather typical 80's Uriah Heep numbers and would have fitted well on Raging Silence (the first studio release by this line-up of the band).

I enjoy this live album, though I think the video version is better. And of course you have to be a pretty major fan to invest in both, so I would say get the DVD.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#1039720)
Posted Thursday, September 19, 2013 | Review Permalink

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