Mick Box still leads the band, and is as animated and exciting a guitarist as he was the first time Uriah Heep played in Dayton, back on April 1, 1976. By then, the Heep had been gigging for six years, longer than the lifespan of most rock bands. If you have ever wondered where the name Uriah Heep came from, he is a famous character from Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield, whose signature phrase, "very 'umble," led to the title of the band's first album, Very 'eavy, Very 'umble, back in 1970. Box has been on board since the beginning, and shows no sign whatsoever of slowing down.
"We're gonna spend the next few hours playing some of our new album, and some of our classics, some new, some old, some new, some old...."
Shaw is still seen by many as the new guy in the band, but make no mistake - Bernie is a pro's pro - a great voice, a confident front-man, and a great entertainer. His voice is powerful and crystal clear, not missing a note all evening, nor shying away from even the highest peaks in the band's catalog. The passion that Shaw brings to the table is palpable, as he utilizes every skill he has learned over a long career, including a tremendous amount of sheer horsepower, and a soulful vibrato that rivals the best of the classic British hard rock royalty.
The sound of Uriah Heep has remained pretty consistent over the years. Couched upon the thick and sophisticated mix of Box's trademark guitar tone, tasty keyboards, and thundering drums are the band's great harmony vocals, which so wonderfully support the ever melodic efforts of their lead singer. This band is as tight as it gets, an amazingly well oiled machine. This show was the third concert of a tour that will see Box and company play across America for most of the summer.
Bolder also supplies a good deal of the classic Heep harmonies, and he hits every note, every time. My only regret was that the bassist did not sing his song from the new album, Trail Of Diamonds. This song makes me ache for a Bolder solo record. It is a great tune in the UH mold, with the veteran singing as well as any lead vocalist out there, and is reason enough for you to buy Into The Wild, which is as good an album as any in the band's catalog.
"Uriah Heep were the best band that we've ever toured with, either as a headline or support, because there was no ego, no pretentious kind of stuff. They were great, and we learned a lot from them”
"After tonight, we've a thousand miles to drive for the next show, but the sound of this crowd will ring in our ears the whole way."
The adoration was being passed around like a bottle of Ripple at a hobo's ball - it gets passed, but each party partakes sweetly. I'm not sure who got the better deal, but everybody came away a winner.
After going off to thunderous applause, the band returns for their encores, which include 1977's Free 'n' Easy, a song which sees the band invite some 20 people on to the stage for some old school headbanging. 'Til the very end Heep delivers the goods, giving their fans what they want - a great night of rock and roll by any measure.