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Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday Party 2001
Classic Rock Productions
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2002-07-23
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Artist: Uriah Heep (www.uriah-heep.com)
Title: The Magician's Birthday Party 2001
Label: Classic Rock Productions (www.classicrockproductions.com)
Genre: Progressive Rock

Over the past few months I have been soaking up the entire Uriah Heep catalog, one album at a time. This package is the crown jewel of everything I have heard thus far. It's a specially packaged DVD Video, CD, and Booklet set that I have been so very fortunate to receive. Since my DVD player is on the fritz I figured I could at least review the CD. To be quite honest I just couldn't wait, I had to hear it. I make no bones about it folks; I have always loved Uriah Heep. They were the first progressive rock band I ever listened to. At the time I didn't know what the hell I was hearing, I just knew I really liked it. Now I am self professed prog-rock freak and a loyal Heepster to the core!

This one time special evening on December 7th 2001 brought together original members Ken Hensley and Mick Box for the first time in twenty years. Hensley left the group so abruptly it seemed that he never really got a chance to say goodbye to all the loyal fans that supported the group he helped to build. Ken finally got his chance to say thanks and goodbye all in one spectacular evening. Known for his tremendously talented keyboarding skills, many folks don't realize he originally started on the guitar. Well, he picked up that six-string on this night and played some rousing slide, much to the delight of the charmed audience. This was a magical night filled with many memorable highlights. This event started a entire group of Heep related parties with books, memorabilia, a Christmas party, an evening with John Lawton and Ken Hensley, Lawton's band had an evening to play, and finally the Heep Festival Club bash, which featured all things Heep to get you warmed up for the main event.

This guys are all middle aged rockers, some balding (like yours truly), but they still can still keep up with the younger artists, and they sound just as good as they ever did, and much better than many groups half their age. Listen now, every song is just killer on this CD, with no exception. The band is rockin' straight on through the night without any dithering whatsoever. The musicianship is beyond reproach and the singing is simply fantastic, and that includes the lead, harmony, and background singing. What else do I need to say? You can see the songs that are presented here, all classic Heep, covering most of their long and storied career, its all here. Even Thijis Van Leer of Focus is on hand to do his famous yodeling and play some flute.

The accompanying booklet is filled with gorgeous color shots of the evening's concert along with informative liner notes. And the DVD is the second part that makes this package complete. I can hardly wait to watch it; it's making me as crazy as a bedbug not being able to view it, so standby for the review come hell or high water.

Make sure you pay a visit to the marvelous Classic Rock Productions site. They have PDF press kits for downloading so you can read about the new releases, beautiful shots of both CD and DVD covers from releases that they offer, just about everything you could possibly imagine that you would want to find on a label's site and more is found there. It's a very entertaining and informative site, with just tons of all of your favorite classic prog-rock music. So its time to get back in a good rock and roll groove and log on to their site to purchase this outstanding memento to the rock legends Uriah Heep. If you are a prog-rock lover you need to do this, it's your duty to carry the torch to the next generation of listeners. This is your time to bask in the glow of some of the greatest live progressive rock music you shall ever hear, nuff' said.

1. Return To Fantasy
2. Tales
3. Sweet Pretender
4. I'll Keep Trying
5. July Morning
6. Paradise/The Spell
7. Circle of Hands
8. The Magician's Birthday
9. Sympathy
10. Free 'n' Easy
11. Sunrise
12. Easy Livin'

Credits:
Mick Box-Guitar and Vocals
Lee Kerslake-Drums and Vocals
Trevor Bolder-Bass and Vocals
Phil Lanzon-Keyboards and Vocals
Bernie Shaw-Lead Vocals
Special Guests-Ken Hensley, John Lawton, Thijis Van Leer
Backing Singers-Emma Robbins, Kim Chandler, Aileen McLaughlin


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