www.firegoat.com » Reviews » Uriah Heep
  Guest: Login | Sign up Slovenska verzija - Slovene version
Uriah Heep - "Live In The USA"
Classic Rock Legends 2003

After a rainfall of live CD's in years '01 and '02, band releases live album which features best material recorded during two headlining gigs at "US Classic Rock Festival", held on 5th and 6th of October previous year in Trenton (New Jersey, U.S.A.). Band is truly busy right at the moment! They are about to issue live album from their last "The Magician's Birthday Party" (8th of November '03, London, Astoria), we are hardly awaiting for their new studio album to be released in forthcoming year, while the process of new re-remastering and re-releasing of their golden legacy at Sanctuary Records is in full progress. I've heard also some rumours about releasing a new anthology 5CD box set, familiar to 4CD box from '96's called "Time Of Revelation". Band is really hot footed, reliving their teenager's years again.

One Trenton's night Heeps were plugged in and Easy Livin', Return To Fantasy and grandiose masterpiece The Magician's Birthday, as the closing song in CD set, were electrically driven. The rest of material was done with helping hand of plain acoustical strings. Some might think that Uriah Heep are offering some kind of mixture between "Electrically Driven" (2001) and "Acoustically Driven" (2001) put together on one CD. Not only set list differs a lot, but also new magic of both evenings caught on tape is not the same. "Live In The USA" is just another new look among thousands of band's faces. What makes this album also special are recording conditions. Recording was done in the open air!

It is so nice to have The Wizard and Rainbow Demon back on live tape since release of "Spellbinder" (1994). Mick, as usual, offers intensive heavy vah vah riffing, but in the same vein his "Les Paul" Gibson sound never overshadows the keyboards. Division of all instruments is fantastic, offering a great contrast between front and rhythm line with Bernie vocally always centre spotted. Of very importance is equilibration achieved between guitar and keyboards on left and right monitor where work of both instruments sounds crystal clear. This live recording offers absolute amazing and precisely built sound, while at the same time, magic live chemistry of present Uriah Heep musical face is freely spreading through it.

High dynamics and special colourful contrast of whole CD is also upgraded with the way how band had chosen the following order of altogether 10 songs. CD opens with dreamy Rainbow Demon, continues with rocking Easy Livin', than mood changes completely with The Wizard and heavily outbursts again with Return To Fantasy. What follows than is a journey through five acoustic beauties. First among them is an orchid Tales, than revealing Heartless Land, interstellar Blind Eye with Lee's phenomenal back vocal contribution, which is followed by jump into eighties with The Other Side Of Midnight and That's The Way That It Is. Just when you start to feel some lust for distortion, Uriah Heep satisfies your needs by striking their immortal little epic suite The Magician's Birthday. Lee didn't forget for his "kazoo" fill in. Irreplaceable instrumental battle between good and evil with Mick and Lee both doing their drum and guitar soloing crossfire runs supremely and is even longer in comparison with song's original studio version. First part of this spine tingling battle is fashioned as featured in original, while second part captures some special bonus improvising and bombing intensively all the way. Of course with Bernie and his on full approach. He comes so close to verses originally sang by Ken Hensley, that when I listened to this CD for the first time, I thought Ken joined Uriah Heep at Trenton on stage. If Ken sings in The Magician's Birthday original "...love will find love, will find love,..." than takes Bernie his final verse "...love goes on love, goes on love,...".

Among acoustic spots it is hard to expose a highlight. I personally would vote for cosmic Blind Eye. What makes song's live version so special is its climax. The way how this song is softly played. And while it waves so gently you can feel on the other hand how muscular intensity of drums spontaneously arrives into song's pivotal spot line. Mick's overall acoustic work is interesting. You can feel how intensively he is hitting the strings while riding along with his full cords. His acoustic guitar delivers true plain steel sound, which tastefully lays in compositions.

Uriah Heep simply know how to do it. When you turn back and get a quick overview what this band went through and with what amazing unquenchable powers they are carrying on, these legends really look immortal. Just where do they go? "Live In The USA" is undoubtedly a different live Uriah Heep album, than all the others. Its production supremely catches band's special daily mood of both gigs and magic chemistry, which superbly works between five artists gathered inside this beautiful musical media and body.

Author:   Aleš

Content of this page is copyright of www.krokar.net and firegoat team.
All rights reserved. © 2000-2002