It’s been a long time since I have seen Saxon, too long in fact. I should have caught them at Download last year but a combination of heavy traffic and mud ensured that Biff and the guys had been and gone by the time we made it into the arena. When this latest tour was announced it was a ‘must see’ and the addition of the Quireboys came as an added bonus.
Anticipation of a good night was such that on arrival the queue to get in stretched around the block. Once inside we didn’t have long to wait before Redline took to the stage to kick things off in fine rocking fashion. The guys play unashamed hard rock that went down well with the growing crowd. The set was culled from their album ‘Vice’ and it sounds like a bit of a cracker. Songs like ‘Black Sky’ and ‘Edge Of Falling’ showed the band can write a mean tune and with some great dual guitar work from A.D and Steve success was ensured. Rounding off with their Isle Of Man TT anthem, ‘King Of The Mountain’, the band left the stage to a huge cheer, a good start to the evening.
With the ABC now rammed and very warm, the Quireboys took to the stage in style before kicking into ‘Tramps And Thieves’. Spike, with glass in hand, was the genial host once more, joking with the crowd and clearly loving every minute. ‘There She Goes Again’ followed with much singing from the crowd. As on their last tour the guys also aired a couple of new songs during the set from their forthcoming album. Judging by the quality of the two numbers ‘Too Much Of A Good Thing’ and ‘Mother Mary’ it should be a cracker.
It was though the two ‘hits’ that got the biggest reception, namely ‘Hey You’ and the party anthem ‘7 o’clock’ which rounded off another highly entertaining set. Sandwiched between the hard rock of Redline and the metal of Saxon the rock ‘n roll swagger of the Quireboys may have seemed a bit out of place, but it’s hard not to love Spike and the guys and they had the assembled crowd calling for more at the end of another great set.
The cries of ‘Saxon, Saxon’ filled the air as the lights dimmed and as the band launched into a furious version of ‘Sacrifice’ you could tell it was going to be an amazing show. As I said, it has been a while since I have caught Saxon live and if anything they are in better form now than they were on my last encounter. Biff was in great voice and was running around the stage like a man half his age, whilst the rest of the band played up a storm.
Another new track ‘Wheels Of Terror’ was up next before the first classic of the night in the shape of ‘Power And The Glory’. The set was a good mix of new and old with a few tracks that hadn’t been on the setlist for a while getting an airing, like ‘Rock n Roll Gypsy’ and ‘ Ride Like The Wind’. The guys chose to play the latter as it had the most hits on ‘You Tube’ of any Saxon song, I am sure Christopher Cross is a happy man!
Paul Quinn was clearly loving his work and played guitar like a demon throughout the set and Nigel Glockler was a real powerhouse behind the kit which was impressive as the ABC had become a sauna by the time Saxon were in mid-flight! It was the classic tracks though that got the biggest roar of the night, ‘Never Surrender’, ‘Dallas 1pm’, ‘747 Strangers In The Night’, ‘Wheels Of Steel’, all are heavy metal tracks of the finest calibre and all were played with a passion.
‘Wheels Of Steel’ rounded off the set proper with the usual call and response singalong, but it wasn’t long before the band were back for more with Nibs Carter pumping out the opening bassline to ‘Strong Arm Of The Law’. An epic ‘Crusader’ followed with ‘Denim And Leather’ close behind. For me though the band saved the best until last with Paul Quinn cranking out one of the best riffs in rock on the opening of ‘Princess Of The Night’, what a way to round off a fantastic two hours in the company of one of metal’s most enduring and entertaining bands.
Overall this was a great bill and fantastic value for money. It will also be a gig which will no doubt feature in many end of year lists as one of the best in 2013.
Review by David Wilson
Photos and Gallery By Iain Scott
More from the Sacrifice tour:
Gig review (Oxford Academy, 5 May 2013)
Gig review (Nottingham Rock City, 20 April 2013)
Gig review (Leamington Assembly, 18 April 2013)
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