at Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway, November 20, 2006

Uriah Heep is still touring after more than 35 years in the game. Quite a few line-up changes have found their place over the years, leaving guitarist Mick Box of the present band the only founding member. However, the band AD 2006 has kept together since 1986.

This year they felt like doing something different, and recently decided to throw in a line of acoustic shows in their on-going touring. The posters said Uriah Heep – Acoustically Driven, which to quite a few old fans sounded interesting.

And it was. Heaps of Heep’s material sparkled in unplugged wrapping. And why shouldn’t it? Uriah Heep plays a classic form of Hard Rock where a strong melody line carries a lot of the tune. Remove the electricity, and you’ve still got a great song.

Uriah Heep - Acoustically Driven

Anyway, as always, Heep played very few songs that you can’t find on the band’s 70’s recordings. One can argue pros & cons if this is the best way to live and survive as a band, but concerning Uriah Heep, there’s no other way — they look back as far as they can, and will keep on doing so for as long as they exist.

It’s a great set of songs they’ve got, and all the guys played very well. Vocalist Bernie Shawn both looked and sounded utterly comfortable, and as the acoustic arrangements left few places for anyone in the band to hide, it was notably clear, to anyone who doubted that Uriah Heep has got themselves a real fine singer. Shawn was at the top of his game the whole evening, and also distinguished himself as a clever communicator with the audience.

Uriah Heep - Acoustically Driven

Mick Box was quite talkative too, introducing one song after the other. And he did so with a smile on his face, as he let his memory trace more than three decades back the linse for a story or two. “We lived to tell”, as he said himself, ironically calling back to mind the drug abusing days.

The sound/mix was good, and the mood in the 5-600 strong audience was great. The one and a half hour long set went notably fast. Even though the whole thing was acoustic, they still rocked heavily from time to time. “Sympathy,” “Sunrise,” and “Free Me” all rocked immensely, and the crowd took off. The latter was one of the songs generating the most sing-alonging from the audience, it was, however, the ever-smiling Shawn who impressed the most with his convincing voice.

Uriah Heep - Acoustically Driven

Speaking of singing; good, old Lee Kerslake filled in a great lot of rich backing vocals from his drum stool, not at least on highlights like “The Wizard” and “Come Away Melinda.” Kerslake is also the one who once penned down one of the evening’s most laid back moments, “Come Back To Me” (from the Fallen Angel album). For a moment, fans may have thought that this was one of the way too many of the same-sounding Rock ballads they have heard a million times before. Then you remember that the song is from ’78, and once made it to the very earliest ballad curriculum in the school of Rock.

Besides the highlights mentioned above, other outstanding moments were the beautiful “July Morning,” the “younger” composition “Love In Silence” (’95), and the last encore “Easy Living.” Phil Lanzon’s organic organ playing was in itself a highlight too, especially on the up-tempo songs he really lifted the compositions up and forward.

Uriah Heep - Acoustically Driven

A lot of the songs, e.g., “Lady In Black” (the audience almost sang the roof off the building on the chorus) and “Pilgrim” sounded like they never have been intended for another kind of arrangement. The evening was all electric without the electricity. It is hard to imagine any old Heep fan not being able to value this acoustic experiment. Uriah Heep – Acoustically Driven — a success joyride.

The Band, 1986-2006:
Bernie Shaw – vocals
Phil Lanzon – keyboards
Mick Box – guitars
Lee Kerslake – drums
Trevor Bolder – bass


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