Uriah Heep - Acoustically Driven (2000)
DVD5 | VIDEO_TS | MPEG-2 Video, PAL 4:3 (720x576), 25fps, 5058kbps | DD 2.0, 224kbps | 75min | 3950Mb
Rock | Classic Rock Legends 0675 | rel: 2001 | covers
In December 2000, Uriah Heep switched off the power, and for one night only became an acoustic combo. Per Neil Young's unplugged, the Hammond organ (such an integral part of Uriah Heep's sound) was retained, but even then piano also features heavily. Given the band's reputation built up over many years as one of the loudest bands on tour this was a brave, but ultimately inspired move.
The band are joined on stage by a string quartet, a female backing trio, and a few other "surprises". Mick Box plays acoustic guitar throughout, and Trevor Boulder acoustic bass. The set list comprises of a wonderful cross section of tracks ranging from "Lady in black" ("Salisbury") through to "The golden palace" ("Sonic origami"). I have to say that the results are nothing short of Sensational.
I must admit, I had some reservations about whether this was a wise move by the band, but as with Yes touring with a full orchestra, I am delighted to say my concerns were totally unfounded. The tracks are generally from the softer end of the Uriah Heep spectrum, and for those who have only come across the band briefly, there are a surprisingly large number of such songs. Vocalist Bernie Shaw is the prime beneficiary of the softer sound, his immense vocal talents shining bright throughout. Early songs like "Why did you go", "Wonderworld", and "Echoes in the dark" are all dusted down for the first time in years. While they are instantly recognisable, being faithful to Ken Hensley's writing, at the same time they sound completely refreshed and new.
Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson adds his distinctive flute to two of the tracks, one of the many highlights of the show. As well as adding a wonderful vocal accompaniment, the three female backing singers also bring some welcome glamour to the occasion. One of the three, Kim Chandler, also proves to be a superb flautist, especially on "The easy road" and "The Golden Palace". The latter is one of the band's newest songs. It is surprising how well these sit alongside the classics, far more so perhaps than at their "electric" gigs. Throughout, the string quartet, while seldom to the fore, lay a wonderful carpet of sound for the band to build upon.
I must admit I went through many emotions listening to and watching this DVD. To hear many of my old favourites transformed by these interpretations was simply wonderful. The most emotional moment however was saved for last. I will admit to at least a lump in the throat, when the uillean pipes took the main theme on "Circle of hands". Uriah Heep and uillean pipes, I would never have believed it, but it sounds magnificent! As the last note of the pipes fades, Mick Box sits transfixed, clearly moved by the whole occasion. What's more, when you consider the bombastic ending to that track on the "live '73" album, the contrast with the unaccompanied pipes which end the song here could not be starker. Both though constitute absolute highlights of their respective albums.
A truly awesome DVD, which shows Uriah Heep at their very best. If you know the music of Uriah Heep, these interpretations will stun you. If you do not, there's never been a better way to discover the band. ~Progarchives
1. Echoes in the dark (4.44)
2. Why did you go (3.59)
3. The easy road (2.41)
4. Come back to me (4.40)
5. Cross that line (5.56)
6. The golden palace (8.17)
7. The shadows and the wind (4.30)
8. Wonderworld (4.33)
9. Different world (5.03)
10. Circus (4.21)
11. Blind eye (3.37)
12. Traveller in time (2.50)
13. More fool you (3.30)
14. Lady in black (6.15)
15. Medley: the wizard /paradise/circle of hands (9.24)
- Mick Box / Guitar And Vocals
- Lee Kerslake / Drums And Vocals
- Trevor Bolder / Bass Guitar And Vocals
- Phil Lanzon / Keyboards And Vocals
- Bernie Shaw / Lead Vocals
- Ian Anderson / Flute
The Uriah Heep Classic Rock Music Ensemble:
- Liz Cheyen Liew / Violin
- Sarah Chi Liew / Violin
- Saskia Tomkins / Viola
- Pauline Kirke / Cello
- Stefan Hannigan / Uillean pipes and percussion
- Melvin Duffy / Pedal steel and slide guitar
- Kim Chandler / Backing vocals, flute on 'The Easy Road', 'The Golden Palace', 'More Fool You'
- Emma Robbins / Backing vocals
- Billie Godfrey / Backing vocals
- Pip Williams / Acoustic guitar on 'Lady In Black'