Worthy and right

It’s a nice idea that Uriah Heep ‘s concert in the Muffathalle for the band’s anniversary, now in its 52nd year due to the compulsory Corona break, not only as a headliner, but also as her own support act. The big instruments for the loud, especially Russell Gilbrook’s giant drums, are initially hung with a white curtain. Uriah Heep, the acoustic supporting band, takes a seat in front of it. The curtain also serves as a screen for video greetings from old companions (particularly funny: Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull and Alice Cooper), which illustrate how style-defining the band once was with their anthemic, brutally flowing music.

Uriah Heep still dominate the thick sound board (electric guitar and organ not antagonistic as in Deep Purple , but united in sound layers). That’s because vocalist Bernie Shaw remains vocally potent and gifted with stage presence. And it’s because the virtuosity of guitarist Mick Box, the remaining original Heep, has always been of such a defined caliber that it hasn’t aged. A bliss, the serenity with which he calls up everything that belongs to the songs in terms of guitar effects.

But first, Box takes the acoustic guitar to his knees, and the band also cuts a good figure unplugged. Because she already has acoustic songs in her portfolio (“Lady in Black”!) and because she is so good at arranging that even harder songs are interesting in this form of performance. Keyboarder Phil Lanzon proves to be a stylish piano soloist, and Davey Rimmer a very filigree bass player. It is astonishing that the band and the sound engineer manage to save the transparency of the sound in the loud rock part after the changeover break and offer a sound that allows individual voices to be clearly recognized. It’s also nice that Uriah Heep are pursuing the goal of comprehensively depicting their own band history. More recent titles come into their own, as does the holy Heep trinity from “July Morning”, “Gypsy” and “Easy Livin'” after almost three hours. That is dignified and right.

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