Uriah Heep Newcastle City Hall 25th Nov 1975

Uriah Heep Newcastle City Hall 25th Nov 1975
heep75tixSupport from Tim Rose?
By 1975 Uriah Heep were massively successful. John Wetton had replaced Gary Thain on bass, and the band recorded their 8th studio album “Return to Fantasy” which was seen by critics and fans alike as a return to form after the “Wonderwall” lp. They also released a “Best of Uriah Heep” compilation album which sold well. Heep embarked on a major world tour to promote “Return to Fantasy” and “Best of”. Mick Box: “we played to over one million people and travelled over 300,000 air miles; this was, once again, a very exciting time.” I saw the band at the City Hall in November 1975. This was another great gig, classic Uriah Heep, but it would be the last time that I saw the band with the great David Byron. According to the Uriah Heep website the support act for the tour was Tim Rose, who had recorded “Come Away Melinda” as covered by Heep on their first album, and was also responsible for the great song “Morning Dew”. As is often the case, I have no recollection of seeing him, perhaps I was in the City Hall bar? I suspect I would have watched Tim Rose’s set as both of the songs I mention are big favourites of mine. David Byron had by now gained a reputation for hard drinking, and this was starting to effect his performance in the band. It eventually led to him being sacked from Uriah Heep at the end of a Spanish tour in July 1976. Ken Hensley said: “David was one of those classic people who couldn’t face up to the fact that things were wrong and he looked for solace in a bottle”. Heep’s manager Gerry Bron said Byron’s dismissal was in “the best interest of the group”.
heepprog75I saw David Byron once more a couple of years later, when he was a member of Rough Diamond, a band he formed with Colosseum / Humble Pie guitarist Clem Clempson and former Wings drummer Geoff Britton. I’ll write about that gig in a day or so, as part of my coverage of Heepsters.
It was also a couple of years later, in 1977, before I saw Uriah Heep again, and by then John Lawton was the vocalist. Uriah Heep did, I think, play Newcastle in 1976 but for some reason I must have missed that gig (missed opportunities like that annoy me now….too many regrets of missed his 🙂 )
For me, Uriah Heep were truly at their peak as a live act during 1973 and 1974. The best way to remind myself of those glorious live gigs is to play my scratched vinyl copy of their double lp “Uriah Heep Live”, hold that gatefold sleeve in my hands and look through the lavish photo booklet that forms the centre of the album. It never fails to take me back. I am immediately transported to the crush in the front stalls of the City Hall. My ears are ringing, Mick Box is smiling, Ken Hensley is rocking back and forth at his Hammond, and Dave Byron is singing “Julie Morning” or “Gypsy”….or “Sunrise”. Magic. Now a CD can’t do that; sorry. Happy happy days.
Setlist something like: Devil’s Daughter; Stealin’; Suicidal Man; Shady Lady; Prima Donna; Rainbow Demon; July Morning; Return To Fantasy; Easy Livin’; Sweet Lorraine; Gypsy; Bird Of Prey; Love Machine; Look At Yourself

18 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on December 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Enjoying reading the Uriah Heep blogs so far Pete.
    Nice comments about David Byron too – I agree with you that he was a great front man with tremendous stage presence and a very good vocalist – Sunrise on the double live album is a fine example. He was much underrated at the time (and since).
    I only saw the band once and that was on the Look At Yourself tour at a less than half full Newcastle City Hall on 17th December 1971. Tickets were all 60p and you could sit anywhere. Happy days!

    PS. What are you going to do after you get to ZZ Top ?


    • Posted by vintagerock on December 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Hi Mitch
      As you may have gathered I was (am) a big fan of Uriah Heep. Wish I’d been at that 1971 gig. I also remember them playing Sunderland Poly Wearmouth Hall as support for Sha Na Na in 1970 or 71. Now that would have been good.
      You are right. When I get to Z I am going to be lost. I reckon I have a few months to go yet. I saw Yes lots of times, and Wishbone Ash, and the Who (all about 15 – 20 times each I think) so they will take up some time. I also have some festivals to cover (lots of Donington Monsters of Rock I went to and Knebworth a few times) and then I’ll go back and see who I missed. I have been going by ticket stubs, so many bands that I saw at the Mecca or Mayfair could have been missed….I reckon I might be going another 6 months yet….Cheers Peter


      • Peter, you must be referring to the June 22th, 1971 gig.
        Apart from Sha Na Na, Paladin were also on the bill.
        My archive indicates the “Empire” as the venue – any corrections are welcome so I can update the official gig list accordingly.

