The Magician's Birthday Party

Uriah Heep

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The Magician's Birthday Party Review

by Dave Thompson

On December 7, 2001, an all-star Uriah Heep lineup came together to celebrate 32 years of a band that, in fairness, many people (mainly music critics) really didn't expect to last that many months. Heep were soundly thrashed by the press in their time, but they survived not only the slings and arrows of the media, but also a revolving door lineup that makes Menudo look stable. Several of those past players -- Ken Hensley and John Lawton among them -- were present on this night, which found the band looking back over its entire career and pulling out a set that could double as the greatest Greatest Hits album a fan could ever hope for. Certainly the version of "July Morning" here rivals any earlier incarnation of that song, but just as thrilling is "Between Two Worlds," from their most recent album, featuring guest star Thijs van Leer (Focus) on flute. Elsewhere, the opening "Stealin'," "I'll Keep on Trying," "The Magician's Birthday," "Sunrise," and "Easy Living" offer up further reminders of just how great Heep were in their prime -- and how magnificent they remain, all these years later.

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