Ken Hensley Sunderland Mayfair 1981

Ken Hensley Sunderland Mayfair 1981
imageIn 1980 Ken Hensley left Uriah Heep, unhappy with the direction the band was moving, and recorded a solo album “Free Spirit”. This was actually his third solo effort, as he had released two previous lps “Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf” (1973) and “Eager To Please” (1975) while with Uriah Heep. He also formed a band Shotgun which featured Pete Thompson on drums (ex-Silverhead), Ian Gibbons on keyboards (ex-Kinks), Derek Marshall on guitar and Denny Ball on bass. The band played a series of UK gigs, including one at Sunderland Mayfair, which I attended. Ken and his band played songs from “Free Spirit” and the Uriah Heep classics “Gypsy”, “Easy Livin'” and “July Morning”, the latter song, as I recall, featured a long keyboard solo from the main man. It was great to see Hensley in concert in a small venue, and hear him play those Uriah Heep songs. Sounds reviewed a Hensley and Shotgun gig at the Marquee London, and declared “ex Heep man plays blinder shocker”. Shortly after the tour, Hensley relocated to the USA and joined southern rockers Blackfoot, which seemed to me to be an unlikely pairing at the time. I saw Blackfoot at Newcastle Mayfair in 1982; I think Hensley may have been in the band at the time, but can’t be certain. I’ve never seen Ken Hensley live since those days, and would love to do so. He continues to tour with his own band, but very rarely plays in the UK.
“Ken Hensley wrote the rule book for heavy metal keyboards as far as I’m concerned” (W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless)

4 responses to this post.

  1. Many thanks for this interesting post Peter.

    It was the second gig of the tour and took place on April 3rd, 1981 (“Friday night in Sunderland” 😉 ).
    Actually a lot of tracks from the “Free Spirit” album were performed.

    Here is the set list of Shotgun’s last gig of the tour (Marquee, London on April 19th, 1981):

    Brown Eyed Boy
    Easy Livin’
    The System
    No More
    Inside The Mystery
    July Morning
    New Routine

    Amazing that you have such an accurate memory regarding the 3 Heep songs performed (I guess the set list was more or less the same during the entire 12-gig tour).


    • Posted by vintagerock on December 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks for the date. Fraid I have to admit that my memory is not really that good. I was helped by reading some reports of other gigs by the band, such as the Marquee show which you refer to 🙂 Cheers Peter


  2. did you happen to take any photos at any of these shows?


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