Live at Penn's Peak
June 24, 2011
Rock veterans Uriah Heep rocked Jim Thorpe, PA last night with a great set of songs. The band, formed in 1969, are currently on tour in support of their 23rd studio album Into the Wild. The currently consists of singer Bernie Shaw (since 1986), guitarist Mick Box (since 1969, only original member), bassist Trevor Bolder (1977-1981, 1983-present), drummer Russel Gilbrook (since 2007), and keyboardist Phil Lanzon (since 1986).
The band hit the stage at 8 pm, which is pretty early compared to other bands I've seen. The stage for Penn's Peak is pretty small and back stage is actually behind two visible doors. When Mick Box arrived on stage, the crowd went nuts. With that, the band kicked into "I'm Ready" from the new Into the Wild album. After this song, Bernie said hello to the crowd and told them that the audience would have some fun tonight. "Return to Fantasy" followed (from the 1975 album of the same name) and I was impressed the band played it. It's a pretty deep cut, in my opinion. I was disappointed to see some people sit down during this song. C'mon, people! It's a rock concert. I thought we're all Heepsters! When Phil Lanzon and Trevor Bolder went into the opening line from "Stealin", people got back up. The band performed a wonderful rendition of the song. I've seen videos before of Bernie singing this one and he's really good singing this one. The late great David Byron might be the band's original and best frontman but Bernie is a great singer in his own way. The only thing Bernie did wrong: he said "Stealin" was from 1974 when it's really from 1973 (but hey, people make mistakes! Heck, Bernie wasn't even in the band yet!) The band dived into the Demons And Wizard with the keyboard led drone of "Rainbow Demon". The band went into another song off Into the Wild, "Money Talk". The band then let Russel Gilbrook show off his drumming skills with an impressive and monstrous drum solo. Russel also kicked into another song from the new album, "Nail on the Head". Mick got out his acoustic guitar for "The Wizard", which pleased the crowd. In fact, it was the crowd that impressed Bernie after leading the crowd in the "ahhhs" in "The Wizard" (or was it after Bernie led the ending of "Stealin"? I forget. It's either one of them). So impressed he asked,
"You guys want to come on tour with us? Hey Simon, our manager...we'll need another bus!"
"Into the Wild" came next. Phil Lanzon did an amazing job at doing the intro to the Heep classic "Gypsy". The band had the crowd stomping and clapping. "Gypsy" went right into "Look At Yourself", where Mick played an explosive solo. "Kiss of Freedom" was the fifth and last song the band played from Into the Wild. "July Morning" followed, which is a great song when played live. The studio version of the song goes on for ten minutes. It was even longer live! Mick went into another solo, with the use of a wah-wah pedal. Mick got his acoustic guitar again and said hello to the audience. He thanked the crowd for coming out and supporting the band. With that, the band went into the ballad of "Lady In Black". Bernie once again led the audience in the wordless chorus (go look it up on YouTube). The band then said goodnight.
Mick came back onstage with the band after a few minutes of waiting.
"You want to hear more?" he asked.
The crowd roared. Mick then introduced the next song by saying it came out in 1977 and it was a hit in Germany. Over in Germany, it was considered one of the first heavy metal songs. Mick chuckled at the comment and asked if anybody wanted to come on stage and "headbang". A few audience members went up onstage going nuts. When the band went into "Free N Easy", the headbanging began! I remembered seeing this one guy with very long hair doing a 360 with his hair! Mick thanked their headbangers and with that, the band soared into "Bird of Prey" which went right into the band's most popular song, "Easy Livin'". The band then said goodbye.
Uriah Heep were great and I enjoyed going to see them. My only complaints are that the band played too many songs off the new album Into the Wild. They played five of the eleven songs. I already praised the album when it came out but I would've wanted to hear something off of, say, The Magician's Birthday. Another thing : the audience was boring. People this is URIAH HEEP not URIAH SLEEP! Still, I enjoyed the show immensely. I'd love to see them again!