From Sabine & Alfred Gerber, Karlsruhe, Germany
Well, much has already been written, but the show was really fantastic
and absolutely worth coming from the southern part of Germany to London.
From the beginning, there was a very friendly and warm
atmosphere.Wonderful music, "Golden Palace" from Sonic Origami (one of
Heepīs Masterpieces), "Different World" & the songs with Ian Anderson
among the highlights, but each song and each new arrangement had a
spirit of itīs own - the sound of the female singers, the string
quartett and the other additional instruments giving something special
to the songs.
Perhaps a little acoustically driven section could become
part of Heepīs future live set... Bernieīs really a great singer - and a
great entertainer, too! Thanks to Mick, Phil, Trevor, Bernie, Lee and
everyone involved in the Acoustically Driven-Project for the wonderful
music and an unforgettable evening in London. Canīt wait to listen to
the CD and watch the DVD!
Dana Dyck - Calahoo, Canada
What can I say that hasn't already been said?
The truth is, this show
literally blew me away! From the first moments of Bernie singing "Why
Did You Go" to the pipes at the end of "Circle Of Hands", there were
many high points throughout. Each song was delivered with a feeling all
it's own and each song had it's own glorious moments. For me, some of
them were: the intense feeling of "Come Back To Me", the power of
"Echoes In The Dark", the rhythmic beat of "Shadows And The Wind" and
the all out rock'n energy of "More Fool You". Another thrilling moment
was the pipes at the end of "Circle Of Hands".
The song that stands out
most in my mind though, as pure magic, was "The Golden Palace". This
version sent chills up and down my spine. "The Golden Palace" has been a
grower for me ever since I first heard it on 'Sonic Origami'. It leapt
to a whole new level with this performance.
The band seemed a little nervous at first but soon got on track and were
brilliant, playing with marvelous skill and an intense emotion. Bernie's
vocals were powerfully delivered and extremely moving. His sensitivity
and respect for the feeling of the older material is amazing and he
blends them seamlessly with the newer pieces. The musical arrangements
were outstanding, and provided many exciting new twists and pleasant
surprises while still remaining true to the original feeling of the
The backing singers and additional musicians were wonderful
vocalists and players, and added immensely to the performance. Ian
Anderson came on stage and fit right in, with a super 'one-legged'
performance on his two numbers, lifting them both up a notch or two.
Finally, the set was well designed, contributing to the intimate feeling
of the evening and putting in the finishing touches.
Aside from the performance itself there were a couple of other memorable
moments. The first, was the presentation - by Ian Anderson and several
lovely ladies - of the Silver disc awards for Sonic Origami. Next was
Bob Carruthers' bag pipe solo followed by the presentation of a 30th
year birthday cake for the band and the whole audience singing Happy
I felt very happy for Bob Winward (and yes, a little envious)
as he appeared on stage to present the cake. Just imagine - seeing the
band live for the first time after following them for many years, and
ending up on stage with them! Way to go Bob!
As Bob Winward said, this show was - without a doubt - definitely worth
coming over from Western Canada to see. Thanks to the entire band, the
musicians, singers and crew who made the show happen. Thanks to the fans
for making me feel at home. Thanks to my wife Jane, for if it were not
for her, I would have missed this opportunity. I will never forget my
journey to the 'Acoustic Wonderworld' that was "Acoustically Driven".
Dana Dyck - Calahoo, Canada
From Brian & Lorraine Jones
Thanks for the update and even more thank you for the idea and all of the
hard work that you put into last weekend and indeed the last year. This
obviously goes for the musicians and all of the crews who handled all of the
complexity and imposing deadlines with humour and patience that a lot of
people both inside and outside of the industry could learn from. The
courtesy and friendship of everyone involved was exemplary and we are not
surprised that we all as a team, artists technicians and paying public
alike, created such an impression with the theatre. No drunks, no Prima
Donna's just people enjoying themselves with an institution that grows each
It was great seeing you and everybody again, it must make things worth while
when you see so many people from so many countries just joining together for
one purpose. We are the lucky ones living here!! We certainly agree that the
quality of everything to do with the band has increased without bounds and
the professionalism was a joy to behold.
