This album is without a doubt one of the defining moments within the history of Uriah Heep. It was released as a stop-gap for the band and proves to be a benchmark for the rest of the group's tenure as a functioning unit. Captured in support of the Magician's Birthday set, the show was recorded(primarily) in Birmingham and it thoroughly displays the power of the band on defining moments like July Morning, Sweet Lorraine, Sunrise, Gypsy and Look at Yourself. I owned this on vinyl many years ago and although back then, I didn't come to truly appreciate them like I did Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, being able to revisit this set all these years later, I find a band that was just as noteworthy and important within the growth of British based Rock. Sure you get Byron's wailing ala Ian Gillan on the outro to July Morning, and yes Ken Hensley does work the Hammond organ not unlike that of one Jon Lord, but Heep's better moments do display their own style and a central force that far surpasses that of simply another fascimile of Deep Purple.
The live renditions of Traveller in Time, Circle of Hands, Love Machine and Tears in My Eyes really illustrate the points made in my previous statement as the wealth of muscianship here cannot be denied and Heep never had a better rhythm section than that of Lee Kerslake and the tragic, yet magical bass playing of one Gary Thain; they are the solid foundation which held everything together in order for the ensemble to display their unique qualities as a successful and talented band. One of the best things about this remaster is the inclusion of the full album on disc one; the original cd release in 1990(?) unfortunately omitted the balls-out Rock and Roll Medley due to time constraints. Disc two features performances a year later(mostly from the infamous "Shepperton '74" bootleg) and its a treat to hear some of the Wonderworld material as well as Stealin' from the classic Sweet Freedom which followed Live 1973. The first four tracks were recorded for airing in the US on the radio and feature solid and exceptional renditions of Something or Nothing and I Won't Mind from Wonderworld and energetic versions of Look at Yourself and Gypsy. The rest of the tracks date from the Shepperton gig and feature two more Wonderworld tracks: the stately ballad The Easy Road and the rocking So Tired.
I feel the price on this set is a bit expensive, but if you're a serious Heep fan, it's most definitely worth owning as it includes the full original album. If you're new to Uriah Heep and want to know what all the fuss was about, this expanded edition is highly recommended as it clearly illustrates the power and wealth of this band, and this era of the group was undoubtably what made Uriah Heep legendary.