URIAH HEEP at NOSTURI Helsinki Finland, 15th March 2000 (A Secret Concert)

...what's with the white coats...

This was definitely the most obscrure Heep gig I have ever been to - for several reasons. It was at a private party for a satellite mobile phone company and the gig was so secret that not even those who had been invited there knew what to expect. Only a handful of Finnish fans personally invited by the band knew that Heep would play there and I was among those fortunate ones. The gig also came in a very short notice, I received the news less than a week before and usually there's months to wait before a Heep gig.

It all started in the beginning of last week when Mick Box had sent an e-mail to Dave White telling that they have a show at the Nosturi Club in Helsinki on 15th March. This sounded very strange to me because there had been no advertisments or info whatsoever here about anything like thatand it was only about one week when the concert supposedly was to take place. When I called the club and asked them they told me it isn't true. I then mailed Dave and asked what is this all about? The following day there was a new e-mail from Mick saying he had received more information: It was a private party by some company and not open for public BUT Mick could put my name on the guestlist if I wanted to come. Did I want to see the show? I don't think I have to answer that question... The organizers wanted to keep the Heep gig a total surprise for the guests so no info on the event could be told to others.

I had an invitation for myself and one friend. My wife Inga had never seen Heep live and this seemed like a good opportunity so I asked her. She was very interested in finally seeing what's so special about this band that it makes me travel to the other side of the continent just to meet other Heep fans! I also noticed I was in a difficult position: I was told I couldn't tell anything to anyhone about the show but I didn't feel comfortable with that. I knew there were several who also would have wanted to be there if they only knew. After considering this for some time I decided that the only alternative was not to tell anyone because of the consequences because I was specifically asked to keep this a secret.

I was there also under assignment from the www.uriah-heep.com webmasters Rodrigo Werneck, Dave White & Louis Rentrop. As soon as the final info came, it was proposed that I could present the band the 30th Anniversary Guestbook that had been open at the website for Heepsters to send their greetings on the anniversary. Naturally it was a great honour for me to do this and I gladly accepted. I received the guestbook by e-mail, copied it to cd and also printed to a small booklet - one copy for each member - which I was going to give them after the show. I also had a cd copy of the new discography that I have been preparing from the last couple of months and which was officially announced last week. It was a lucky coincidence that the band happened to play here just at the same time when I had finished the discography.

The 30th Anniversary Guestbook The new www.uriah-heep.com discography

We knew nothing except that Heep would start playing at Nosturi either 8.30 or 9.15, we didn't know who was organizing it and what was it all about. I wasn't even fully convinced we would see Heep there, the whole thing seemed so unreal because it came so unexpected (It wasn't until the band came onstage that I was 100% sure). When we approached the building, we could tell there was definitely something going on, there were people inside all dressed in long white coats that doctors wear at hospitals or chemists at laboratories. What were we getting ourselves into! At the entrance after some searching our names were found on the guestlist.

We went in and were handed these same kind of white coats and told to wear them. I have no idea what the reason for this was but it surely was easy to blend in now. My wife had spent several hours at home trying to decide what to wear and in the end it was for nothing! It was very funny seeing several hundred people all in white, it was more like a doctors meeting than a rock concert, the waitresses were dressed as nurses and the waiters all wore blond wigs. There was free food and free drinks of all sorts available as much as you could consume. This is the way it always should be at a Heep gig! We heard the party had started at 6pm and we had arrived at 8 so we had some catching up to do. Luckily we didn't arrive earlier so I didn't have time to get too drunk before the show started. Unlike a regular Heep gig, I couldn't see any familiar faces in the crowd so I didn't know if there were any other Heep fans there.

At ca. 8.45 the audience was asked to approach the stage as the main event of the evening was about to start. If was interesting to watch what the reaction was when the name of the band was announced. I don't remember ever seeing people so completely astonished: mouths open, eyes staring, I started laughing. I'm sure it was an experience for the band as well to play in front of 300 people all dressed in white. All except one - I took the coat off at the time when they entered the stage and I was the only one wearing all black so I definitely stood out from the others.

...free food and free drinks, this is the way it always should be at a Heep gig...

...free food and free drinks, this is the way it always should be at a Heep gig...

...more like a doctors or chemists meeting than a rock concert...

Inga and Tapio