One little story which sums up the teamwork of all of this. In the Admiral
George on Friday night Pete Wharton and myself were paddling in the Gents at
one point only for one of the people in the Pub to walk in and comment that
he used to like the band in the 70's. He asked if John Sloman and Chris
Slade were still in the band!! After a few minutes of updating we walked
back upstairs into the bar and walked straight into Mick and Trevor! This
totally freaked the guy and I think that Mick gave him the usual cheery
greeting. I had to re join my good lady but I know that Pete continued to up
date him on what was going on and just before we left we managed another few
words and confirm another firm fan for life. He was going to check the
website and buy the missing CD's the next day. This makes it all worth
Thanks to all of you once again for a magical weekend and we cannot wait for
our permanent record.
Brian & Lorraine
From Bob Carruthers
The man behind Unplugged !
I suppose I'm a bit like Dave O on this one . We have all said and written a
great deal in praise of this group this year . After the excitement of the
Legend Continues and Future Echoes ,superlatives are running out here in
Stratford, but I shall try and be as calm as possible for a man who has just
listened to the first playback of the (unmixed) soundtrack for the first
I'm sure you will all agree that on Saturday we witnessed an event which
confirms the fact that Uriah Heep in it's present incarnation is playing
better than ever before , and that the present crop of songs easily stands
comparison with a classic heritage which we all treasure.
I suppose all of the above should come as no great surprise. After all, if
you put a world class band together with a peerless music producer and add a
uniquely talented special guest, you would expect to get something very
special out of the mix. But as we all know too well, life has a habit of
tripping you up just when you thought you were on a roll. Well, not this
On December 9th 2000 I wasa very proud man indeed to be associated with Uriah
Heep, with our own team from Cromwell,with the Webteam,the Heep crew, Dave O
and his merchadisers,Pip and his team, Ian and James Anderson and, of course,
the fans who made it all possible and turned it into a night we will never
I thought before the gig we had something special. On the night I was sure I
had heard something very special. Having now heard the rough recordings and
seen some rushes, I know we have something very special. With this project
we have achieved a new benchmark against which all future Heep recordings
will be judged.
As the original architect of the set, as first proposed, I could be taking
some severe stick at this moment, but after a few judicious substitutions by
Mick and the boys we ended up with a set which is damn near perfect as it
gets. Every single one is a little gem, which in many cases, have been
brought out of neglected corners of the back catalogue and polished up till
they shine like diamonds. Who would have thought a Uriah Heep set without
July Morning, Stealin',Easy Livin',Gypsy or Look at yourself would become a
hit with the fans?...well you only have a few weeks before you can hear why
My own weekend actually began on Thursday when I arrived in London just in
time to catch last orders with Mick ,Trevor,Trevor's daughter Sarah and her
partner Chris.Mick and Trevor seemed confident ,but I suppose we all still
needed the reassurance of hearing all the musicians together under the same
roof. We had all heard the individual parts being rehearsed separately, but
we were all desperate to hear the whole shooting match.âĶ An agreeable
evening extended to a few drinks at the hotel and we were comforted by the
fact that we were now only 12 hours away from an answer.
Friday morning took me to the venue for various camera rehearsals and checks
on the visual effects. It soon became apparent that the slide projectors
were less than adequate, but everything else seemed to be working fine. The
lighting and stage set ups were better than we could have hoped for and we
were roughly on schedule for a 7 o'clock rehearsal. As the moment of truth
approached I must confess I was very apprehensive, but from the first number
we knew that we had something very special.
Everything seemed to gel and even the technical gremlins were relatively
minor in nature. With the rehearsal over, It was with a happy heart that we
made tracks to the Admiral George to meet up with Heep fans from quite
literally all four corners of the globe.
Despite all they had been through over the previous weeks I was impressed
that Mick and Trevor again made the effort to meet and greet the fans despite
the fact that they had spent all day in a very draining rehearsal and could
have been forgiven if they'd have slipped away for an early night.
