|» Saxon 2014 11 08||
(sorry, no setlist)
Skid Row as support act to Saxon. It's not like it's an odd combination, but who would ever have thought of this constellation back in the day when Skid Row once rose to fame? The band however seems satisfied with having Johnny Solinger as its frontman. A position which he's had since 1999 and as long as the band's former vocalist Sebastian Bach isn't invited to join the ranks again, being an act in the shadows of a past time is what this once arena band has to deal with.
Personally I find it quite easy to understand why this current lineup isn't the least interested in bringing Bach back. I mean, they are a resilient bunch and there are reasons why bands split up in the first place and having a functional band is utterly a greater decision than having no band at all, or ending up being a totally deflated group of people, just in it for the greater income, and I guess money isn't an issue anyway within the core of this band.
For a band that usually plays its own live shows, merely 45 minutes of stage time isn't exactly what you're looking for. They are somewhat forced to rush through a set comprised of 6 songs off the two initial and highly acclaimed releases, 2 songs off the band's current EP project United World Rebellion, as well as a track from Solinger's first album appearance with the band, Thickskin, and also a cover version of The Ramones' Psycho Therapy, featuring bassplayer Rachel Bolan on vocals. A track which Skid Row originally captured on its 1992 EP, B-Side Ourselves.
The five guys on stage definitely do their best to rise to the occasion even if Solinger isn't able to reach his normal capacity as he apparently struggles a little with some advanced parts. I've seen him perform live quite a few times with this unit already and he usually comes out stronger than what he was able to deliver this evening. He also has a tendency to shade his face a little with his cap and with his fists on the microphone, which perhaps aren't the most obvious choices if you wanna show the world that you're someone to count on.
Songs like 18 & Life, Youth Gone Wild, Big Guns and Monkey Business
definitely come out great with the crowd and although I personally enjoy
the non-classic material performed on stage as well, the general visitor
shows a bit of a lack of interest during these moments. Skid Row is still
a live act to be reckoned with as far as I'm concerned and I absolutely
complement them on their choice to continue the trek without their once
divinely talented lead vocalist.
Performance: 7 chalices
High-powered heavy metal on stage is definitely what Saxon's reputation has been telling as through the years and at this point there seems to be no way to stop this outfit from reaching the fame it had in the first half of the 80's. I have no specific numbers, but I reckon a good 1500 people showed up for this completely sold out event on this Saturday night in Stockholm.
The place was really packed to the breaking point and the heat indoors was kind of immense although the temperature outside was only a few degrees above the freezing point. Lead vocalist Biff Byford even told us that they'll have to ask for a bigger venue next time and asked us if this venue was a Swedish sauna, probably not knowing that saunas are more a Finnish experience. He and bassplayer Nibbs Carter were soaking wet already halfway through the set.
Being persistent obviously pays off in the end. The band has rather steadily increased its fanbase since the miserable years in the mid 90's. When now being out on its 35th anniversary tour, we were earlier told that this set was going to be based on, what Biff called, The holy trinity, meaning the three albums Wheels Of Steel, Strong Arm Of The Law and Denim And Leather. Surely this was a true statement, but I really can't tell the difference, in terms of this trio, between this set and what's been performed during most of the band's career, since 12 out of a total of 24 songs, meaning 50 percent, were taken off them and this percentage pretty much follows their norms.
Saxon had on the other hand decided to put a few surprises to the list of songs as well. Devil Rides Out was allegedly played for the second time in 25 years and I think I haven't seen The Great White Buffalo live since the Dogs Of War tour in 1995. None of these songs are the least monumental to me personally, but I still like the way they make the set seem a little more fresh. Add a number of songs off the last decades too and we were given a fairly varied and balanced set eventually.
Biff is definitely the key factor to the band's success. His voice is astoundingly awesome for his age and he's really dominant and commanding and he also controls the show the way he wants to. He tells us that they're not 18 anymore and yet they play an over 2 hour set. Doug Scarratt has with his 18 years of experience in the band taken over the role as the band's most prominent guitarist. He holds a centered position on the stage and he plays a lot of the solos as well.
His brother in arms, Paul Quinn, seems to be just fine with this new order. He has a rather fixed position and he takes on a rather shy appearance behind his cap and doesn't really contributes to the overall energetic performance, although he still knows how to handle his duties for sure.
Once again I got my ass kicked by Saxon's explosive and powerful live show and I believe that these veteran guys will continue to roam the venues as long as they want to. They show no signs of inconsistency, they execute on the occasions and there's no chance that someone in the crowd left this show dissatisfied.
Performance: 8,5 chalices