Rock royalty Uriah Heep were back in the lower mainland for the second time is as many years, putting on a storming performance opening for Judas Priest.
It has been a little over a year since Uriah Heep graced the stage at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, on what proved to be a phenomenal return to the lower mainland. It was especially memorable for front man Bernie Shaw, as he told us in our recent interview. The Victoria BC born native had a lot of friends and family in the audience, and the reception that the band got that night was incredible.
I was not expecting to see them again for a while, so it was a great surprise to find out that they would be supporting Judas Priest on the North America leg of their Firepower tour.
After braving the rush hour traffic out of the city, and syching myself up by listening to both Priest and Heep on the drive I was ready for my first taste of music at the Abbotsford Centre.
The arena was perhaps about half full when Heep took to the stage, but the ones who were there were ready to rock, and thankfully the security were OK with Bernie encouraging those with floor seats to come down to the front which really added to the atmosphere. By the time the band wrapped up their hour long set the place was much fully, and the audience was fully engaged.
Say something about the crowd, how full, and Heep fans etc.
Last time I had seen them it was shortly before the release of Living the Dream, so we did not get to hear any songs form the album. They made up for it this time, opening with rocker Grazed By Heaven, the first track on the album, and a good up-tempo number to get the audience engaged. After almost 50 years in the business the band know how to get a crowd off their feet, and even though they were the opening act, they did what they do best, and it made for a great show.
Next up was a bit of a surprise – Too Scared to Run from the Abominog album. Last time out we did not hear anything from this album, so this was a nice surprise. After this we were back to the new album with Take Away My Soul, which featured some wicked keys from Phil Lanzon, and really does feel like a great throwback to the 70’s.
I am not sure if it was playing to the Priest audience a little, but the set seemed to particularly heavy, a real reminder that the band were one of the early metal acts, and shows that they still have it. There energy throughout the show was at 110%. None more so than an extended Look at Yourself which feature some screaming guitars courtesy of Mr. Box.
By the time we got to the top of the hour allotted for the set everyone was engaged in singing Stealin’. At this point Bernie promised to return to this part of the world as part of the bands 50th Anniversary celebrations next year. Given the response from the audience this would be every welcome.
Of course, the no set would be complete without Easy Livin’, after which the band took their bows, to a very appreciative crowd.
Hurry back lads.
- Grazed by Heaven
- Too Scared to Run
- Take Away My Soul
- Between Two Worlds
- Look At Yourself
- Easy Livin’
Check out our images form the show courtesy of Stewart Johnstone.