URIAH HEEP – Live at Koko
Welcome to another double CD/ Blu-Ray DVD set from the veteran U.K. progressive oriented hard rock act Uriah Heep- this time recorded in front of a hometown London crowd at Koko’s. Supporting their 24th studio album "Outsider", the current incarnation may only contain guitarist Mick Box as the sole original member left standing, but keyboardist Phil Lanzon and vocalist Bernie Shaw have now been in Uriah Heep for 29 years – while drummer Russell Gilbrook has 7 plus years at the kit. Only bassist Davey Rimmer is the newcomer, having been in and out as a substitute since 2013.
What can we expect from these English lads? A veritable history lesson in blues-based progressive hard rock – a time when the Hammond organ played as important role as the six string electric guitar. Bernie does his best to get the crowd involved through his playful banter, hand clapping, and unison sing-a-longs. They don’t hesitate to dig deep into their 70’s back catalog early: "Sunrise" and "Stealin" appear within the first 25 minutes of the set, reminding the audience of their prime time 1972-1973 era. Newer material like the up-tempo "Between Two Worlds", the slinky groove number "Nail on the Head" and title track to 2011’s fine "Into the Wild" album also gains appreciation, proving that Uriah Heep are not content to rest on their archives.
Ultimately, the second CD contains a lot of the stunners in the back catalog – the energetic keyboard/ guitar romper "Look at Yourself", the epic "July Morning", and of course their major hit "Easy Living". The bluesy melodies are timeless, the riffs and hooks born to boogie and prove that the band at times could rival Deep Purple from a musical chemistry and entertainment standpoint. Considering their last live album hit the streets four years ago, it’s questionable whether "Live in Koko" is essential outside of the die-hard Uriah Heep fanatic. But if you like live documentation of your favorite artists, this shows the band is still ripping it up on the stage.