Wednesday 5th October 2022
The London Palladium
So back in time immemorial, I ventured into Hammersmith Odeon, as it was known at the time, to witness Uriah Heep (supported by Peter Frampton) and my first ever gig. A night of jumping on seats with two school friends ensued and the capture of Lee Kerslake’s drumstick that was lobbed skyward to my sixth row position - all in all a great night! To think that 52 years later, I would be seeing them for the twenty something time, and photographing them for the fifth time, would never have occurred to my young brain, but those are the facts as they say.
Transitioning through many line-ups, the one constant being the ever smiling and effervescent Mick Box (lead guitar), Heep sound as great as they ever did with the current line up, Box, Phil Lanzon (keyboards) and Bernie Shaw (lead vocals) who joined the fray in 1986, plus latter-day insurgents Russell Gilbrook (drums, percussion, 2007) and Dave Rimmer (bass, 2013), keeping the audience enthralled from start to finish.
Introduced by various videos from other groups congratulating the band on fifty years, including very funny interludes from Ian Anderson and Francis Rossi, provided a clever opening, followed by a beautifully played and observed acoustic set. The highlights of which were Ken Hensley’s exquisite 'Tales' from 'The Magician’s Birthday' and 'Lady in Black' from 'Salisbury'. It displayed perfectly the versatility and virtuosity of this great band and Bernie Shaw’s inability to sit still for thirty minutes … all in all a great start to the evening!
The Rock element of the evening followed a short intermission and the show blasted into top gear, a fifty year celebration with songs spanning their fifty plus year career discarding the two Covid hit years that plagued, literally, recent times. All of the favourites were there and sing along moments were aplenty. 'Between Two Worlds' was the best received of the recent tracks, whilst epic versions of 'Stealin', 'Sunrise' and 'Sweet Lorraine' lit up the evening.
The show descended into the grandeur of 'July Morning' and 'Gypsy', pre and in encore, followed by the compulsory closing full rock out of 'Easy Livin’. So many smiling faces left the building that you knew you had witnessed a special show. But it was also a time to remember as Mick pointed out during the show - backed by the videos of members sadly gone - the greats David Byron, Gary Thain, Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake from that first line-up I witnessed, plus Trevor Bolder, John Wetton and John Lawton.
So another demonstration of superior musicianship and strong vocals came to an end - until the next time and more fun with the mighty Heep, as Mick said “’Appy days!”
Come Away Melinda
(The Weavers cover)
Confession / Rain
The Wizard / Paradise / Circle of Hands
Lady in Black
Against the Odds
The Hanging Tree
Traveller in Time
Between Two Worlds
Too Scared to Run
What Kind of God
Free 'n' Easy