- Mick Box (G)
- Bernie Shaw (LV)
- Phil Lanzon (K)
- Trevor Bolder (B)
- Lee Kerslake (D)
- Special Guest Ian Anderson (flute)
Overview: Raw and raucous are the two words that immediately come to mind hearing this already legendary show. “Official bootleg” is the official subtitle, and that’s the sensation one feels listening to this, that you’re listening to a soundboard recording. Considering that this is Heep’s third live album release of 2001, this bootleg feel is essential in making this a must-have. Pip Williams' production is a very light touch compared to the polished Future Echoes, and the tracks that carry over from both Future Echoes and Acoustically Driven sound radically different. What it all boils down to is the most “live” record Heep has ever released. Crank the knobs to 11 and experience all but the crush of bodies next to the stage!! However, be forewarned, the emphasis on this show is on the “Very ‘eavy” and not the “Very ‘umble!” Grade: A+
- Return to Fantasy. From the instant Lee’s new powerhouse drum intro explodes, you know you’ve never heard Heep ever play Return like this!! The band has re-tooled this song for the 21st Century -- the 70’s synthesizer leads and fills are replaced by Mick’s bludgeoning riffs and Lee’s machine-gun drumming, producing a new classic that can stand up to Against The Odds in terms of sheer power. Phil’s Hammond swells and the Heep choir lends the song a richness to separate it from the current crop of metal knockoff bands. Bernie sings with a gusto that surpasses anything he’s ever done previously.
- Universal Wheels. Although it’s now a concert staple, this version is such a brutal force compared to the version released on Future Echoes, it almost sounds like a new song. Of particular note is Phil’s piano solo that lends a brief moment of gentleness before the onslaught renews, as well as Bernie’s piercing scream at the 4-minute mark that recalls David Byron.
- Bird of Prey. The triumph of their first headlining tour of the UK in a decade is fully felt on the opening notes as the band thunders through this classic faster than ever. Lee and Trevor rein Mick in slightly, but once Phil swoops in with his Hammond, the band charge full throttle. Bernie remains unflappable, hitting every scream and high note spot on with the control and accuracy of a great opera singer. Mick’s solo has never sounded so heavy on the funk section.
- Stealin’. If anyone doubts that Bernie Shaw is one of the greatest singers in rock, lay those doubts to rest. The subtlety and charisma of Byron, the throaty power of Lawton, the range of Sloman, Bernie has it all and nowhere does he prove that better than on this, the Americans’ favorite Heep number.
- Between Two Worlds. Heep’s relentless assault continues on what is arguably their best song of the past decade. The entire band is in high groove now, especially Lee and Trevor -- so tight they sound like one person. Phil’s keys are especially rich underneath, more so than on Sonic Origami or Future Echoes, and Mick’s solo on the outro rips loose, a burst of unrestrained energy.
- I Hear Voices. Another track that has never sounded so heavy before (unless you were fortunate to witness the 2001 US Tour -- if so, you’ll be well-prepared for the heavy assault!!) By the end of this track, you’re physically ready for a break.
- Come Away Melinda. Perfect timing for this gentle, poignant ballad. This is much more free flowing than both the 1970 original and the soundcheck from Future Echoes. Mick’s acoustic is more upfront in the mix than it’s ever been and one of the highlights of the entire album. He, Bernie, and Phil all play the song much differently than you’ve ever heard before.
- Circus. Joined by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and his tremendous improv abilities, this also sounds much different from the version played just three months earlier for Acoustically Driven. Ian’s flute lines are less restrained and have much more of the classic Tull feel, perfect for an electrically driven night! Trevor’s bass playing is much more clear as well, allowing us to hear his amazing chops.
- Blind Eye. As on Circus, Anderson’s flute is much more Tullian than the acoustic version, although the tempo may be faster than some fans will like. But the groove is infectous and surprisingly leads to some serious toe tapping! Lee’s harmony vocals are especially strong here.
- Sunrise. Lee kicks the band back into full-throttle heavy rock. Mick’s guitar is especially chunky on the heavy sections, the quiet sections are church-like in their solemnity, and Trevor’s lead bass is one to make any master musician sit up and take notice.
- Gypsy. It doesn’t get much heavier than this!! There’s no holding back from anyone, band or fans, on the ultimate headbanging song!! Never has Phil sounded so viscous on his solo as he pushes his Hammond to its limits to overcome Mick’s wah-wah. The final choir “aahhh” is a capella, except for a single note on the B3 that leads directly into....
- July Morning. The most famous of all Heep openings has never been played with such joyous abandonment as this! It sounds as if whatever the band might’ve been holding back has been let loose at this raptorous moment. Trevor in particular takes his playing to heights we’ve never heard before, and it’s everything the rest of the band can do just to match his inspired standard. And that’s before his bass solo, which may be Trevor’s singular greatest moment as a Heep bassist!
There are nearly as many versions of July Morning as there are Uriah Heep albums, but it has NEVER been played like this before! Mick attacks his solo as if to vent all the frustrations of being locked out of performing in his homeland for ten years, the band echoing with a cathartic force of their own. Your money will be well spent simply to listen to this, which just may become THE Heep performance to which all others are compared.
- Easy Livin’. This is the only possible song to follow July Morning. The triumph of the evening, and of 2001 in general, is evident in the total release of everything they have left into the evening’s final song. A little ragged, perhaps, but possibly the most honest performance of their entire career.