The last great unknown was the fact that Ian Anderson had not yet rehearsed
with the group, but we needn't have worried because Ian arrived and slotted
in to the proceedings with apparent ease. Smiles all round as we all realised
that we were on a roll. Things just seemed to get better and better.
As regards the actual performance itself, I was most struck by the warmth of
the reception for the group. The roar that came from the audience was more
like a rugby crowd than a music audience. For some reason I had expected a
reserved reaction but that cheer vindicated the hard work that had gone into
preparing for the concert. I knew the fans would be supportive of a venture
like this, but their enthusiasm exceeded all of our expectations.
On stage,Phil impressed with the overall quality of his arrangements made in
conjunction with Pip ,and also with some really great playing on the
night.Bernie, as always ,gave a commanding performance and it was great to
hear a unifying voice applied to such a disparate set.Trevor gave us his
usual excellent standard of performance . Lee continues to impress us with
his stunning drumming and underrated singing and Mick must have enjoyed the
opportunity to take more relaxed role for once . He could be safe in the
knowledge that ,with 15 other musicians around him, he could use the freedom
to find some beautifully delicate touches which he did to great effect on the
lightning switch from "Traveller in Time" to "More Fool You".
Each of the numbers in this set has its own merits, and for me there are no
low points. It's like meeting old friends again, only in this case, the
ageing process has reversed, they seem to get younger, fresher and more
exciting than first time round. "Circus" and "Blind Eye" sounded great when
we first heard them 28 years ago, but with Ian Anderson's unmistakable flute
sound they found yet another dimension. Sheer class .
Unfortunately I had along standing business meeting next day so I had to
leave at 12.30 to drive to the midlands, but the party looked set to continue
well into the night with happy Heep fans revelling in the aftermath of a
As always the group and the audience won new friends among the staff at the
venue who were full of praise for the courtesy and good humour of the band,
crew and fans . It was no surprise to hear the event described by the
manageress as the best event she has ever seen in the Mermaid theatre. It is
small accolades like that which make it an honour and a pleasure to know you
all , and to be in some way associated with Uriah Heep.
...and as for 2001, well watch this space. We are definitely, almost, nearly
,warmed up, soon we could be ready to unveil something really special.
Now where did I put those superlatives ??
From Dave Owen
(Uriah Heep Productions LTD)
The Best Yet ...
I'm struggling here , I've used up my years supply of superlatives already
this year , but it just gets better and better !
I just love the meet and greets prior to the concert and although the planned
meet at the Blackfrier was a none event (due to the place being shut !!!)
When the city closes for the weekend, it really closes! Thus the car parking
was the cheapest Ive ever seen for London on a weekend Ģ2.00 all day Saturday
and Sunday . I'll be using that again !
The night meet at the Royal George was great , so many familiar faces and a
few new ones too . The workload at the Mermaid was incredible , the
organisation that goes on behind the scenes at this kind of an event is
incredible. Heading the role of Honour for that, is two of Cromwells staff ,
Lara and Audrey , who between them covered miles around the Mermaid and
organised everything and planned it to perfection. And if a musician isn't
fed at the right time , theres trouble !:o) Ewan on stage for the balancing
act between monitors and mobile , at rehersals he worked his socks off. Pip
for the general arrangement of everyone on stage , when he says play , they
play ! He has a great ear and can spot mistakes almost before they happen !
I was told the shots from the monitors where amazing , so in advance the
camera crew led by Chris , well done!.
The theatre staff too , brilliant, nothing was to much trouble.
OK I've finished my little gush , well almost, I was supposed to check the
tickets in on the door and also manage the merchandise . It was impossible !
I struggled on the door with some of the names ! and when I looked over to
the merchandise area , it was swamped! So a special thanks to Alan , Kev ,
Mandy and Yvonne for all their help.
I'm sure there will be many reviews of the concert itself on the site but I
must just say about my personal highlights. The last few bars of the set on
those pipes , wow , the hairs on the back of the neck stood up. The pedal
steel ! I noticed it more from the side of the stage than out front, but what
a sound !
