Future Echoes of the Past
aka The Very Best of Uriah Heep Live
Special Edition cover
- Mick Box (G)
- Bernie Shaw (LV)
- Phil Lanzon (K)
- Trevor Bolder (B)
- Lee Kerslake (D)
Overview: To celebrate 30 years as a rock band, with more than 30 million albums sold, with more than 3000 concerts in more than 30 countries, and to celebrate 15 years of the current lineup, Heep wanted to present their fans with a special album that both acknowledges their glorious past and looks ahead to a prosperous future. Recorded at two shows in Germany in late 1999, this set beautifully mixes old classics with the best of the new.
The Special Edition contains a far superior album cover (it’s a shame the record company has not chosen to go with Steve Murray’s inventive artwork for the regular edition found in stores), as well as bonus liner notes and a different title. Pip Williams provides fascinating song-by-song notes, including exactly where the small snippets of redo had to be made on a handful of songs (all due to keyboard sound problems). You’ll have to get the Special Edition to find out exactly where, but suffice it to say that except for these minor edits, what you hear is exactly what the band played on those two nights. As Pip says in his notes, “Rest assured that none of the most demanding ‘ballburster’ lines were touched!”
Overall, an absolutely superior album, and for me, the equal of Live 1973. Grade: A
- Between Two Worlds. The opening song from Sonic Origami launches like a blitzkrieg strike, hurtling considerably faster than the original, but the lads hit every note. Right from the start, Phil’s Hammond is especially strong, Trevor’s bass lines are more inventive than the original, Lee pummels his set, and Bernie is spot on as usual, emotion brimming. The Maestro, Mick, has never sounded this good. In fact, Uriah Heep has never sounded this good on record before.
- I Hear Voices. A bold move by the band, beginning their album with six new songs and only one old -- a strong testament to the strength of their songwriting skills. I Hear Voices thunders with a power not quite caught in the studio, led by Mick’s snarling axe.
- Stealin’. A faithful, powerful rendition of the original with probably the best harmony and lead vocal work ever on this song.
- Universal Wheels. Highlighted by a series of superb solos from Phil, Lee, and Mick, this song rrumbles with more power than the original studio.
- Time of Revelation. Tremendously exciting drumwork from Lee drives this modern raver, very much old-style Heep heavy rock. Lee’s skill underlying Mick’s solo is especially noteworthy.
- Only the Young. The unrelenting pace continues as the band segues into their third consecutive song without a break. Much heavier than the studio version, somehow Bernie and the Heep choir manage not only to be heard clearly over the band’s Marshall speakers, they stay perfectly in tune! The solo tradeoffs between Mick and Phil at the end are marvelous.
- Sweet Freedom. The original was probably Gary Thain’s finest moment in the studio with Heep, and Trevor more than rises to the occasion. The Heep choir is amazingly rich, Phil’s organ swells flood the arena, and Bernie in particular brings the gospel flavor to its full spiritual experience.
- Rain. A beautiful duet between Phil and Bernie in a moving rendition of Ken Hensley’s best ballad. While they perform with a great deal of freedom, they are perfectly true to the spirit of the original.
- Feels Like. Again, heavier than the original on this modern Heep stomper, with a trippy outro reminiscent of Seven Stars, including a full solo from Lee.
- Sunrise. A moving, somewhat different arrangement of this classic. Bernie is especially powerful in his interpretation, and his aahhhs at the finale are particularly impressive.
- Heartless Land. A highlight for showing off Mick’s versatility on acoustic guitar. Only Uriah Heep continuously and convincingly pulls off such a great mix of the heavy and the acoustic.
- Shelter From the Rain. An emotional performance of one of Trevor’s best songs, especially Bernie and Mick. The Maestro’s solos are two of his finest of the entire set.
- Love in Silence. Heep’s finest progressive rock song in the last 25 years features some of the most amazing bass playing ever heard. Exceptional ensemble playing on this complex piece, Mick sticks to the acoustic while Trevor and Phil take the solos. The emotion is so strong, that when disc one ends, you feel that you could end the concert then and there.
- July Morning. Stunning virtuosity from each member in the band. Of special note, Bernie’s high notes are spectacular and Mick’s famous wah-wah solo at the end is maniacally ferocious. Trevor is especially impressive both with his solo on the long opening, and his playing underneath Mick’s solo. One of the best performances ever of Heep’s signature piece.
- Bird of Prey. Bernie’s banshee howling atop one of this great progressive metal classic. How does Lee manage to drum like the devil and still sing like an angel? This is such a physically demanding piece, yet Lee is spot on with both the sticks and the voice.
- Gypsy. Always powerful, this is probably the finest solo Phil has ever turned in on this number.
- Everything in Life. A great segue by Lee leads into one of Heep’s best ever rock ‘n’ roll numbers. Lee’s agility is absolutely blinding.
- Easy Livin’. Heep ends the show with a blazing performance of their biggest hit. As the band walks off, the crowd raises the roof crying for more and soon Heep is back on stage for….
- Question. Surprisingly, Heep opens their encore with an acoustic masterpiece, their best ballad from Sonic Origami. The Heep choir is particularly strong on this track that is as strong as anything from their classic years.
- Look at Yourself. A great raucous performance of this Heep standard featuring more virtuoso performances from the ensemble, especially the solo work from both Mick and Phil. Wear the headphones for this one -- this is where the guys condense what used to be 45-50 minutes of solid soloing into one 9-minute frenzy that will leave you breathless.
- Lady in Black. Mick’s traditional acoustic solo is done here at the end, since The Wizard is not included in this set. It leads to the perennial sing-a-long, in which the fans are as loud as, if not louder than, the Heep choir on the famous wordless chorus. An outstanding performance of this classic.
- Bonus Track: Come Away Melinda. Recorded at a soundcheck in a single take, this is another stunning performance of their first-ever cover song, proving once again that they own this classic song.