Part 2 - Tampere concert

Heavyrock classic in Tampere
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I spent the following day after the Tavastia concert alone at home. I had also plenty of things to do: have the pictures developed and prepare a webpage for them, contact those who were coming to Tampere and arrange to meet them etc. On Saturday I drove with Jyrki & Tina to Tampere. During the trip we listened to only Heep - of course. ĎSalisburyí was playing in the stereos when we arrived to Tampere and just as Jyrki parked the car outside Tullikamari, the title track ended - and at the same time the "Heep bus" arrived. We saw the band step out of the bus and go in. We were a little late because by the time we reached the door, they had already disappeared somewhere inside. We didnít have a chance to meet them because a member of the crew didnít allow us go inside.

Tickets for Tullikamari concert.

Since there seemed no point in waiting for them outside we left Tullikamari to go to the centre of the city. We had walked about 50 meters when we passed a bar where they were playing Gypsy! "This must be our place!" we thought and went inside for a beer. We spent maybe 1 Ĺ hours there and they played mostly Heep music the whole time. Soon we were joined by Martti Suhonen and a little later we met Jari-Pekka Laitio.

A couple of weeks before Olli Jouppila had mailed me and asked if I knew a way to get to interview the band while their visit to Tampere. Olli does a radio program together with Jussi Kaukosalo for a radio station called Radio Paitapiiska. Itís really the "official Heep radio station" in Finland because theyíve aired several 4 hours long Heep specials. The website for the program is here. They did the interview with Bernie and it will be out soon. If you check out their website youíll see some of the special programs theyíve done in the past and also a message from Ken Hensley.

Jussi, Bernie & Olli
Jussi Kaukosalo, Bernie & Olli Jouppila.

Tullikamari opened at 9pm and we went in. There was plenty of time before the concert so I started circling around looking for familiar faces. I met some who had been at the Heep tribute concert in Ď97 and some others whom I had been in contact with by e-mail or letters. A tall dark guy with a UHAS card approached us (actually looked a bit like Ken Hensley to me). He turned out to be Enrico Christiano, an Italian currently living in London. he had seen Heep play at the London Forum in October. Reason for his being here was that his girlfriend is from Tampere.

The concert started at 11 and the bandís preformance was as great as it was in Helsinki. Mick had told they were playing the same set every night on this Scandinavian tour, so there were no surprises in the set to look forward to. This concert was even better than in Helsinki because the venue & stage was bigger and there were more audience - Pakkahuone is a concert hall whereas Tavastia is a smaller club. It also seemed to me that the new songs got a better response here than in Helsinki. Maybe itís because people here in Helsinki get to see a lot more bands so they tend to be more critical. This was also the first time ever that Heep has played in Tampere. It might also be that since it was weekend, the people were mostly there to party and have a good time rather than to listen closely with their arms crossed on their chest and analyze.

Bernie Shaw

There wasn't a backstage as such, we stayed by the stage after the show and the band came one by one to talk and sign autographs, first Bernie, then Phil & Trevor, then Lee and finally Mick. Martti Suhonen had brought all his Heep cd booklets with him hoping that he could get at least some of them signed by the band. Lee, Phil & Bernie signed RS, DW, SOL, Spellbinder & SO. When Martti asked Mick if he could sign all those that he had, Mick just said: "No problem" and started writing. Martti even got his mobile phone signed by Phil, Mick & Bernie.

Martti Suhonens mobile phone

Click here to see an animated picture.

Jyrki & Tina were staying the night at Jyrki's sister, I went with Martti to his home for a couple of hours before my train left. I was back home at 8am, went to bed and woke up after only 2 1/2 hours of sleep. Again I rushed to have the pictures developed and started writing down notes of all the things that had happened while they were still fresh in my memory.

Some general views on both concerts: I must say that I like the new set list a lot. Althoug I love the old songs, Iím mainly interested in hearing the new songs when I go to a Heep concert. I suppose this might suprise some people but Iíve seen Heep ca. 10 times in the 80ís and 90ís (and listened to all the numerous live tapes besides that) and theyíve played the same old classics almost every time. Gypsy, Easy Liviní, The Wizard, July Morning, Look At Yourself & Stealiní have been played at all previous concerts Iíve attended and Bird Of Prey & Lady In Black also at most concerts but not all of them. Devilís Daughter and Rainbow Demon are the only other Byron-era tunes Iíve ever heard Heep perform live before these concerts.

Trevor Bolder & his brand new (!) bass guitar

Of course I understand that itís a totally different situation for those who havenít had a chance to catch them live as often as we Scandinavians. This time they had dropped Stealiní, The Wizard & July Morning and I think that was a brave move. The set now consists mostly of new stuff and thatís the way it should be in my opinion. Theyíve released two excellent albums recently so it would be a pity if they played only a few of the new songs. As Bernie said on stage a couple of times during both concerts, the reason for them playing here is to promote the new album and not just do a "greatest hits" set. As Trevor said: "We have to keep playing the new stuff because otherwise thereís no future for the band, it would just be a covers band."

One thing I noticed in the concerts was the lack of solos. On Sea Of Light tour the set was made up of 15 songs and lasted ca. 1h 40 min. This time they played 17 songs at in even shorter time. Mick had his solo at the end of Look At Yourself but that was just about it. Phil played a solo in Gypsy and Lee also during Look At Yourselfbut they both were short ones. It all seemed also to go at a much faster pace than usually. They played lots of songs back to back with no intervals. Iím not saying that it was bad, actually I like it more this way, Iím not a big fan of ten minutes drum solos anyway!

Mick Box

The new songs seemed to work very well also live - apart from Shelter From The Rain maybe. Although I like that song Iím not sure if it fits to the live set, I wouldíve preferred The Golden Palace instead. The audience response to the new stuff was just about what I had expected. Sonic Origami is still a relatively new album and it hasnít been advertised that much so I guess most of the people hadnít heard the songs before.

They had quite a lot of stuff for sale this time: different kinds and colour of shirts, posters, caps, stickers, lighters etc. all with Sonic Origami logo. I used almost all the money I had with me in shirts and other stuff. I just had to buy a Sonic Origami cigarette lighter although I donít smoke!

Sonic Origami Lights!
Sonic Origami lighter.

Watching the concerts was great but meeting the band was the real highlight. This time I was very impressed with Trevorís playing. I donít think Iíve ever followed him that closely on stage - when I go to a concert you tend to focus mainly on the vocalist or the lead guitarist - this time I was only 1 - 2 meters from him and I noticed for the first time what a great player he is. Mick was the same as always, grinning at least half the time, waving to the audience and making his own gestures. The most important thing is that heís the same also off stage. Bernie, Lee & Phil were also very friendly and nice. I was backstage also in 1996 but at the time I was propably too shy to talk to them.

What more can I say about the concerts? Iíve seen this line-up five times now and I think the band just keeps on getting better and better every time. Well, in Ď96 at Tavastia Bernieís voice wasnít in the best shape because he had bronchitis (the others were ready to cancel the show but Bernie wanted to perform regardless of his illness.) but the bandís performance was great also then. If you have a chance to see Heep on this tour, donít miss it!

One more thing: If you look at the setlist, youíll see that thereís also Tony Bennettís signature in the upper right corner. That was Philís joke: He wrote that first and then said: "Oops, sorry. Wrong name!"

To see more pictures from the concerts follow the links from 'Heep In Finland' main page.