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London Koko, 20 December 2011
one of those bands that I have seen more times than I can count, but I
have never lacked the motivation to attend any of their shows.
it that made their performance at the London Koko on the evening of the
20th of December more special than other similar excursions to honour
the Barnsley Metal legends?
apart from the fact that they are still one of the best bands that a
Metalhead of any age group can hope to see in a live environment, it was
the knowledge that tonight's show would feature predominantly material
from the legendary opus "Denim And Leather" as well as from the band's
latest studio effort, the classic influenced but also quite
modern-sounding "Call To Arms".
Tonight's support came from the Swedish Metallers Hammerfall - a
band that has graced us with its presence many times in the recent past
and which has a strong following here in the UK.
to the stage at precisely 19:40 and straight away set about getting the
crowd to sing along to their highly melodic and pretty straightforward
though their sound lacked depth and their brand of Metal is not such
that can attract the interest of what you could describe as the typical
old-school Saxon fan, Hammerfall looked determined enough to put their
message across to the fairly packed Koko crowd and it was not long
before their passion and commitment were rewarded!
Metal tunes like "Angel Of Mercy" and "Renegade" were probably intended
for a targeted audience, but it was when they moved into more ‘classic'
territory with songs like "Bang Your Head" that even the older members
of the crowd began to be involved in the proceedings - something that
frontman Joacim Cans openly recognised.
Bound" is quite a cheesy track but one that I admit to never managing to
resist singing along to, whereas the Accept influenced "Let The Hammer
Fall" is such a powerful musical proposition that I had no hesitations
whatsoever head banging to it!
stage, Hammerfall have managed to use pretty much all the available
space of the stage that was given to them on the night, constantly
moving around, engaging with the audience and throwing shapes and by the
time the last song of the night, the classic "Hearts On Fire" was
introduced, the band knew that they had done everything they could to
justify Saxon's decision to have them opening their shows here in the
second performance in London in a year can only really be described as a
hero's welcome! The first thing that you could notice after the epic
intro and the main massive riff of the already-established classic
"Hammer Of The Gods" were performed is how improved the sound was and
how more commanding Saxon were on stage in comparison to their opening
act, something that can be equally attributed to sheer talent and years
voice was as powerful as it has ever been, whether performing Zeppelin-esque
ballads like "When Doomsday Comes" or more Rock 'n Roll sounding tracks
such as "Chasing The Bullet" and "Motorcycle Man"- the latter prompting
the first of many mosh pits of the night!
crowd's rhythmical hand clapping introduced the newbie "Back In ‘79" and
I am afraid that I cannot really tell you what was happening during
"Solid Ball Of Rock" as I was too busy head banging throughout (somewhat
regretted the following morning!).
moment, Biff mentioned that this year the band was celebrating thirty
years since the release of "Denim And Leather" and that they chose to
honour this much loved classic by performing it in sections.
with "Never Surrender", which featured one of the many wonderful guitar
solos performed by Doug Scarratt on the night, Saxon continued with
another two mosh pit pleasers in "Fire In The Sky" and "Midnight Rider",
before the duet "And The Bands Played On"/"To Hell And Back Again"
prompted Biff to ask "Is everybody feeling good?", to which the audience
replied with a massive roar!
last album was further promoted through "Call To Arms" and "Mists Of
Avalon" but sandwiched between were an awesome rendition of the classic
Hard Rocker "Rock The Nations" and a dynamic drum solo, courtesy of Mr.
and only time that Biff asked to choose between two songs resulted in
the incorporation of the epic "Broken Heroes" into the set, followed by
the second section of the "Denim And Leather" extravaganza which
included "Play It Loud", "Rough And Ready", "Out Of Control" and the
amazing duet "Denim And Leather"/"Princess Of The Night", all of which
proved what an unbelievably tight outfit the Saxon of 2011 really are!
a two minute departure from the stage, the band returned and performed
an array of classic compositions, starting with "Crusader", which
brought epic tears to my eyes. Doug Scarratt's flamboyant solo was
followed by the head banging opus "Power And The Glory" which prompted
more action in the already established mosh pit and following a smartly
introduced and amazingly performed "747 (Strangers In The Night)" by
Biff, the band left the stage for the second time.
having performed enough material to satisfy the average concert-goer,
Saxon realised that the last night of their "Call To Arms" tour was a
special occasion that needed to be appropriately celebrated and so
return to the stage once again.
a very energetic bass guitar solo, courtesy of Mr. Nibbs Carter, Saxon
finished off with two more classics, namely "Strong Arm Of The Law" and
"Wheels Of Steel" and by the time they decided to perform their last
bows, the noise from the crowd was so loud that you had to cover your
As I mentioned earlier in my review, I have had the pleasure of seeing
Saxon live on numerous occasions in the past but it really feels like
each new performance is more impressive than the last!
them stand out from the crowd, apart from the sheer talent of each of
the individual members, is their commitment to ensuring that attending a
Saxon show is not only a truly enjoyable experience but is also ‘value
for money' and also their determination to remain an outfit relevant to
reasons, it is no exaggeration to say that the age of tonight's ranged
from sixteen to sixty! I am not sure what the future holds for this
legendary band, but I do know this: next time you see a new Saxon album
being released or a new gig being advertised, do not hesitate -
something that cannot be said for all bands these days!
1. Intro 2. Hammer Of The Gods 3. Heavy Metal Thunder 4. When Doomsday
Comes 5. Chasing The Bullet 6. Motorcycle Man 7. Back In ‘79 8. Solid
Ball Of Rock 9. Never Surrender 10. Fire In The Sky 11. Midnight Rider
12. And The Bands Played On 13. To Hell And Back Again 14. Call To Arms
15. Rock The Nations 16. Drum Solo (Nigel Glockler) 17. Mists Of Avalon
18. Broken Heroes 19. Play It Loud 20. Rough And Ready 21. Out Of
Control 22. Denim And Leather 23. Princess Of The Night
First Encore: 24. Crusader 25. Guitar Solo (Doug Scarratt) 26. Power And
The Glory 27. 747 (Strangers In The Night)
Second Encore: 28. Bass Solo (Nibbs Carter) 29. Strong Arm Of The
Law 30. Wheels Of Steel
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