Ι felt really nice when I opened Viva on Friday morning to check out the time that the doors open for Uriah Heep, as I saw Fuzz Club – SOLD OUT. Loved by the Greek audience and with a very good (25th) album in their luggage, they decided on Friday night to make us crazy and rock us like they only know. Two fifty year olds and three teenagers showed us how rock should be played live and received love from a full packed venue!
Entering the venue, I found Chrysilia on stage, making generous efforts to uplift the crowd to clap their hands rhythmically. Although they did not win such reactions, and by many were considered a mismatch (while chatting at the end) to open for Heep, all I have to say is that they were impeccable professionals and that they have very interesting material (and I’m not a fan of the genre). More folk than symphonic but certainly with great themes, they rely heavily on Pelagia Naki’s keys and the very good vocal performance of the main composer and frontwoman Chryso. They played for about 40 minutes, songs from their debut in 2017 entitled “Et in Arcadia Ego”. With the sound against them, instead of an ally, they stood very well with their epic / romantic metal. I distinguished the magnificent “Arcadia” and the “Desperate Wings” ballad, as I was also delighted with the heaviest of their songs “By the gates of Ypsus”. Very interesting was the adaptation of “The mummers dance” by Loreena McKennitt, which was immediately perceived by many. The applause at the end of the set is absolutely positive, in front of an audience who did not know them and was thirsty for Uriah Heep.
Exactly at 22:00, Uriah Heep charged the stage with “Grazed by heaven” of their new album. Smokes, smiles, awesome playing, Bernie Shaw in great mood, and Mick Box a real legend blessing us with his chords and solos! Russell Gilbrook a beast on the drums, Phil Lanzon giving volume and melodies with his keys but also participating / exciting the audience by playing with his hands, and a multitool bass player, Davey Rimmer (apparently anything closest to De Maio I’ve seen!)
Pure sound, not strong but ideal. First dive in the 70s without a break, and the audience sings “Return to fantasy”! Panic for an epic! That’s how the rest of the night continued! With classic Heep songs being sung to the last verse, and the songs of the new album accepted with warmth. Following was the title track “Living the Dream” and the “Too Scared to Run” rocker from 1982’s Abominog. The audience applauding, awesome performances by all members of the band, Bernie Shaw incredibly communicative and friendly and we are still in the beginning … “Take away my soul” took many by surprise and won the impressions from “Knocking at my door” and then a return to 1972 and “Rainbow Demon”! An incredible scene followed, with Bernie preceding a “wrong” song, and the song’s necessary guitar arriving late by two minutes to come into the hands of Mick Box. Fantastic atmosphere for the 2nd best in my opinion song performed by “Living the Dream”, the wonderful rock / folk “Waters Flowin”. After “Rocks in the Road” with the amazing atmospheric closure, we were all ready for all the classic songs of Uriah Heep. Mick Box took over the reins by preceding the songs as the most ancient member and the creator of the band, and won the impressions from Bernie with his playing/posing and warm smile. We’re talking about a 71-year-old man, who is super cool, and is still crazy even now, as he told us, to play “Gupsy” from their first album of 1970! In “Lady in Black” (Davey Rimmer made it groovier than ever), we were quite easily announced as the most noisy audience of 63 countries of their tour… and many people “lost it” a little earlier with “Look at Yourself” and “July Morning”. Bernie adjusted the last two to his voice by giving a more soulful approach, since Byron’s high notes are not easily performed. The encore with “Sunrise” and the superclassic “Easy Livin” took us by storm, and everyone was satisfied. Everyone, even those who want a more sophisticated set list, even those who rightly cried out “Sympathy” on a tour that the setlist cannot change easily …
As the first time I watched Uriah Heep, this was a night to remember and it certainly will not be the last. These people have α future, great albums to record and since they really love playing their historical rock songs, they will very difficultly lay down their weapons! True rock heroes!
Grazed by Heaven, Return to Fantasy, Living the Dream, Too Scared to Run, Take Away My Soul, Knocking at My Door, Rainbow Demon , Waters Flowin’, Rocks in the Road, Gypsy, Look at Yourself , July Morning , Lady in Black, Sunrise, Easy Livin’