Russian Tour Uriah Heep 2005
February, the 20th 2005
The long awaited tour of Uriah Heep which "Russian Philharmonics" had been working on for almost a year took its start when our crew met the band in Moscow in Sheremetyevo 2 on the 18th of February and headed for Sheremetevo 1 to change for the flight to Petropavlovsk—Kamchatsky. Even though the flight was delayed for two and a half hours, the atmosphere was very friendly: we were getting to know each other. Three weeks later I was sitting in the same cafe in Sheremetyevo 1 waiting for my flight back to Samara recollecting those three weeks of rock and roll and feeling rather empty. But on the 18th of February everything was just getting started…
Well, after 9 hours in the air everyone felt quite out of time, so we went straight to the hotel. I should say that Petropavlovsk—Kamchatsky was the first city in the tour and the one we were especially worried about. We knew that the last time the band had to play there, technical situation didn't quite meet Uriah Heep's requirements and the band had tough time doing the gig.
So we were really concerned about it this time, we flew additional equipment from Samara specially for the show in P—K. But in fact everything went very smoothly, and Petropavlovsk—Kamchatsky turned out to be one of the easiest cities in the whole tour. We even had the chance to enjoy fantastic landscapes of Kamchatka and stopped by the local market where Bernie bought a fancy fur hat for his fiancee.
The show was a success, the audience was great and we all felt special during this first show!!!
We arrived in Vladivostok early in the morning. In spite of some troubles with the hotel we after all settled down in the city centre. The crew went straight to the gig and I stayed at the hotel to make sure repair works didn't disturb a few hours of sleep the Artistes really needed before the gig.
And even though the concert hall was not full, Uriah Heep still did magic to the audience. It was really amazing to watch the band on stage. Knowing all those troubles we had to deal with the absence of hot water in the hotel, lack of normal human convenience we were not really in the mood but the band just went on stage and did it! We were standing there watching for the camcorders, security, stage…I really wished I could join the crowd down there but I was very attentive to make sure everything is ok on stage. So after the gig it was quite funny when Trevor saw I was quite tense told me very calmly: "Common, why do you worry so much… We are grown up people and know what we do. After all it's just another show. Relax now and take a beer…" I loved Trevor for his patience and cool head. I didn't see him irritated or pissed off even once, amazing!
After all our troubles with hot water we couldn't wait to get to the hotel in Khabarovsk. Plus we knew the hotel was gonna be a nice one!!! Everything looked all right when we arrived… nice little hotel with nice rooms and good service…but… (in Russia there is always a BUT to everything!) Just that very day we came there, something went wrong with their heating system and guess what — no hot water!!! Bernie was lucky to find some room with dripping water on the first floor, Trevor actually had to use bottles with heated water to wash! So at the press conference with the usual set of questions: How do you like Russia? How do you like our city? etc… the guys only gave that secret smile and answered something like :"Russia has changed a lot, everything has become so much better!" "Oh, we didn't get the chance to see the city yet but it looks very nice!" And then presented the audience with fantastic emotions during the show! People got so exited that rushed to the stage to be closer to the "party". Security who thought they were doing their job tried to pull people away. The thing is the gigs in Russia are quite specific and don't have the dance area right by the stage. But obviously there is no way you can listen to Uriah Heep, peacefully sitting on your seat. So Bernie actually had to make people leave their comfortable seats and rock!
24.02.05 Komsomolsk on Amur.
For Komsomolsk on Amur the concert of Uriah Heep was a big event. It was the first time UH played in the city and more over the first time a western band came to Komsomolsk on Amur, a small town with the population of 300 000 people.
And of course the journalists were craving to speak to the band. Here are some of the questions that were asked at the press conference.
Journalists: We are very glad to welcome you in Komsomolsk on Amur. So how do you like your tour around Russia?
J: You were the first western band who played in Russia and since then have traveled all over the country. Has country changed since 1987?
A fan who came to the show shared his impressions.
Uriah Heep played very powerful rock, both old and new compositions! All the area right before the stage was packed with people, I had the chance to sort of shake hands with Bernie, cool!!! And tried to grab his leg, well, it's a part of the ritual. But Bernie didn't seem to mind, on the contrary the Uriah Heep were actively reacting to the crowd!!!
Just as it was with Deep Purple a few months before, the sound wasn't that good but I must confess
The article published in a local newspaper.
