SAXON (Live)

At Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, Norway, October 18, 2004

The smell of blood lay thick over a autumn-dark Oslo this Monday evening, as British NWOBHM stalwarts Saxon headed North to give a relatively packed full Rockefeller a good dose of old-school Heavy Metal. Front man Biff Byford and his gang were in quite good shape, and presented a mix of old and new material.

Among the highlights were songs like the excellent opener “Lionheart,” definitely one of the best tracks from their latest opus, and also a song which worked excellent live, the heavy “Beyond the Grave,” and of course classics like “Power and the Glory,” “Heavy Metal Thunder,” “Solid Ball of Rock,” “Crusader,” and an extended sing-a-long version of “Wheels of Steel,” with the latter two being the definite top spots of the evening. The crowd went rather wild during this one, and presented one of the loudest scream-a-long sessions heard in Oslo for some time.

In the other end, the ending performance of “Denim and Leather” was unfortunately not up to par as the riff sounded to mushy and the tempo was way to fast. This was surprising, as one couldn’t see why the band needed to change anything with a song which has more or less been a trademark anthem for them for some 25 years. Also, there’s no point in including songs like “Man and Machine” and “Searching for Atlantis” in an hour-and-a-half set-list when the band left out dozens of classics.

The band performed well, though. Biff himself is nothing short of a mystery as he, as a 55 year-old, possesses a voice most 30 year-olds can only dream of having. He also oozes of authority onstage, and is a figure which instinctively demands respect. Guitarists Doug Scarrat and Paul Quinn also do the job well, along with bassist Nibbs Carter. Quinn – also an original member – looks pretty stupid with his black hat-sort-of-thing, though, but still he plays the guitar well. On drums ,the band has recruited German Power Metal legend Jorg Michael, and usually few drummers are as steady as him. Though, he seemed to have a tendency to rush the tempo at some occasions this night (with “D&L” being the most prominent example), but overall he was solid, and impressed with his trademark fast fills and double-bass work.

Saxon clearly made for an entertaining evening – and with a back catalog and experience like theirs, that’s no surprise – although this was never the magical moment that it could have been.


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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