Still ‘Eavy after all these years – Words by Andy Gunton Pictures by Tony Davis
Classic Rockers Uriah Heep came to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Friday 6 December as part of their Living The Dream tour.
It was the band’s third to last gig of 2019 and one of around 150 that they have played during this year. Not bad for a band who have been going for 49 years now.
Now featuring only one original member of the band, guitarist Mick Box, Uriah Heep still pack a mighty punch when it comes to putting on a show though.
And judging from the quality of three of the first four tracks they played, all from their latest album Living The Dream, Uriah Heep can still deliver the goods when it comes to writing new material as well.
I was a fan of Uriah Heep back in their heyday of the 1970’s, although I never got the opportunity to see the band live, so I’ll admit I approached this show with a fair amount of trepidation, wondering what they might be like after all those years.
But, as I’ve suggested, I needn’t have worried, this was a great gig.
The centre of attention for most of the audience was undoubtably guitarist Mick Box.
He’s hard to miss with his flowing white hair and rock star sunglasses, but boy can he still play.
Mick Box is obviously still living the dream and enjoying himself immensely, as he seemed to have a permanent grin on his face for the whole show.
That coupled with the constant gesticulations with his hand and arms make it hard to take your eyes off him.
But the rest of the bands current line up certainly command your attention as well.
Vocalist Bernie Shaw, powerhouse drummer Russell Gilbrook, birthday boy bassist Davey Rimmer, and flambouyant keyboard player Phil Lanzon were all seemingly having a ball as well, as well as all being classy musicians.
The 75 minute main set featured tracks from Living The Dream early on, plus an outing for Rainbow Demon from Demons and Wizards, but it really got into its stride during the trio of Uriah Heep classics from the early 1970’s, Gypsy, Look at Youself and July Morning, which was preceeded by a very interesting explanation from Mick Box about how the epic song came to be written.
Rocks In The Road, also from 2018’s Living The Dream album followed, and allowed each member of the band to show off their considerable musical talents.
This is often the part of a show when the band can take things just a little too far, but thankfully Uriah Heep stayed on the right side of that attention threshold.
A singalong version of Lady In Black, from the Salisbury album, had the whole audience on its feet, where they stayed to demand the inevitable encore.
Storming renditions of Sunrise and hit single Easy Livin’ brought a thoroughly enjoyable night to a close.
To say that Uriah Heep exceeded my expectations would be an understatement, and judging by the expressions on the faces of audience members around me, this was a special evening for many, especially those of a certain vintage like myself.
A friend of mine said to me during the evening that he’d never seen so many bald heads at a gig before.
In my ‘umble opinion that just goes to show that the affect and appeal of good music never dies, and is something you can’t grow out of.
Reliving your youth for a couple of hours is always great therapy, and a chance to escape from the modern world for a while.
Long may that continue.
Find Uriah Heep at: uriah-heep.com
Find info about upcoming gigs at thre DLWP at: dlwp.com/whats-on