Title: The Magicianís Birthday Party (CD/DVD Boxed Set w/Booklet)
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: Classic Rock Productions-www.classicrockproductions.com
I have been chomping at the bit for a few months now trying to get my equipment in line to view this DVD. It was worth the wait. This performance by Uriah Heep in London in December 2001 was an incredible event to witness. I jumped right inside my TV set, and then it was like I was there straight on through the night for the entire show.
This is exhilarating and exceedingly good footage of Uriah Heep live. The stage is full of rock and roll legends all night long. Ken Hensley joins the band and plays a lot of slide guitar and of course his trademark keyboards. John Lawton, the former lead singer, joins in on the festivities later on in the evening. Bernie Lawton and John make quite a duo. Bernieís voice has incredible range, he gets extremely high at times, and it really was more evident to me after actually watching him perform opposed to just listening to the CD portion of this beautiful boxed set. He must have a lot of tea and honey when his night is thru. Thijis Van Leer, formerly of <i>Focus</i>, is on hand to play a beautiful flute accompaniment to the band and give the group an even more progressive Tullish sound. Hensley and Phil Lanzon provide a beautiful dual keyboard combination for the extensive UH catalog. They played very well together with Lanzon jumping back and forth from the Steinway to the electric keyboards and Hensley from keys to guitar (acoustic and electric). The drummer, Lee Kerslake, has a great rock Ďní roll voice, and one that is used infrequently on this particular set. He does play a mean kazoo on ďThe Magicianís BirthdayĒ I must admit. Coordination definitely comes into play as he plays the drums while humming with the kazoo, and he never misses a beat.
I never realized the energy that this group had live until actually witnessing it with my own eyes. These guys have been around a mighty long time, and even though their age is beginning to show physically, there are no signs of any slowing down in the performance department. Mick Box is a joy to watch, he had a smile from ear to ear all night long. You could tell he was right at home amongst friends as he wailed away with his six-string, helping each classic Heep tune become recreated before the standing and cheering crowd. There are some really nice close-ups of Boxís fingers going up and down the neck of the guitar; itís a view that not too many people could possible have, even if there were in the front row of the venue.
There are some cut away shots from live footage that give you snippets of the convention that went on before the show and the customary interviews with the group members. Mick said that they want to make this an annual event, letís hope that they bring it to these shores one day for the U.S. Heepsters that canít afford the trek to London. If that doesnít happen thatís okay too, we will always have a DVD to watch to relive all those special moments that we may not have had to chance to see up close and personal. Hey, this is the next best thing to being there, and readmission is free.
© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
August 1, 2002
Box-Guitar and Vocals
Kerslake-Drums and Vocals
Bolder-Bass and Vocals
Lanzon-Keyboards and Vocals
Guests-Ken Hensley, John Lawton, Thijis Van Leer
Singers-Emma Robbins, Kim Chandler, Aileen McLaughlin