Amazing too , was that I really thought the highlights would be the reworking
of the Byron era tunes , but they weren't . Different World, Golden Palace
and More Fool You , really came to life . More Fool You, especially I
thought, developed a "Magic Carpet Ride " Hammond riff , which drove it
along - Hammond Driven !
I know the band worked their socks off on this , it really tested them ,
stretching them out musically . With so many other musicians to concider also
, it was a test of their professionalism , one which they passed with flying
Last but not least , a big thank you to Bob for making it happen , and a
thank you in advance for all that will happen in the future.
So that's my brief summary, very brief really , beaten again by the fear of
to many "great smashing super" superlatives !
I'll end with an apology to whoever brought a 1995 Sea of Light tour shirt ,
complete with smelly armpits ! I knew I shouldn't have left it there !!!
From Bob Winward
I am not sure where to begin, but the Accoustically Driven show was a
smashing success in my opinion. I can only share the essence of this
wonderful experience from my perspective, but there may not be proper words
in the english language to fully describe the depths of emotion that I feel.
I sat in the third row, on left side of theatre, next to Mike and Denise
Taylor. I couldn't get the front row, as the press and the royal family
(well one of them looked liked Prince Charles) were in the front row. I
noticed Rod and Louis were in the 3rd row center, so I was not slighted. I
enjoyed the show immensely, but was worried about the guy behind me spilling
his beer on my new Heep baseball jacket that was on the back of my seat. I
later found out that was Rob Corich!! :-)
The band entered the stage and took their respective positions. Bernie was
very loose and natural, cracking jokes, a true entertainer!! The band was
joined onstage by 3 lovely women backup singers, who were sporting mini
skirts and cleavage!! (yet my eyes remained riveted the whole time on the
band itself) There was a percussion player, I believe his name is Melvin
from a band called Sine, and a pedal steel guitarist. Along the rear of the
stage behind Phil, was 4 females playing stringed instruments. I might add,
Phil was dressed in a suit and looked like a lounge singer at a piano!! :-)
The crowd was hushed but there was electricity in the air, maybe not onstage
(a little accoustically driven humor), but in the air. You could feel the
emotion and the anticipation. As for meself, my heart was beating wildly in
excitement. The situation was very informal and relaxed, as this was my
first show, I am not sure if all Heep concerts are this intimate with
interplay between audience, band and film crew. The first song was 'Why Did
you Go', wow, it mesmerized me,with all the strings and background singers!!
Well done!! The next song blew me away "Echoes in the Dark" it was
accoustic yet heavy sounding, with lots of sound effects, absolutely
brilliant!!! "The Easy Road" sounded like one would expect, no
disappointment there either. Next up "Traveller in Time", my theme song for
my pilgrimage to London!!! Another well done tune, and I might add, they
even sounded better the second time, more on that later. At this point, I
was in a state of euphoria, almost like the nitrous oxide (laughing gas) the
dentist sometimes uses. I was on a cosmic trip that had a surreal feeling
to it, very aware of surroundings yet feeling like it was a dream (a
beautiful dream). "Come back to me" was in there too, and I can say this,
Bernie is a totally awesome and fantastic vocalist. He does the Byron
material with such emotion and skill, flavoring with his own style. Can
there be another David, no, but we have Bernie now, and the guy is bloody
fantastic!!!! I do notice that he does the Byron material much easier than
the Lawton era material. John is great in his own right, that said I
enjoyed 'Come Back to Me'. "More Fool You" was up next and went off very
well. I cannot remember the exact order after that, but the songs are on
the website, so it is no big mystery.
