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Uriah Heep - Magic Night (The Magicians Birthday Party 2003) (DVD) CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.55 | 11 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Uriah Heep did a couple of good albums in the early 70's, but since then their studio output has been average or even mediocre. But since Bernie Shaw and Phil Lanzon joined the band in the mid 80's they have developed into a better live band than they ever were and this DVD is excellent proof. Almost all of the songs sound better here than they did in their original versions and it is not just that the concert is very well recorded and produced; this line up is actually a lot better and they bring new life into the older songs. In my opinion this is the ultimate Uriah Heep line up. Of special note are Bernie Shaw's distinctive vocals that fit Uriah Heep's music perfectly. In my opinion, Shaw sings these songs better than David Byron ever did. Trevor Bolder also deserves special mention. He is easily the best bass player Uriah Heep ever had; the bass is reasonably load and bottom here. They might not be virtuosos but there are hardly any mistakes on this show, everything flows perfectly.

The first five songs of the set are a real tour-de-force and will please the heavy prog fan. Easy Livin' is a great opener and a couple of rare album tracks follows; Shadows Of Grief and Pilgrim. This will certainly please the fans, no greatest hits here (not that Uriah Heep had that many hits anyway, but it is very brave of them to open the show with such relatively unknown songs). Bad Bad Man and Devil's Daughter follows without pause.

The tempo is then slowed down with the electric piano driven semi-ballad Wise Man. Great stuff! Another raging rocker follows before an intimate acoustic set consisting of Firefly, Heartless Land and the sing-a-longs Free Me and The Wizard.

It is something of a tradition on Uriah Heep concerts (at least the filmed ones) to have special guests. Here it is ex-member John Lawton who sings two songs with the band. In my opinion they could have chosen better songs for him to sing, but you can't have everything. Stealin' is a song I never liked; it is too conventional rock 'n' roll for my tastes.

After another couple of songs including the classic July Morning, another guest is introduced. Heather Findley from Mostly Autumn. She sings a great duet with Bernie on Love In Silence.

The show ends with the classic, folky sing a long Lady In Black.

If you are a fan of heavy prog, Uriah Heep is one of the essential bands you should know. If you don't know them already, this DVD is an excellent place to start.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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