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Uriah Heep

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Uriah Heep The Magician's Birthday Party album cover
4.13 | 50 ratings | 3 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Return to Fantasy
2. Tales
3. Sweet Pretender
4. I'll Keep On Trying
5. July Morning
6. Paradise / The Spell
7. Circle Of Hands
8. The Magician's Birthday
9. Sympathy
10. Free 'N' Easy
11. Sunrise
12. Easy Livin'

Line-up / Musicians

- Mick Box / guitar, vocals
- Lee Kerslake / drums, vocals
- Trevor Bolder / bass guitar, vocals
- Phil Lanzon / keyboards, vocals
- Bernie Shaw / lead vocals

- Special guests: Ken Hensley, John Lawton, Thijs van Leer
- Emma Robbins, Kim Chandler, Aileen McLaughlin / backing singers

Releases information

2002 UK: CRL0933

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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URIAH HEEP The Magician's Birthday Party ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

URIAH HEEP The Magician's Birthday Party reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What can I say about this album? Just buy the CD! It's an excellent live recording with an excellent production. If you enjoy live recording, you will definitely love this album. Beyond my expectation, Bernie Shaw performs really well in this record. He even can manage various tones of vocals as required by the songs. The appearance of guests has enhanced this record. I especially like the feature of THIJS VAN LEER of FOCUS in "Tales". He performs nice flute playing throughout the spectrum of the song. He plays flute softly but it flows through continuously with the music. "Tales" is much better performed in this live version compared to studio version (under THE MAGICIAN'S BIRTHDAY album). This CD should have been released in DOUBLE CD as I notice there are a lot of elimination from original live performance. That's the reason why I give four-star. I definitely give five-star if all tracks are recorded in CD version.

KEN HENSLEY was invited at the JULY MORNING where he still demonstrates his unique sound of organ / keyboard. I also love the appearance of JOHN LAWTON my favorite singer that was previously with LUCIFER'S FRIEND. Unfortunately LAWTON's performance is bit below my expectation even though it still great overall. MICK BOX still perform wonderfully with his unique guitar sound. In some tracks, TREVOR BOLDER demonstrates his shuffling bass guitar playing. One important notice I want to mention is on drummer: LEE KERSLAKE still energetically plays his sticks and pedal drum excellently. He even sometimes sings. Great drum play Mr. KERSLAKE!!

There is a DVD version of this show and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you to purchase this DVD. It's a masterpiece!! I even rate this DVD with FIVE STAR as it's so attractive in terms of stage performance as well as sound & image production. I also like the nuances created by the DVD about the show: audience entering the ticket gates (most of them beyond 40 man!), the band's press conference, general rehearsal. There are songs that are eliminated in CD version, including the great one: BETWEEN TWO WORLDS. I especially love BERNIE SHAW's singing style in this song. You should have this DVD. This DVD is my all-time favorite. It's great having this collection as the classic stuffs performed excellently by old and new members of URIAH HEEP. HEEPSTERMANIA would definitely love this record. Long live URIAH HEEP!!!! - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Emotional

The Magician's Birthday party has become an annual event, celebrating Uriah Heep through the years. It sees the current line up being joined by former members, and other well known performers.

This recording covers the first "party" held in 2001. The highlight is undoubtedly the appearance of founder member Ken Hensley, who wrote most of the band's most famous works, and contributed the Hammond organ element of their wall of sound. 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 gives "Tales" from "The magician's birthday" album a whole new dimension with some wonderful flute playing and yodelling(!). Hensley joins the band for "July morning", and remains on stage from then on. Byron's replacement John Lawton also participates later on, his distinctive voice contrasting with current singer Bernie Shaw's more Byron like sound. The highlight for me is the rare live performance of "Paradise/The spell" complete with Hensley's wonderful slide guitar solo.

The emotional significance of seeing Hensley back with Uriah Heep will be lost on those who are not familiar the band. It is however a definitive moment in their history. With the event also being available on DVD, I would suggest that it would be best to obtain the combined CD/DVD package.

Review by Muzikman
5 stars Over the past few months I have been soaking up the entire Uriah Heep catalog, one album at a time. This package is the crown jewel of everything I have heard thus far. It's a specially packaged DVD Video, CD, and Booklet set that I have been so very fortunate to receive. Since my DVD player is on the fritz, I figured I could at least review the CD. To be quite honest I just couldn't wait, I had to hear it. I make no bones about it folks; I have always loved Uriah Heep. They were the first progressive rock band I ever listened to. At the time I didn't know what the hell I was hearing, I just knew I really liked it. Now I am self professed prog-rock freak and a loyal Heepster to the core!

This one-time special evening on December 7th 2001 brought together original members Ken Hensley and Mick Box for the first time in twenty years. Hensley left the group so abruptly it seemed that he never really got a chance to say goodbye to all the loyal fans that supported the group he helped to build. Ken finally got his chance to say thanks and goodbye all in one spectacular evening. Known for his tremendously talented keyboarding skills, many folks don't realize he originally started on the guitar. Well, he picked up that six-string on this night and played some rousing slide, much to the delight of the charmed audience. This was a magical night filled with many memorable highlights. This event started a entire group of Heep related parties with books, memorabilia, a Christmas party, an evening with John Lawton and Ken Hensley, Lawton's band had an evening to play, and finally the Heep Festival Club bash, which featured all things Heep to get you warmed up for the main event.

These guys are all middle aged rockers, some balding (like yours truly), but they still can still keep up with the younger artists, and they sound just as good as they ever did, and much better than many groups half their age. Listen now, every song is just killer on this CD, with no exception. The band is rockin' straight on through the night without any dithering whatsoever. The musicianship is beyond reproach and the singing is simply fantastic, and that includes the lead, harmony, and background singing. What else do I need to say? You can see the songs that are presented here, all classic Heep, covering most of their long and storied career, its all here. Even Thijis Van Leer of Focus is on hand to do his famous yodeling and play some flute.

The accompanying booklet is filled with gorgeous color shots of the evening's concert along with informative liner notes. And the DVD is the second part that makes this package complete. I can hardly wait to watch it; it's making me as crazy as a bedbug not being able to view it, so standby for the review come hell or high water.

Make sure you pay a visit to the marvelous Classic Rock Productions site. They have PDF press kits for downloading so you can read about the new releases, beautiful shots of both CD and DVD covers from releases that they offer, just about everything you could possibly imagine that you would want to find on a label's site and more is found there. It's a very entertaining and informative site, with just tons of all of your favorite classic prog-rock music. So its time to get back in a good rock and roll groove and log on to their site to purchase this outstanding memento to the rock legends Uriah Heep. If you are a prog-rock lover you need to do this, it's your duty to carry the torch to the next generation of listeners. This is your time to bask in the glow of some of the greatest live progressive rock music you shall ever hear, nuff' said.

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