Some very impressive moments for me, was Ian Anderson coming onstage and
playing on Circus and Blindeye. He played the flute of course, and he did
the lead guitar part on Blindeye. Wow!!! He did some hair humor too,
removing his ski cap and bemoaning his losses compared to Mick!! I
remember them playing "Shadows and the Wind" and thinking to myself it
should be dedicated to Ron Mann!! As I have always said "All Heep is good
Heep", so I enjoyed every song. I particularily enjoyed the 2 tracks from
Different World. The title track and "Cross That Line" which has always
been one of my heep favorites. Somewhere towards the end, it may have been
"Shadows and the Wind", Melvin the percussionist moved to center stage with
Irish BagPipes, and played a resounding and moving solo which in the regular
version was done by lead guitar. This was a highlight for me, so different,
so effective!! I want to also say, Phil's keyboard playing was dominant and
phenomenal, he is brilliant!!! Lee was awesome as always on drums, and
Trevor actually played a 4 string accoustic bass, I did not know they
existed. I originally thought he would be playing an upside down washtub
with a post and string like the guy from Credence Clearwater Revival or an
Electric Light Orchestra style standup huge stringed instrument. Bernie was
"Spot On" vocally, and Mick, he made 6 strings sound better than they were
Heep also did a medley consisting of "The Wizard", "Paradise" and "Circle of
Hands", it sounded a bit odd and the Paradise part, is naturally one very
difficult to pull off live, yet enjoyable. If there was point in the show I
could say was not absolutely perfect, it would be the medley, but still
sounded great to my ears!!. "Golden Palace was awesome, and showcased
Bernies vocal range and the emotion that he sings with, another totally
incredible number. Soon the encores came, I remember Lady in Black, Bird of
Prey(?? I think) I am sure there was another one, but this poor chap was
absolutely hypnotised by the moment. I do also remember another guitarist
appearing onstage on one track, and found it to be Pip Williams. After Heep
left the stage, an announcement was made by Bob Carruthters that the first 3
songs needed to be redone, video difficulties or something.
During the break, Dave Owen came through a doorway, and motioned to me to
follow him. I had known ahead of time that he wanted my help with something
and it had to do with a cake. But I was not prepared for the incredible
experience I am about to convey. Dave led me backstage and said that he
will go onstage after the last song, and say a few words. My job was to
follow him with a cake adorned with sparklers. Dave would ask the audience
to sing Happy Birthday (or was it Heepy Birthday?) Backstage, I met some
of the crew, Bob Carruthers dressed up in kilts and sporting Bag Pipes and
Pip, anxiously awaiting the moment with Dave. It was so cool hearing the
first few songs played again, and seeing from a backstage perspective. Did
I die and go to heaven or was this really happening?? I did burn my thumb
trying to light the sparklers, and will cherish the burn forever, sweet
pain!!! :-) I have a blister on my thumb, so it was real!!!!! I
remember one of Bernies jokes after the 4th song, he said "I may be from
Canada, but that was 4" Bob shouted back to him "More Fool You", how
appropriate, hee hee, but then I realized, that he meant do that number
again as well. After "More Fool You", Dave Owen winked at me and said
showtime!! I followed him with the cake, being careful not to trip over any
wires. I was not scared to be onstage, just totally amazed and excited.
Dave walked to a mike in the back, so I went to the front of the stage and
stood next to the band where they were assembling. I rememeber Mick hugging
me, shaking hands with Phil and then saying to Bernie "Dave Owens bet me 20
pounds I won't mash this in your face, Bernie says, I'll give you 30 not to"
As the crowd was singing, I felt such a rush of adrenalin, pleasure and
excitement. Here I was, a heep fan for over 26 years, never having seeen
them live, and then being onstage with my heroes!! Wow!! Why me?? I do
not know why I was chosen (of course I suspect Dave White may have been
behind it) but I am thankful for the opportunity, and very very greatful!!
One last note, after I left the stage, when Heep came off, Mick stopped,
hugged me for the umpteenth time (I loved every one of them) and said "Was
it worth the trip Mate?"
Overall impression, not having seen Heep live in person, I cannot compare
this. We all know this was something unique, and it came off extremely
well. The band is very professional, so talented and so entertaining. Everyone there, seemed to be highly impressed and positive about the show.
The cool part is there will be a cd and a dvd, so I get to relive the
experience the rest of my life!! I will now know how Dale Fredericks feels
when he listens to the King Biscuit cd. And to answer Micks question to all
of you YES IT WAS WORTH THE TRIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Insanely Driven to see Accoustically Driven and now deliriously happy"
From Clive Arnold
What night at the Unplugged recordings . Get your order in for
the DVD CD NOW! The show was just ace! The format worked Heep have produced
another winner . See them live next year. Roll on march at Folkestone .
