Uriah Heep performed a sold-out show at the New York City Gramercy Theater. Contrary to the current musical landscape, the audience was treated to various songs from an era when playing instruments was revered. While it is fun listening to classic rock songs being played on the house speakers, a few people in the audience expressed a dismay at the band’s lack of opening acts. This was definitely a lost opportunity for any hard rock band in the NYC area.
The atmospheric sound of Uriah Heep has inspired artists like King Diamond, Blind Guardian, Ensiferum, and W.A.S.P, just to name a few. Founding member, Mick Box, has kept the tradition of Uriah Heep alive after 49 years. Their 13 song set proved the power of mysticism, and hard rock, woven together.
As they opened up their set with “Gypsy,” an energy was felt emanating throughout the venue. Rumor has it that some electronic devices started to malfunction, which was the case with my photographer. “Stealin” had the entire audience singing along with the band. “The Magician’s Birthday” and “The Wizard” showed the epic sound the band is known for. “July Morning” feels like this band’s “Stairway to Heaven”. Their final song, “Lady in black” showed how they have stamped their mark in hard rock history. It features a harmony that they pioneered which, dare I say, may have inspired Queen.
As the crowd roared, lead vocalist Bernie Shaw returned to the stage to announce that he has a secret. The secret is a new record is in the works and will be out on Frontier Records sometime in September of this year, followed by a world tour. He then told the crowd they couldn’t end the night without an encore of the song “Easy Livin”.
Mick Box straps on his white Carparelli guitar and goes into his shuffle, as the iconic D minor cords are felt throughout the Gramercy Theater. Yet another song with the audience singing back to the stage word for word. This song is not only a classic rock staple but is arguably their ‘Paranoid.” With so many influential songs, the band left the audience satisfied for now, but eagerly anticipating new music in the next 8 months. Great show, great crowd, and great music. Uriah Heep will make various stops in North America through May before they re-conquer Europe throughout the Summer.
Words by Sebastian Benedict Bjorn
Photos by Anya Svirskaya