SONIC ORIGAMI TOUR IN FINLAND
Part 1 - Helsinki Concert
Uriah Heep played a club tour of five concerts in Finland 11th - 15th February and I attended two of them with Jyrki Usva & his girlfriend Tina. Those couple of days before the first concert were somewhat busy Since I was going to concerts both in Helsinki and Tampere. I had phone calls to make and mails to send to contact other Heepsters and find out about their plans, when and where to meet etc.
Originally I was planning on joining the press conference like I did in ‘96 when Heep played here the previous time. When I found out that there wasn't going to be any official one this time I deciced to try and meet the band on my own before the concert so I first went to their hotel at about 7pm. I couldn't see anybody who looked like they had something to do with a rock band so I headed to Tavastia - the venue where they were playing.
Ticket for Tavastia concert.
Tavastia holds only about 900 people but it’s the most famous rock club in Finland. I’ve seen lots of bands there over the years: The Black Crowes, Nazareth, Marillion, Fish, The Hooters, Bruce Dickinson, Dio etc., Heep have played here twice - in ‘89 and ‘96. The club doesn't open until 9pm but there's a smaller restaurant located in the same building that's open also during the daytime. I walked in and to my surprise the band and the road crew were there eating! A real stroke of luck I would say!
I didn't want to disturb them in the middle of a meal so I stayed at the bar for about half an hour until they had finished and then went and introduced myself. When Mick heard my name he stood up and gave me a hug and told that he likes the Heep discographies and lyrics files that I had compiled and sent to him a while ago. Those files were used as the basis for 'Sonic HeepFiles'. I had my copies of the discographies with me and I asked if they could all sign them - which they did. John, a member of the road crew, took some pictures of me together with the band and one of them can be seen here.
Uriah Heep in Restaurant Ilves before the Tavastia concert.
After I had secured a backstage pass from Mick and received some of his guitar picks they returned to the hotel to get some rest before the show and I went to a bar where I had arranged to meet with other Heepsters before going to Tavastia. At the bar I was soon joined Jyrki & Tina and some other Heepsters. At about 10.30 we arrived at Tavastia and I met some of those who were playing in the Uriah Heep Tribute Concert in ‘97 as well some more friends. The concert started at 11. The set was exactly the same as on the first gig of the German tour in November/December 1998: 17 songs, eight of them from ‘Sonic Origami’, three songs from ‘Sea Of Light’, six songs from the first five albums and nothing from Sweet Freedom to Different World.
Intro: (didn’t recognize the tune)
1. Between Two Worlds
2. I Hear Voices
3. Universal Wheels
4. Time Of Revelation
5. Only The Young
6. Feels Like
8. Heartless Land
9. Shelter From The Rain
10. Love In Silence
11. Bird Of Prey
13. Everything In Life
14. Easy Livin
16. Look At Yourself
17. Lady In Black
Outro: Land Of Hope And Glory
I had a great time all through the concert, from the moment Phil started playing the intro of Between Two Worlds to the last aah-aah’s of ‘Lady In Black’. I was at the front row most of the time - as you can see from the pictures. Those who stayed further in the back told afterwards that the audience didn’t seem that enthusiastic but I wasn’t there to check how the others acted, I was only concerned of what was going on on stage.
The place was far from being fully packed but that could also be expected. They were now playing five shows in Finland alone so I suppose the Helsinki concert gathered only Heepsters from the capital area while people from elsewhere in Finland went to the other concerts. In 1996 they played ”only” three times and then all the concerts were almost sold out. After the concert while we were waiting at the backstage door, a member of the local crew walked by. He had two set lists in his hands and he asked if we wanted to have them. Of course we did and since I had it in my hand when we went in I asked all the guys to sign it.
Backstage I talked with all of the guys but mainly with Trevor. I wish I had had a recorder with me so that I could’ve taped all his stories! We also met Elina Aaltonen, who is originally from Finland but living in Holland. She had come all the way from Holland with her husband and son to see the concerts. I’ve never met her before, only read the articles she has posted to UHAS magazine. She had also seen my name in UHAS and had wondered if I was going to show up at the Finnish concerts. She said she was also coming to Tampere so we would meet again there.
We could have spent the whole night there talking but had to leave when eventually at closing time the personnel came to throw us all out. When I got home I went to bed at 3am and woke up at 7 after a generous four-hour sleep. I was alone at home for the following day but couldn't get any sleep, I was still so excited after the concert. I just played SO very loud again and again and my thoughts were already on the next gig in Tampere.
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