"Uriah Heep played in Krasnoyarsk seven years ago! Now they were back!!! And this time it looked that promoters had taken into consideration all the past drawbacks. The concert took place at the best venue of the city — the Big Concert Hall.
I arrived there 40 minutes before the show, wondered around the theatre and as soon as the doors opened rushed to my seat. I must say that with a fair ticket prices the hall was full which is quite unusual for Krasnoyarsk. Mainly there were people who grew up with the music of Uraih Heep so at first I felt a bit awkward being only 17 years old… But then I also had a lot in common, for many years "Lady in Black" was my lullaby…
Even though in Kemerovo we had the most difficult venue to play at, the show was a success but who could doubt that!
When we arrived in Tomsk, you could feel spring in the air! When our promoters in Tomsk took us for lunch, the walls in the restaurant were covered with the pictures of Uriah Heep. It was flattering but a bit too much in my opinion. It turned out that there is a fan and a friend of the band who brought it all to the restaurant. It was all his from his personal collection of Uriah Heep. We played in the brand—new night club "Fakel", so when the guys saw the name, they were taking a piss: "No, we are not playing in no "Faking"!" So I had to comfort everyone saying the Russian name for it is "Torch". The club was packed with people and especially the dance floor in front of the stage. For people it was a unique chance to see their heroes so close!
The atmosphere was so hot that some of the crew didn't want to leave the club after the show was over but then again with our routine it was a nice chance to try something exciting for a change.
After four hours in a bus we arrived in Novosibirsk. Uriah Heep was supposed to play in the best and very well—known in the area night—club "Rock city". The Artistes were a bit upset when they saw the stage: it was really tiny. Even though all the sizes had been previously discussed with Mick, still the band was not feeling very happy before the show, looking sadly at the stage. But as it always happens with UH, once they stepped on the tiny thing, all that mattered were the musicians, their music and their audience.
When Bernie was once asked a question "What venues you prefer playing? And where?", Bernie answered:" I don't care where to play. Just give me some space to work on and some people to work with and I will do what I can do!"I really liked that answer and I must say it's so true. Bernie is a brilliant front man with terrific charisma and extremely delicate sense of the audience!
First of all the venue was good! The concert hall was rebuilt, redecorated and had decent bathrooms in each dressing—room ? Everything went very well in Ekaterinburg: Nice venue, good gear, stunning show, Italian food for dinner. The next day we were supposed to fly to Samara, finally — home sweet home. Who could imagine at that time that Samara will turn into that massive pain… But back in Ekaterinburg we were taken to a nice excursion around historic places of the city and when time came we all set to fly to Samara.
Half an hour before our flight from Ekaerinburg terrible blizzard started in Samara. It was unbelievable! We have gone all through Kamchatka, Far East and Siberia with no weather problems whatsoever. And now when we were only a couple of hours away from our home town — troubles began! They kept delaying the flight while we were trying to find a solution. So after all we jumped into the cars and hit the road. We only had three hours till the train in another closest city and we had to drive 250 kilometers in the dark and snow! As a result, the car with our director Sergey Sorokin and English crew wouldn't make it on time for the train. Russia is a very extraordinary country: sometimes you would wait for ages for your dinner at the restaurant but when you need extra time — no, nothing can be done, the train cannot wait for the passengers even a minute… Ok, the rest of crew were trying to catch up with us at the next station. Mick and the rest of the band were not happy at all. They have this rule: the crew and the band is one body which cannot be put apart! And now we were sitting in a train and the rest of the crew were driving somewhere in the middle of Russia! Not good! At all! But you know how it usually happens: something goes wrong and that's it: never ending chain! They didn't make on time to the next station as well! The next train they were gonna take was to arrive in Samara just an hour and a half before the gig! The show seemed impossible! But once again, Uriah Heep was there to fight, they couldn't let their fans down so we were sitting in our cabins trying to work out plan A, plan B, plan C. Well, plan A worked!!! The crew got off their train not in Samara but in Ufa where they were met by the cars which were specially driven from Samara. They showed up at the hotel two hours after us and the first thing Christos told me was: "Olga, I want the backline of MacDonald's at the gig!" God, I was so happy to see them all that I could bring all MacDonald's of the world to them!!! And the show did happen!
In Ufa the fans from the nearby towns came to see Uriah Heep.
Those who were lucky to see the show were then sharing their impressions in the forum www.deep—purple.ru and even though their delighted and detailed descriptions were really vivid, they surely couldn't count as you have to be there to understand what UH does on stage!