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July morning in January

Don Airey will be performing with Uriah Heep in place of Phil Lanzon on the two upcoming German gigs: January 14th in Würzburg and 15th in Frankfurt. Phil will not be able to perform due to family matters — he had lost his eldest son to cancer just before Christmas. Don graciously agreed to step up to save the gigs (which are a package deal with Nazareth and Wishbone Ash):

I’ve been friends with the fellows in Uriah Heep for many years. When I learned of the tragedy that befell my good friend Phil Lanzon, I was more than happy to stand in for him.

In other related news, Don’s band for the February 2020 UK tour will be: Simon McBride (guitar), Dave Marks (bass), Jon Finnigan (drums), and Mitchel Emms (vocals). Carl Sentance is conspicuously absent, due to having a full time job in Nazareth these days. He will return for the second leg on the continent in March. These March dates are billed as Colosseum II Remembered tour, performing music from Strange New Flesh, Electric Savage, Wardance, Variations, plus previously unreleased material.

don airey march 2020 tour flyer

See our calendar for further details.

Thanks to Nigel Young and Akemi Ono for the info.

8 Comments to “July morning in January”:

  1. 1
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Singer Mitchell Emms:

  2. 2
    Tommy H. says:

    Heartfelt condolences to Phil Lanzon and his family! Don with Uriah Heep, that should be interesting!

  3. 3
    Aireight says:

    Just when I thought Don has played in every great band…
    Colosseum II, prog with Gary Moore, Jon Hiseman and Don, such great musicians.

  4. 4
    terence says:

    Great stuff Don Airey , a true gentleman and best wishes to Mr Lanzon and his family.

  5. 5
    Ivica says:

    And UH has “his Ritchie” .. name is Ken Hensley haha …
    That would be nice to see Don with guys. Uriah Heep underdog group, they fourth hard rock band from the 70’s … + Purple Zepp, Sabbath. My favorite band / after DP and family …..of course / together… The Kinks, Bad Company (Free) Thin Lizzy and Simple Minds.
    Condolences to Phil Lanzon and his family

  6. 6
    uwe hornung says:

    I went yesterday to the Würzburg gig – basically at a whim and curious to see how Don sounds with the Heepsters.

    It was a three-bands-package – with Andy Scott moderating discussion with the (remaining!) original members of the three bands – it wasn’t a crowd, there is only one in each. : – )

    Wishbone Ash started proceedings, a 45 minute set, very heavy on Argus material, they were not taking chances! They were as usual effortless and with the best sound of all three bands, if a bit perfunctory at times. In the ongoing Andy Powell/Martin Turner schism, I’m a Turner’ist so I generally prefer Martin Turner gigs more than Andy Powell ones, but their performance of the material couldn’t be faulted.

    Nazareth were probably the best band of the evening. I had doubts whether Carl Sentance could fill Dan McCafferty’s shoes even though I know Carl’s vocal prowess from two Don Airey & Friends gigs. My worries proved unfounded, Carl did his predecessor proud, great set of pipes and dynamic performance! He sang with a huge amount of grit and lots of power in the high registers which the Nazareth stuff often requires. And even so Carl is on the record for stating that he is consciously not trying to emulate Dan, you could sometimes close your eyes and it sounded like (a young) Dan.

    Heep with Don meant that they were operating a bit on 3 1/2 cylinders rather than four. Don was mixed down a bit – anybody who has seen Heep in recent years will attest to the fact that Phil Lanzon’s organ is even louder in the band mix than Don’s is in Deep Purple and that is saying something!

    You could hear Don, but he wasn’t dominating to the point of drowning the others out like Lanzon often does. (The very tall Phil Lanzon not only physically towers over his bandmates, but also musically!) You could tell that Don was concentrating, listening attentively to the others, he also had some written music before him, but – I was standing front of stage – I didn’t hear him play a single wrong note. He just wasn’t confident enough yet – understandably so – to really flex his muscles (same thing when he began replacing Jon with the Purps, it took a while, but nowadays I find Don more dominant in the Purple live and studio sound than Jon ever was), he is much more assertive when playing with Purple. That said, he played a few lines that sounded neither like Ken Hensley or Phil Lanzon, but definitely like Don Aireeeeeey, as Ian G would exclaim.

    I think it was quite an experience for him, while there are obvious similarities between Purple and Heep, there is definitely more of a prog influence to Deep Purple and Mick Box’ wah-wah-drenched, simplistic rhythm guitar playing makes him the Johnny Ramone of Classic Rock and I don’t mean that badly, Box’ stage presence and playing are charming, but compared to him Blackmore, Bolin and Morse are all surgeons of the electric guitar. Don stood elevated besides Russell Gilbrook, Heep’s powerhouse drummer, and there was obvious rapport between the two, they played off each other quite a bit.

    Don did play a few solos in songs (not a real solo spot though, he probably did not want that, especially as Heep didn’t have time for a long set) and in intros and some of his mannerisms in playing drew smiles from the Heep members – there was a palpable camaraderie on stage. He was mentioned several times by Bernie Shaw, the Heep singer, “the keyboard maestro – on loan from Deep Purple!” and received warm applause from the Heep fans.

    One small gripe as a bassist (hence my leaning towards Martin Turner lol): Heep have this legacy of very creative bassists (Gary Thain, John Wetton, Trevor Bolder, Bob Daisley); Davey Rimmer (“new” bassist since 2007) does nothing wrong, but he is not in that league creatively. Having seen Heep close to a dozen times since I first saw them on the Firefly Tour in 1977, I miss the late Trevor Bolder’s dominant “lead bass” playing for which Mick Box was always gracious enough to leave him enough space.

  7. 7
    nige says:

    “Big thanks to the superb #donairey for standing in for Phil at tonight’s and tomorrow’s show. Please send your thoughts to Phil at this difficult, sad time x” [Russell Gilbrook (@gilbrook_uriahheep) on Instagram] https://www.instagram.com/p/B7UeJcbniJq/

    “Our second and final show with Don Airey was great fun! We can’t thank him enough for rocking with the Heep, also, thank you, Frankfurt!! You were kickass!” [Russell Gilbrook (@gilbrook_uriahheep) on Instagram] https://www.instagram.com/p/B7W7qjQn0fr/

  8. 8
    Mathias says:

    Don Airey is just so amazing!
    I’d say he’d done a terrific job.

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