Uriah Heep and Saxon – Pittsburgh, PA – 5/1/2024

On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, the “Hell, Fire & Chaos – The Best Of British Rock & Metal” tour made it’s way to the city of Pittsburgh with two legendary British metal bands Uriah Heep and Saxon co-headlining the show at The Roxian theater just outside of the city in McKees Rocks.

Fans returned to the venue after catching Queensryche and Armored Saint the Wednesday prior to see what can only be referred to as the best of British Rock and Metal.  When combined, the bands have a history of nearly 50 studio albums combined not to mention the numerous live records, and promised to deliver equal length set with some cities Uriah Heep closing and others Saxon.

Surprisingly there was no supporting act.  For this show Saxon took the stage first around 7:30 pm and played until about 15 songs, kicking things off with the title track of their new album “Hell Fire & Damnation.”

The English metal band formed in 1975 and took the reigns as leaders in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, becoming one of Europe’s most successful metal acts with albums like Wheels Of Steel, Strong Arm Of The Law, and Denim And Leather giving them legendary status among greats like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. So, we found it odd that they would bring in chairs for a seated show at The Roxian theater last night and even odder after we saw how much energy Saxon put into their head banging set. This wasn’t a sit down kind of show, it was a metal show!

Thankfully, Biff got everyone out of their seats rather quickly and the pit filled in like a normal night at the theater.  And what was even cooler was the absence of the normal photo pit stage barrier.  While it was a bit challenging to work around the crowd at times, it allowed fans to get up close and actually touch the band.

And that they did.  Fans reached out their hands, recorded the show on their phones, and one even offered up a Black Label Society battle vest for Biff to wear over his own coat for a bit of the show.

Saxon’s current line-up included Peter “Biff” Byford (vocals), Nigel Glockler (drums), Nibbs Carter (bass), Doug Scarratt (guitar), and Brian Tatler (guitar). Tatler, formerly of Diamond Head is now the newest member of Saxon, replacing the band’s legendary founding guitar player Paul Quinn, who stepped down after 48 years due to the burdens of touring. They rare on quite a run at the moment and as bands just returned from a the European leg of the Judas Priest tour.

In addition to “Hell, Fire And Damnation,” the band’s set included “Madame Guillotine” and “There’s Something In Roswell” from the band’s new album, as well as favorites like “Heavy Metal Thunder” and “Denim & Leather,” and they returned to encore with “Princess of the Night.”

We appreciate the warm welcome from the band who made time to greet us following their performance. I brought along with Pittsburgh’s own DC Cooper (Royal Hunt) who had formerly toured Europe with the guys and his wife Michelle, as well as Aldo Nova bandmates Jack Frost and Ange E. Curcio, who are performing tonight at Jergels with Aldo Nova and at the M3 Rock Festival this weekend in Baltimore, MD.

DC Cooper and Nibbs Carter
L to R: Saxon’s frontman Peter “Biff” Byford and Royal Hunt’s frontman DC Cooper, Saxon’s Nibbs Carter (bass) and Doug Scarratt (guitar), Aldo Nova’s drummer Ange E. Curcio, Saxon’s Brian Tatler (guitar) and Nigel Glockler (drums), and Aldo Nova’s guitarist Jack Frost

For those not familiar with Uriah Heep by name (as I can assure you that you know their music)the English rock band formed in London in 1969. Their current lineup consists of Mick Box (guitarist), Phil Lanzon (keyboardist), Bernie Shaw (vocalist), Russell Gilbrook (drummer), and Dave Rimmer (bass).  However, on this tour Adam Wakeman, son of Rick Wakeman of YES is filling in for Phil as Phil had other commitments.  They maintained members consistently for decades until the retirement of Lee Kerslake and death of Trevor Bolder made it necessary to audition new recruits.

Taking their name from a fictional Charles Dickens character from the novel David Copperfield, Uriah Heep helped invent a decorative and uniquely British form of heavy metal with their debut album, Very ‘Eavy, Very ‘Umble, which was self-titled when released here in the states. Uriah Heep blazed the trail for a genre that has only grown in intensity along with other household names like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, and they haven’t stopped since.

We dialed in mid-way through the set after our visit with Saxon so that we could hear the melodic vocals, wah-wah guitar sound, and classic sound of the Hammond organ, and took a journey through the band’s history.   Ttheir 25th studio album Living the Dream, produced by Jay Ruston (Stone Sour, Anthrax, Steel Panther) delivered the new single “Grazed By Heaven” from the album of the same name which also includes an alternate version of “Take Away My Soul” and a Bonus DVD with a music video for the title track and “Tate Away My Soul” and the Making The Dream Documentary.

Their set included favorites like “Stealin'” and “Gypsy” and concluded with an encore of “Sunrise” and everyone’s favorite “Easy Livin’.”  Spreading messages of positivity gaining new fans along the way like the kid who proudly wore a “first Uriah Heep show” t-shirt standing next to what one would assume was his father who proudly wore a “fourth Uriah Heep show” shirt standing by his side front row center to the crowd of friends standing arm and arm taking photos in front of the stage through the night while singing along.  It is no surprise that their songs and music have stood the test of time.

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Watch for continued coverage of local shows and regional shows with recent reports from Faster Pussycat, Judas Priest and Sabaton, Queensryche and Armored Saint, and more live on the site.  Tonight you’ll find us at Aldo Nova and tomorrow we head tothe M3 Rock Festival in Baltimore.

Coverage by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen posted on 5/2/2024.  All event photos by photographer Kara Uhrlen and The Pure Rock Shop.