at the City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., November 18, 2022

SAXON (Live at the City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., November 18, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Once hailed as having more riffs than the first four Black Sabbath albums, Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil” certainly shook the foundations of the City Hall this evening showing just why they were such an influence on a young Metallica back in the day and with “The Prince” and “It’s Electric”, both performed tonight, also covered by Metallica over the years, it’s fair to say that their influence on the development of Heavy Metal over the years cannot be underestimated.

With founding guitarist Brian Tatler continuing to fly the flag, Diamond Head delivered a short but sweet set packed with classics alongside a couple of impressive newer songs including “Set My Soul On Fire” and “The Messenger” but it was set closer “Am I Evil” that really hit the mark.

Diamond Head are a tough act to follow but Yorkshire Metal veterans, Saxon know just what’s needed and tear out of the starting blocks with “Carpe Diem”, from their latest album of the same name and what a barnstormer it is, swiftly followed by a brutally heavy “Sacrifice.”

From then on, there’s no stopping them. Currently riding the crest of a creative wave, “Dambusters” and the epic “Pilgrimage” from their latest release sounding every bit as powerful and inspired as those they wrote as young lads back in the dawn of the 80s. Lead singer Biff Byford may have had recent heart surgery, but his voice still has the range and power of someone half his age.

Ahead of the tour Byford promised some surprises and Saxon duly delivered with the rarely played “The Thin Red Line” and “Metalhead” keeping the diehards happy along with their centrepiece “The Eagle Has Landed” stepping up the melodrama while “Heavy Metal Thunder” with a rampaging riff from guitarists Paul Quinn and Doug Scarrett, more than lived up to its name.

There’s something magical about seeing Saxon back in the City Hall, a venue they played many times in their early years and for a brief moment during the anthemic “Denim and Leather”, it felt like 1982 all over again.

Of course, Saxon have an arsenal of big hitters with even bigger riffs as “Wheels Of Steel”, “747 (Strangers In The Night)” and “Princess Of The Night” hammered home just why Saxon are considered an institution of British Heavy Metal.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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