Sheffield O2 Academy - Thursday 30th April 2009
The heavy metal revival of 2009 continued, following successful tours by Judas Priest, Metallica & Megadeth in recent months, with the homecoming return of the mighty Saxon. Having already been to two gigs in the past seven days, I seriously contemplated not going this evening, feeling a little bit tired (getting old). The fact that it was also raining could not really be used as an excuse as it always rains in Sheffield!
Support came from the pocket-size vixen Doro, who looks just as good today as she did 25 years ago! She still possesses a mighty set of lungs!
I was more than a little concerned, that not having seen Saxon in almost a quarter of a century, that nostalgia might revert to a Spinal Tap experience. Fortunately, my fears were completely unfounded and Biff & the band tore through 110 minutes of brilliant metal. The material was taken from the excellent new album “Into The Labyrinth” and their old classics from the early 80’s.
When you think of NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) two bands immediately spring to mind: Iron Maiden & Saxon. Everyone knows what happened to Maiden but Saxon never quite made it to those heady heights. They were and still are, however, a major influence on many of the rock/metal bands of today including the aforementioned Metallica.
The opening brace of Battalions Of Steel & Heavy Metal Thunder were breathtaking and another early highlight was the first ever UK live performance of Ride Like The Wind (probably Saxon’s most commercial song). My favourite Saxon track, Dallas 1pm was played at the expense of my second favourite track Power & The Glory (the only glaring omission from an almost perfect set). Initial complaints of being short-changed when the band went off following Wheels Of Steel were alleviated by two encores and six more rocking tracks. The penultimate song was the classic 747 (Strangers In The Night) featuring guest vocals by Doro Pesh (Biff you dirty old man!). The evening was rounded up by the riff-tastic Princess Of The Night. An excellent show and one of the best performances by a band in their 30th year – metal will never die!