Eight years after the fact, the aptly titled Raw Power label epilogized the John Lawton lineup of Uriah Heep with this double album document of their final European tour. Live in Europe 1979 splits its set list between the band's "classic" tracks and material from the three albums this lineup produced (Firefly, Innocent Victim, Fallen Angel). Recalling that Uriah Heep were still stars in Europe, it was a logical venue for them. Yet even on compact disc (which subtracted "Who Needs Me" from its vinyl counterpart), the recording quality leaves something to be desired. Lee Kerslake's drums and Ken Hensley's keyboards often sound remote, placing the final product somewhere between a bootleg and a properly mixed release. Fans will only find it a minor distraction, though, acclimating themselves to the sonic limitations soon enough and focusing on the performance. And here the band doesn't disappoint, putting a little more energy (and some much needed bite) into their recent work while rendering the classics with the requisite amount of care. The burning question for many is how Lawton handles the Byron-era material, and the answer is "pretty well." Unable to reach the operatic heights of his predecessor, his "Gypsy" is something of a compromise, but he handles "The Wizard" and "Lady in Black" just fine. There aren't any real surprises on here (except that European audiences know all the words to "Free Me"), the band instead sticking closely to the originals. Sure, there are a couple of nice guitar solos from Mick Box, and a keyboard solo on "Sweet Lorraine" to fill in around the audience participation segment, but no missing links to the puzzle. In 2001, Sanctuary released a double-disc expanded version of Live in Europe 1979, adding six more songs (most of them different versions of tracks already represented on the original).
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AllMusic Review by Dave Connolly
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2