Saxon gave Newcastle a night of Heavy Metal Thunder, as they brought their 35th anniversary Warriors of the Road tour to the O2 Academy.
German symphonic metal six piece,Â Beyond The Black, got the night off to a flying start. The band, fronted by the captivating Jennifer Haben, played a short set including tracks like â€œIn the Shadows.â€ and â€œLook to the Edge,â€ from their upcoming albumÂ Songs of Love and Death. The band conjured up sounds reminiscent of Within Temptation.
Next up was Hell, who transported the venue into their underground realm, with a dark yet theatrical performance. The band features Andy Sneap on guitar, who produced Saxonâ€™s last album,Â Sacrifice. Frontman David Bower commands the stage, often standing with one foot on the monitor, staring deeply out into the room, as he delivers the bandâ€™s garish tales through their songs. Hell finished their set with Bower dedicating â€œOn Earth as it is in Hell,â€ to Saxonâ€™s drummer Nigel Glockler, much to the pleasing of the audience.
Back in December, Saxonâ€™s drummer Nigel Glockler fell ill on the eve of their Newcastle show, resulting in the remaining dates of their UK tour being postponed. This evening Saxon resume their tour, but with Sven Dirkschneider, son of Udo Dirkschneider from Accept filling the rather large boots left by Nigel, whilst he continues to recover. Dirkschneider is no stranger to Saxon having worked with Nigel as his drum tech in recent times.
Saxon’s set comprises of tracks from â€œThe Holy Trinity,â€ their three most notable albums Wheels of Steel, Strong Arm of the Law, and Denim and Leather. Biff Byford reminisces of the bandâ€™s many visits to the regionâ€™s iconic venues, including the much loved Mayfair Ballroom, which is sadly no longer, and the prestigious Newcastle City Hall.
The band seem to come out with all guns blazing, and their energy doesnâ€™t seem to subside, whipping the crowd into a fist pumping frenzy as they hang on to every word of fan favorites like â€œSolid Ball Rock,â€ â€œ747 (Strangers of the Night),â€ and â€œCrusader.â€ Saxon also give a rare airing of â€œSuzie Hold On,â€ a song they havenâ€™t played live many times since the 80â€™s. Their main set is brought to a close with the classic â€œPrincess of the Night,â€ leaving the audience chanting their name, and cheering for more.
The night would not be complete without a huge sing-along from the crowd, as Saxon rocked their way through â€œWheels of Steel,â€ and â€œDenim and Leather.â€ The band bring Sven up front as they take a well-deserved bow, bringing a superb night of Heavy Metal to a fitting finale.