Easy Livin and A Happy Heepmas
From Mark Verney
I went to the unplugged concert last night and it was brilliant,
cannot wait for the DVD. Highlight for me was Circus.
From Marcel Wigmans, Brian & Lorraine Jones, Louis Raindrops KFOMH
Hello Dave and all Heepsters, Yesterday we had the opportunity to
see a glimpse of whats going to be the acoustically driven tonight. It's so
exciting to over 25 people working with the band...and there will be lots
of musical surprises.
About this more later on... Down in the ROYAL GEORGE
PUB!! we had a great meeting with japanese, swedish,Israeli,Canadian, USA
:Mr. Winward with passport:-)) Danish, Dutch, English and Scottish
Heepsters. Mick and Trevor showed up after a long day rehearsing...which
whas very much appreciated.
Dave Owen, and gang showed us the new
Acoustically driven T-shirt...which looks great. Please add it to the
site...In London everybody have seen it now. So please stay tuned
everybody.....and yes Dave we listened to your Theme during the soundcheck.
Thanks for the nice words and we will be missing you and all the Heepsters
who wanted to be here.. Pictures and reports...monday in the afternoon...
From Laurence Roughton
Just to say thank you for a brilliant night on Saturday. There must have been some sort of method in the madness, because everything came together beautifully ! Shame we could not taste the cake. Having heard from you how this came about, I got a fit of giggles when I saw the candelabras and imagined the following conversation between you and Bob, sometime on Saturday morning :
Bob : Dave, need some candelabras for tonight.
You : What for ?
Bob : Never mind what for, just find me some will you.
You : Where am I going to find candelabras from ?
Bob : I don't know, try the church, bribe the vicar, chat up the choir girls, just use your imagination !
Whichever way you got them, they looked very Phantom of the Opera like and rather effective !
Needless to say that the music was sensational. A great night !
From Bob Winward
(From the Heepsters Mailing List)
> Bob doesn't know it...but he is in for a very big suprise tomorrow night
Oh yes, this was a surprise of my lifetime, and certainly a more positive
one than forgetting my passport.
It started when I wrote Dave O before I left to see if there was any last
minute changes. He wrote back all is well, but he had a little job for me
to do at the show. Little did I know what I was in store for. At the
Accoustically Riden event, just after the encore, Bob Carruthers announces
the band has to replay the first few songs as the video did not come out.
During the break, Dave Owen summons me backstage.
Once back there he says
that there is going to be a cake for the bands 30th anniversary, and he
wanted me to carry it out and present it, while he said a few words. So
backstage, I see all the crew, I see Pip Williams doing his thing etc. It
was so cool to see the band performing from that angle. Then, the moment of
reckoning came, and we walked out with sparklers on the cake, following Dave
Owen. But Dave walked to the mike in the back, so I walked up on front of
the stage where the band assembles and I hold the cake.
I then waved my arm
in an upward motion to encourage the audience in singing Heepy Birthday!!!
I felt like the guy in movie Rudy (the moment of fame) I was not scared.
but I was in awe, here was the band taking bows and me standing there with a
cake for them!! Just the 6 of us!! I shook hands with Bernie and I
whispered to him that Dave O bet me 20 pounds that I would not mash this in
your face. He says, don't do it mate, I will give you 30!! Then I shook
hands with Mick, Phil, Lee and Trevor. I then decided to exit stage left,
while they took their final bows.
I cannot beging to describe the feeling
of elation and shock that I had. It was totally a dream come true for me!!
I waited backstage, as the band exits, Mick stops by and gives me a big hug,
and says "was it worth the trip mate?" Wow!!!! Please no one pinch me and
wake me up!!
