Here we are back at the SWG3 and it is becoming one of my favourite venues in Glasgow. We are here to see the legends that are Uriah Heep.
We have a support band first though – Von Hertzen Brothers who I have not seen or heard before. As they open with the epic 12-minute title track from their War Is Over album, with its lazy soaring keyboard intro before the track explodes, you can see why these guys are supporting Uriah Heep. They have a similar prog rock vibe to them. The drums and keyboards kick in and we get “Jerusalem” next from the same album, a shorter but no less atmospheric track with lilting vocals and music that just carries you along.
We then go back to their Nine Lives album for the rockier “Coming Home”, the track bouncing along at a real foot-tapping pace, and the packed venue are really enjoying things. The band head back to their older Love Remains the Same album for “Somewhere in The Middle” next. I do love a band with good use of the keyboards which carries through all of their tunes tonight. The guitar, keyboards and vocals on this track have a bit of Pink Floyd meets Fish-era Marillion about it in places.
“Sunday Child” follows from New Day Rising, a laid back intro before the drums rush in and the music soars away. Mikko’s voice is stunning along with brothers Kie on guitar/backing vocals and Jonne on bass/backing vocals on the harmonies. We get the “Long Lost Sailor” after that from the War Is Over album, a more straightforward feel about it but again with soaring guitar and wonderful vocal harmonies.
The boys end what has been a fantastic set with the title track from New Day Rising. Guitars build up for the drums to kick in as the song takes off at pace, a perfect closing number. I was not sure what to expect from Von Hertzen Brothers but I loved it. Completed by Sami on drums and Robert on keyboards, this was a truly mesmerising musical experience and I now have their albums on rotation. If you like your prog and early 70s rock then give them a listen and go see them live.
Living legends Uriah Heep are touring on the back of their well-received new album Living the Dream. We get five tracks off said album tonight starting with “Grazed by Heaven”. Drums and keyboards kick in before Bernie opens up those golden vocal cords, a fabulous opening track and you can tell straight away the boys mean business. Mick just flowing on the guitar and Dave bouncing about on bass. We head back to one of my favourite albums next, Abominog, for “Too Scared to Run” and I’m singing and bouncing about as I take photos in the pit.
The title track off the new album follows with “Living the Dream”, a song which actually has a real old feel to it at least as regards the keyboards and vocals – definitely a favourite of mine off the album. This is a band still at the top of their game and obviously still enjoying it, looking at Mick’s grin all night. Another off the new album, “Take Away My Soul”, as Mick kicks in before the band join him. There is no lacking in vocal prowess from Bernie tonight, just his usual incredible voice along with Phil’s outstanding keyboards.
We head back in time to meet the “Rainbow Demon” from Demons and Wizards as Phil leads us in with one of their classic tracks. There is just something magical about the early material and the pounding keyboards. We have “Waters Flowin’” next, again from the new album, with Mick on acoustic – and I have to say it was one of the highlights for me tonight, a truly stunning track with Mick and Bernie as one. The vocal harmonies with the rest of the band were just a joy to listen to, classic Heep. The last track off the new album followed, the harder-edged “Rocks in the Road”. It’s just fantastic the way the song flows along, particularly with Mick, Phil and some fine bass lines from Dave.
We get Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble next with the superb “Gypsy” with its awesome keyboard intro that just gets the goosebumps and neck hairs standing up. The crowd are really going for it now, a real favourite this track. Look at Yourself’s title track is next, again those keyboards, and drums kick in as Mick and Bernie take us on a gallop. You just cannot beat the old stuff but the new album is trying really hard. Heep stick with the same album and head out into a “July Morning” replete with its seductive guitar/keyboard intro. Drums and bass build the crescendo before coming down as Bernie’s subtle vocals slip in and gently carry us along, a true highlight of the set.
The band take us down the road to Salisbury to meet the “Lady In Black” with Mick again on acoustic. Bernie leads us all on a singalong which the crowd duly engaged in, ending the main set. The first of two encore tracks follows, “Sunrise” from The Magician’s Birthday, before we end the night with what else but the epic “Easy Livin’” from Demons and Wizards. With its thundering keyboards and soaring vocals, the crowd erupts into song. A fantastic end to a tremendous concert featuring a band showing no signs of slowing down.
I have seen the band many times since 1982 on the Abominog tour and tonight was one of the best shows I have seen from them. I would get out there and catch a band on fire, get the brilliant new album and support a true icon in the world of rock music – it does not get much better than tonight.
Photos by Coops Gig Photography
- Grazed by Heaven
- Too Scared to Run
- Living the Dream
- Take Away My Soul
- Rainbow Demon
- Waters Flowin’
- Rocks in the Road
- Look at Yourself
- July Morning
- Lady in Black
- Easy Livin’