      • Posted by vintagerock on December 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        I can’t be certain, as I wasn’t present, but I think the 1971 gig was at Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall, rather than the Empire Best wishes Peter

      • Many thanks Peter.
        I just found a few posters with the dates of the entire tour (“Bronze Summer Outing”) and “Polytechnic” is listed indeed as the venue of the gig. I have no idea how the “Empire” information ended up on the gig lists (apparently it has stuck there for many years – way before I took over the administration of the 1968-1980 gig lists section of the website). Thanks again…

      • Posted by vintagerock on December 29, 2014 at 7:34 pm

        No problem. I remember the gig well. I wanted to go along but was 14 at the time and too young to get into a Poly gig. Bet it was a good gig. I saw Sha Na Na in 1972 and they were good fun. Cheers Peter

    • Mitch, you were very lucky to witness the short lived line-up with Mark Clarke on bass. Uriah Heep might have played a lengthy version of “Why” at this gig (Bullet was the opening act during that tour).


      • Posted by vintagerock on December 29, 2014 at 2:50 pm

        Bullet were a pretty good band, fronted I think by John Cann from Atomic Rooster? I think I saw them supporting Deep Purple in 71 or 72 Cheers Peter

      • Exactly Peter.

        Bullet had to change their name to “Hard Stuff” because of an American band using the same name.

      • Posted by vintagerock on December 29, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        Yep I saw them as Hard Stuff too, again supporting Purple I think. I remember that they were deafening. Class Peter

  2. Many thanks for sharing your memories Peter. That was an excellent write-up.

    You can find a few photos from the gig here:


  3. Posted by Mitch on December 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    As a follow up to the comment from the Uriah Heep Archivist regarding the December 1971 Newcastle City Hall show I can confirm that they did perform the track ‘Why’.

    The full setlist was –
    Bird Of Prey, I Wanna Be Free, July Morning, Why, What Should Be Done, Tears In My Eyes, Look At Yourself, Gypsy.
    Encore: Love Machine.

    This was the second time I had seen support band Bullet in a matter of weeks having seen them with Deep Purple on their Fireball tour in September 1971.


  4. Many thanks for the full set list Mitch.

    Since it is so accurate (and in the correct running order judging by the other set lists of that era), I assume that a recording of the gig exists?
    Otherwise, there must be a detailed review (or someone taking notes during the gig etc).

    It is interesting to note that they performed almost the entire “Look At Yourself” album which had just been released (only “Shadows of Grief” was omitted).


  5. Posted by Mitch on January 2, 2015 at 11:50 am

    I always record the set list of all the bands I go to see on a note pad which I take with me to every concert. I have done this since my first rock gig (Taste at Sunderland Empire May 1970) up to my most recent (Wishbone Ash at Newcastle Cluny November 2014).


  6. Mitch, I also included the “note pad” scenario in my comment, but I thought it was too rare and “proactive” to be true, that’s why I had valid hopes for a recording. 🙂

    However, the song “Why” had not been released at the time of the gig, so nobody in the audience was familiar with it. I guess you left a blank in your notes (which was filled at a later point) or you managed to hear David Byron introducing the song and quickly wrote down its title.

    You can read a brief summary of my Heep-work here: http://www.uriah-heep.com/newa/konstantinostakos.php

    If you know someone who could help me with my research (mainly photos and recordings from the 70’s), please let me know.

    Thanks again for the detailed set list.


  7. Posted by Tony Poolan (Lofric on February 1, 2017 at 9:13 am

    I was definitely in the bar for the support – I usually was even though I was only 15. Heep with Byron I loved and I lost interest once he was sacked. I also loved Gary Thain’s fantastic bass although John Wetton God rest his soul – was terrific too.
    I saw both incarnations of Heep and loved the Live cover. I think I had the programme you picture but I din’t have it now. I probably have the ticket stub.


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