From Rob Corich
Hi Dave, heres the prognosis so far:
In a few words ...I loved it last night ...great atmosphere ....stunningly
put together by the guys ..Hats of to Bernie especially: This guy's singing
is getting better and better everytime I hear him. Some of the best
'acoustic' songs were one's that many of us would never have dreamed might
have worked so well. A lot of work obviously went into this by the band and
there is no doubt they were being adventurous, often trying unusual things
within the music. ('Adventurous' in music is something those of you who know
me know I like a great deal)
Did they succeed in what they were attempting to do? Well in my humble
opinion they exceeded anyones expectations. This concert really was a class
act by a class act.
Ratings against other unplugged concerts I have witnessed: Definetly one of
the best and proof that a good song will hold its own and they picked a bunch
of really good ones.
I really hope this gets the exposure and credit it deserves. After all Heep
were doing 'unplugged' things in the early seventies, years before MTV or
anyone else had dreamed up the idea.
Great job guys. Thanks for inviting me.
I will do a track by track review when Dave sends me the list.
Take care, Rob
From Paul Sweeting
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 23:50:52 -0000
I have to say that the weekend was the best thing I have ever seen. I was so glad to be part of it and it was so good to see the band afterwards. FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From Rob Corich
...just returned from gig ...really REALLY good
From Arthur Hornby
Nearly 30 years ago I had the pleasure of seeing a new
band called Uriah Heep perform at the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone. I guess
they were one of the bands that really got me into rock music. Three or four
times we were lucky enough to have the band return to the same venue. On
December 9th, at the Mermaid Theatre, an 'Unplugged' Uriah Heep had me near
to tears as all the memories and emotions from a bygone(?) era returned. No
standing with a pint head banging this time, but a proper theatre with all
the respectable 40 plus patrons sitting sedately waiting to be entertained.
Enter the band. A different line up to that of yesteryear, clean cut and
A stage set without rows of amps, I don't think anyone really new
what to expect. Sod respectable! The regular Heepsters were straight into
the atmosphere of the night, with us 'lost soles returned', about half a
second behind. From the first wonderful rendition, the evening just got
From early receptions of loud applause, to standing ovations that
took me back to god knows when, the Heep could not put a foot wrong. After
the obligatory encore, which blended much of the early music into one
excellent piece, we had the treat of our lives. Another rendition of the
first three songs. My heartfelt thanks to the relevant camera crew(you know
who you are). Not content to leave it there, another half hour of extra
This was definitely the best entertainment I have had in
years. I must just add that Ian Anderson, the string quartet, the backing
singers and the two accompanying musicians on percussion, Irish pipes, steel
guitar and all the other backing instruments, brought that something extra
that takes 'special' to 'excellent'.
From Mike Taylor
Well, Denise and I have just returned to the Isle of Wight from a really
excellent evening of music and partying at The Mermaid.
We arrived at about 6.30pm and there was already a queue outside with some
familiar faces. Within a few minutes Bob Winward turned up with Boris and
shortly after the doors opened and in we went. Sadly we couldn't take any
camera's in so we all had them removed to be collected again before the party.
There was just enough time for a quick drink before making our way into the
theatre. I had a quick chat with Rod, Louis, Dave O, Ian Mac, Louis Ramp and
a few others so I knew that it was going to be a great evening.
The Theatre itself is quite intimate and can seat quite a few hundred in
absolute comfort and all with an excellent view.
Denise and I followed Bob to about 3 rows from the front to the left of the
stage where we had a really great view of the stage.
Shortly after that the band come on stage to a huge reception followed by all
the supporting musicians. At this stage everyone rose to their feet cheering
and clapping. The band were visibly moved by this reception and admitted that
they were a little nervous.
Looking at the stage Mick sat just left of centre with Trevor sitting just
right of centre. Bernie of course sat in the middle. Just to right and a
little behind Trevor was Phil in a dress suit surrounded by hammond and Grand
piano. At the back underneath a film screen was Lee. Behind Mick and a little
to the left on a raised piece of stage were 2 of the support musicians, a
steel guitar/ slide guitar player and a percussionist. Immediately behind
Mick were 3 very attractive female backing singers and behind Phil also on a
raised bit of stage were 4 equally attractive girls making up a string
This may seem very strange but I can't remember what song started the show
but I'm sure someone will remind me. The whole show was TRULY AWESOME, the
sound quality superb; not too loud but quite loud enough. The numbers
included were all those included on the sign up page on heep.com and all were
greeted extremely enthusiastically by everyone with perhaps the biggest cheer
for a really excellent version of The Golden Palace. The band began to relax
a little as time went on and by the time Ian Anderson came on everything was
working superbly well.
