Known for their classic hits like “Easy Living, The Wizard, July Morning, Lady in Black and Stealin”, these guys have been banging out amazing progressive heavy metal for decades. Starting in the UK in 69, they haven’t stopped. Now in 2018 they are getting ready to Rock Michigan.
With a sold-out show at the Token lounge, it was wall to wall people. From fanboys from the old days to young kids just experiencing them live for the first time. It was hot, humid and everybody was in just the right state for their set to start. With curtains drawn nobody knew what to expect. Then bam those curtains dropped and everyone was locked on to drummer Russell Gilbrook and Phil Lanzon as they built up the crowd with a heavy beat and a very fat roar from those keys. Bass player Davey Rimmer and the voodoo wizard and only remaining original member “Mick Box” on Lead and rhythm guitar entered next with a massive reception from the crowd, last out on stage is longest serving lead singer “Bernie Shaw”. Shaw ramps up the crowd and asks them all if they are ready, and with that they rip into a fresh new arrangement of “Gypsy” that got peoples blood pumping. Once rushing Mick, Bernie and the crew give their hellos to a crowd howling and its only been one song so far, great way to start this set off. For me I was lucky enough to get offered to shoot from backstage so I got an up-close perception of the interactions with the crowd and the band. And the band felt the love.
“Look at Your Self “had everyone in a complete trance as they just killed it on this one. Mick Box’s solos are always on point and so interactive as him and Russel Gilbrook play their asses off on this one. Such a jam. Again, only just finishing song two. As the get comfortable they push on with the very theatrical sounding heavy Prog “Shadow of Grief” then jump into crowd favorite “Stealin”. With unmistakable keys to start in off where I swear everyone in the room was singing along. And I’m talking guys that looked 70 years old to kids that kind of looked a little young to be in the venue. Uriah Heep’s Music has touched everyone of all ages and cred very cool to experience. Now after playing such a classic they moved the needle forward a bit to 2014 with their song “The Law” off the “Outsider” Album.
Then they brought us back to 72’ with the classic “Sunrise” and it bled right into the story telling “Magician’s Birthday”. This song Mick Box lays all the cards on the table and shows us what he’s got as he just shreds his axe apart and at the same time it also looks like he’s sending it some voodoo magic as well. After wishing the magician a happy birthday we move on to talk to “The Wizard”. A hit everyone remembers and a chance for Mick to strap up his acoustic Guitar and switch it up a bit. Bernie is a great guy and was right up with the crowd shaking hands getting them to sing backups. The energy in the room by this point was electric.
Moving on to newer stuff with the song “One Minute” this song has a great opening with just Bernie and Phil starting it off soft with a light piano and double vocals and building it up as the whole band kicks in and jams out this more bluesy one. By this time everyone in the place is sweating their asses off as the room seems to be getting warmer, and on stage everyone is dripping wet. Bernie comes over to side stage and takes a little break as the rest of the band jams out a bit and then breaks into “Between Two Worlds” and then backs that up with the hit “July Morning”. Finishing off their set was crowd favorite “Lady in Black”, Mick back on Acoustic guitar and a bit of a sing-a-long. Sounds like the perfect drinking song at the end of a great night everyone was chanting back and forth. At one point, it was just the room singing away, very cool to hear to close it out. With the band off stage the crowd pounded away and screamed for more. After about a minute they reappeared and said thank you and goodnight and then left us all with their biggest hit “ Easy Livin”.
After the show, Uriah Heep signed a few autographs up on stage and retreated for the evening leaving everybody very satisfied with an evening of pure fury. For rocking stages for almost 50 years’ man, these guys still got it. If you ever get a chance to see them go, they may be old but this isn’t an old folks show these guys still bring it and are still very Heavy Metal .