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Assembly, Leamington, 9 April 2011
without doubt the best all out rock show I have seen at this magnificent
venue, two strong support acts and one of the all time great NWOBHM
bands playing a blinder. with a stage set up that could easily grace
venues many times the size and all in front of a packed hall of
enthusiastic rockers of all ages, this show was also the opening night
of Saxon's UK tour.
Crimes of Passion a 5 piece classic heavy metal band with lead
vocalist Dale coming over like the UK's very own Dave Lee Roth, striking
all the rock star poses and full of charm, a quality set of metal in the
vein at times of Iron Maiden.
Next up a
real power trio Fury UK with a set full of hard hitting riff
filled numbers and spectacularly fast guitar solos, these guys really
are a headbangers delight with for me a sound with again touches Maiden
but also possibly The Almighty and Metallica.
latest album A Way of Life was released in 2010 and they opened their
set with two scorchers from that album 'I See Red' and 'Fall From Grace'
both tracks that do not let up for a second, a quality rock outfit and
easy to see why they have been chosen as a support act for high profile
shows including Michael Schenker and of course tonight's headliners.
of course have one of the best rock front men of all time at the helm in
Biff Byford who surely ranks alongside Lemmy as one of the most loved
characters in British rock music and also a fellow Godfather of British
heavy metal, also in the ranks from the very beginning, the sensational
lead guitarist Paul Quinn.
set up for Saxons arrival was a sign of things to come, the huge drum
riser that put Nigel Glockler right in the action and not hidden away as
with some bands, a spacious stage area for plenty of movement, the
mammoth Saxon backdrop and the obviously huge lighting set up.
started with two numbers from their soon to be released 19th studio
album Call To Arms and from the sound of 'Hammer of the Gods' and 'Back
in '79' the Yorkshire rockers are back with another top class rock
album, the new material also fitted perfectly alongside the much loved
number one was a storming 'Never Surrender' from the 1981 album Denim
and Leather, this album was well represented in the main set, with (the
does what it says on the tin track) 'Play it Loud', 'And the Bands
Played On' their tribute to the 1980 inaugural Monsters of rock
festival, the headbangers anthem 'Denim and Leather' and a charging
'Princess of the Night'.
album to be heavily featured in the main set and possibly their best
ever album was Strong Arm of the Law including breathtaking runs through
two of their fastest rockers 'To Hell and Back Again' and '20,000 ft',
both showcasing Biff's as powerful as ever vocal delivery, these two
tracks also full of top draw guitar work form Paul Quinn and Doug
Scarratt, and the bass lines of Nibbs Carter.
The main set
also included the heavy brooding rock of 'When Doomsday Comes' from the
Call to Arms album to be released this May and a belting 'Solid Ball of
Rock' from the album of the same name.
rarely witnessed a crowd as responsive, hands pumping the air for most
of the night (at one point a first for me I saw crutches being punched
in the air!), singing along at every opportunity and generally having a
really good time.
what encores, starting with 'Crusader' title track of their 1984 album
and introduced by Biff as their biggest track in Japan, tracks from
Wheels of Steel the album that launched them into rock legend in 1980
were also left for the encores with two of the all time rock classics
'747 (Strangers in the Night)' and 'Wheels of Steel' itself either side
of a charged 'Strong Arm of the Law'.
because of the fantastic crowd response to the show the band seemed to
return to the stage for two unplanned encores 'The Eagle Has Landed'
from The Power and the Glory album and then finishing in style with a
thunderous 'Motorcycle Man' complete with the famous motorbike guitar
effects at the start.
What a gig,
so many standouts, the huge show with excellent lights and sound, Biff's
fun and games with the crowd, the look on peoples faces as Saxon started
to play yet another classic number, the huge responsive crowd, and not
least the music with two quality supports and Saxon firing on all
Review and photos by
Gig review (London)
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