|» Saxon 2010 03 26||
(Unfortunately, I did not see enough of Dirty Passion to make a fair review)
I absolutely adore Saxon and of course have the complete discography in the shelf. I have seen them perform three times at Sweden Rock Festival and yet another time at the kick off for the same event. But every time I try to see them in other places something always comes between. Biff gets ill, I get ill, it collides with some other event or I simply have to prioritise other things. But now it was about time that I got to see a full headline concert with Saxon on a regular tour, not just a best of festival set.
Recently Metallica paid a tribute to Saxon on stage by playing the Wheels Of Steel riff. Now Saxon paid back by entering the stage to the sound of Seek And Destroy. But there was something missing in the beginning. The fire was not really there. The mighty Biff Byford was rather stiff and Nigel Glockler looked quite uninterested behind the drums. He actually had some problems to keep the time in faster songs like Witchfinder General and Metal Head.
The only one that looked really psyched to be on stage was fill in bassist Yenz Leonhardt (Iron Savior, Stormwarrior, Savage Circus) who did a great job all the way. Actually one could not tell that he's normally not a member of the band (Nibbs Carter had to sit out to take care of his wife, who is seriously ill).
But there would be major improvement along the road. Biff and the guys woke up and reached old heights as soon as the old hits got more frequent room in the set. Personally I would have welcomed even more new songs, like Valley Of The Kings, I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive), State Of Grace, Going Nowhere Fast and Lionheart. But the initiative to do a medley of old and more obscure live songs is a nice way to please fans with many Saxon-gigs on their resume.
What the main part of the audience wanted was crystal clear though. When Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn delivered the riffs to songs like Strong Arm Of The Law, 747 (Strangers In The Night) and Wheels Of Steel the temperature immediately rose a few notches. You could see that Biff liked the response and answered to it with a bit harder work on stage and a few more smiles.
He took the opportunity to have a dig about the Swedish volume regulations at concerts. Next time they will have to play acoustic, Biff joked. He also tried to 'speak' some Danish (that Yenz supposedly had tried to learn him), which basically was a strange burping noise. Bull's eye, Biff!
A few common mistakes such as a guitar solo and a pointless and endless sing-along passage led to a small dip of force in the encores, but as a whole it was another routine quality gig from the British quintet (with their Danish guest).
7 chalices of 10
Battalions Of Steel