Ian did two numbers with the band playing his flute
and standing on one leg during both; Circus and Blind Eye where his flute
took the part of the twin lead guitars from the original. You will have to
wait for the DVD to see just how well this worked. This was one of the many
highlights of the evening.
Ian then introduced the awarding of Silver discs to the band for Sonic
Origami for 50,000 sales before taking his leave to rapturous applause.
The main set finished to Lady in Black but of course the band were brought
back very noisily for an encore. At they end of the show Bob Carruthers
announced that some technical gremlins had got in so we would have to endure
the first 4 songs again. Were we upset by this? I think NOT. Shortly into
this Bob W was called away much to his surprise and very soon he was up on
stage carrying a cake which he presented to the band along with Dave O. I'm
sure Bob will tell you more.
Well, what of the Party? There isn't much to say except that we all got our
chance to chat and have pictures taken with Mick and the Boys and as you can
imagine they were in great demand. I did have a chance for a quick chat with
Pip Williams but couldn't hear much as the other part of the evenings
entertainment, a Beatles tribute band called The Cheatles started. I have to
say they were great. They looked, dressed and sounded totally authentic, even
down to the instruments and amps. If you looked quickly they were the Beatles.
At about midnight people started to leave and we took that as our cue to head
back to the hotel. Bob shared our taxi and has promised to send in a MAJOR
report on his return.
From Tadashi Tanaka
Thank you for the best birthday of my life
(Born in Osaka, Japan Dec. 9th 1959)
From Webmaster Louis Rentrop
Webmaster - Uriah Heep.com
Marcel, Arnold and I arrived the friday afternoon, and met up with Brian &
Lorraine Jones. We directly went to the Mermaid. There we were surprised
with CREW passes, so we could walk in and out as much as we liked. We sat in
the venue for a few hours watching the rehearsels and soundcheck. It was
amazing to see how many people were involved. The stringquartet, a
percussionist so good!! He played the scottish pipes...really stunning.
It's used at the end of Circle of hands....wonderfull. The backing singers,
three gorgious ladies..
I remember them best for their part in Come back to
me. 'TAKE A PIECE OF MY HEART' is what they keep repating backing Bernie.
It gives the songs a special touch. Bernie after the show told me, he really
got emotional during the song. You will hear and feel that emotion on the
CD.! The steel guitarist plays a few wonderlfull parts in Why did you go and
the Golden Palace for instance. Am I still talking about the
rehearsels:-))?? Yes I am...but that said this review will take to much...
Well I have to mention the moment when Dave Whites theme was played and
he's wishing everyone a great evening....that was great Dave...and very much
appreciated! Personally Rod & I where completely surprised by the platinum
disc we got from the band.
They made my weekend...what? They make this year for me.
Well you all noticed the setlist. You should have seen Ian Anderson acting
on stage in the duets with Bernie, Phil and Mick....he also has a great
sence of humor. He said Mick had kept all his hair in a remarkeble way:-)
following with presenting the band their siver disc for Sonic Origami. My
favorites of the night? Come back to me, Traveller in time, the Golden
Palace, Circus... and the medley: The Wizard, Paradise, Circle of hands..
The show was great, and so was the audience....the band was so happy with
the response they got..
Lots of mercho was sold, so it was a very succesfull night.Dave Owen & Alan
Hartley were busy heepsalesmen
A big hand for Bob Carruthers who was there and everywhere...even playing
the pipes himself at the end of the show.
What a man!!
We met up with everybody, Mike mentioned a few...well they came from Japan,
Sweden, South Africa, France, Italy, USA, Canada,Holland, Belgium, Germany,
Norway, Finland....you name it. So many great Heepsters just to see the
Well this is it for the moment...pictures tomorrow evening....about noon