SAXON (Live)

at O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., February 3, 2015

SAXON (Live at O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., February 3, 2015)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Originally scheduled for the run in to Christmas until the sudden illness to drummer Nigel Glockler brought the tour to a juddering halt on the afternoon of their Newcastle show. With Glockler clinging to life at the City’s RVI Hospital all thoughts of musical activity were put on hold. Glockler pulled through and continues down the road to recovery while his place has been taken temporarily by Sven Dirkschneider, son of former Accept screamer Udo.

Whereas the original tour was to be a celebration of the three albums that defined a genre, Wheels of Steel, Strong Arm of the Law and Denim and Leather in their entirety, the rescheduled tour shook the setlist up and instead delivered a greatest hits collection from across their career.

While Saxon’s 1979 self-titled debut album was a step in the right direction it was the follow up, Wheels of Steel that took a two footed drop kick to the music scene with Saxon trailblazing along with Iron Maiden and Def Leppard to bring a new lease of life to a Metal scene still reeling from a savaging from Punk a couple of years earlier. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement took the traditional Rock format and supercharged it with a dose of Punk energy creating a lethal, rejuvenated mutated version of Metal to kick start the dawn of the ’80s.

Opening with a suitably riotous Motorcycle Man there was no better place to start with Saxon coming out heads down, riffs roaring and all guns blazing. From then on, it was classic after classic with Top 20 hit singles Wheels of Steel, 747 (Strangers in the Night) and the Castle Donnington inspired And The Bands Played On thundering out alongside Saxon standards Princess of the Night, Never Surrender and Dallas 1pm, the song telling the tale of the assignation of JFK. Dirkschneider’s youthful stamina was tested to the limits during frantic romps through 20,000ft and Forever Free and the rookie skinsman passed with flying colours.

With lead singer Biff Byford in fine form alongside original guitarist Paul Quinn the show was a real treat for the die-hard faithful who have followed them for well over three decades. They were suitably rewarded with the likes of The Power and the Glory, Solid Ball of Rock, the epic The Eagle Has Landed and Crusader while Sacrifice from their latest album kept things fresh.

Appropriately the anthemic Denim and Leather closed the show and Saxon’s tribute to their fans was a fitting end to an energetic evening of pure, vintage British Metal.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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