In a for me unknown venue deep in the south of The Netherlands, Uriah Heep were performing a special show.
Not only because the show was a combination of the Dutch fanclub day but also because two members of the steady line up had to be replaced:
Trevor Bolder, seriously ill but rumors said he would be back in June.
At present day (May 26) we know better and our respects to his family and of course also for the Heep family are in order.
The second member not present this show was singer Bernie Shaw, according to the messages 'due to a routine surgery'.
His replacement turned out to be a well known member of the Heep family: John Lawton,
who took over the lead vocal duties from David Byron back in the seventies.
His temporary return to the fold was the reason I drove my car from east to south for nearly three hours to be a witness to this show,
mostly because I was expecting a lot of 'old stuff' and I'd never seen the line up with Lawton before: I would not be disappointed.
Support act for Heep were 666 The Nightmare, a so called cover band, but a funny one because all musicians were dressed up as well.
The Joker (vocals), Catwoman (vocals), Ratman (guitar, backing vocals), Mr. Death (drums), Angus Old (guitar),
Uncle Fester (keys) and Jan Manson (bass) played songs from Queen, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Rainbow, Van Halen and Heart
(nice performance by Catwoman, close to the original vocals by Ann Wilson!!).
Then Uriah Heep: with an exceedingly loud guitar, Heep began to play a very nice set with only one track from the 'Shaw era',
being the opening track Against All Odds. The legendary performance of 1973 came into mind when songs like Gypsy,
Look At Yourself and July Morning were performed. Although Lawton excused himself stating 'you'll have to put up with me tonight'
and in spite of his voice being a little bit rusty, his singing was quite alright.
His voice has this 'warmer' quality compared to Shaw's and although might be the better singer and show-man,
still I was very pleased with Lawton on that night. Playing acoustic guitar on Stealin' (by the way:
that song had to be postponed a bit due to a technical problem with Box' acoustic guitar) as well the older songs came across extremely well.
The band have a fantastic drummer in Russell Gilbrook who entertains, pushes and interacts with the crowd at the same time.
Phil Lanzon just flew over from Australia but in nothing one was able to detect something of a jet lag.
Mick Box, in his own characteristic style, played very well and as said before, very loud too.
As usual whenever Uriah Heep plays a set list like this, most compositions were penned or-co-composed by Ken Hensley
(working on a new album) and in fact this show could be considered a tribute to this
legendary former member of the band. In any line up, Uriah Heep is still able to mobilize enough fans to fill venues
like this "Gebouw T" a venue comparable to Metropool (Hengelo) or Melkweg (Amsterdam).
A special compliment to Dave Rimmer, who played his bass (left handed) with an astonishing technique and maybe he doesn't have the perfect feel yet,
he reminded me of the late Gary Thain which was a very pleasant surprise indeed.
Uriah Heep will be performing live again in the Netherlands on Pinkpop Classic (August 24, Landgraaf)
and according to the Uriah Heep website Rimmer will be filling in again.
Against the Odds
The Hanging Tree
Falling in Love
Look at Yourself
Lady in Black