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Uriah Heep - The Classic Rock Years DVD review

Live Heep feast.

For the purposes of this three-CD/three-DVD slimline box, The Classic Rock Years refers to the beginning of the 21st century when Uriah Heep began to reap the benefits of their 15-year unchanged line-up, which was by far the longest in their history.

Pick of the box is The Magician’s Birthday Party (on CD and a DVD which has more tracks but, oddly, a different running order) from 2001 at Shepherd’s Bush Empire when an (often bitterly) estranged Ken Hensley rejoined the band. It’s a measure of Heep’s self confidence that they take Hensley’s guest appearance in their stride. Stalwart Heep fans are ecstatic, but if you look closely you can see why this was a one-off reunion. However, Heep are feeling so magnanimous they even bring back former vocalist John Lawton for a couple of songs.

A second DVD cleverly segues two consecutive shows in Trenton, New Jersey (one outdoors, one indoors, although the sound seems to come from the latter), and adds their 2004 Between Two Worlds show (also on CD) while the third CD features a documentary narrated by Tommy Vance and a show in Bulgarian from 1999. Throughout every show it’s difficult to tell who’s having more fun, the band or the audience.