NWOBHM legends Saxon bring their current UK run to a close on Tyneside.

The band released their critically acclaimed latest album Thunderbolt earlier this year. This being an album which sees the British five-piece in classic form. Subsequently, the group has been touring relentlessly in support of their latest offering and a packed out crowd eagerly awaits their return to the Newcastle City Hall for their first show in this majestic theatre since 1988.

A hard-rocking triple bill being the order of the day, as Wayward Sons, kick off the evening with a set that focuses on their debut album Ghosts of Yet To Come. Of course, frontman Toby Jepson is no stranger to this very room having headlined this legendary concert hall with the Little Angels back in the 90’s. However, tonight’s short but sweet set is all about his new band, with no signs of any tracks from his previous outfit included in the show this evening.

Wayward Sons are flying the flag high for the New Wave of Classic Rock as they belt through a set featuring crowd-pleasers such as the incredibly infectious “Crush”, “Killing Time” and the band’s anthemic debut single “To The End”. Tonight, the British five-piece really grabbed the bull by the horns and certainly made their mark in the short time allotted to them; the end result is a standing ovation from their North East fan base. It’s fair to say, mission accomplished for Toby Jepson and company.

Metal Queen Doro Pesch makes a rare appearance in the North East this evening. Bedecked in black leather and a Motorhead t-shirt, from the moment the former Warlock lead vocalist takes the stage the whole room is up on their feet. Tonight’s set showcases classics such as “Burning The Witches”, the ferocious “All We Are” along with the unmistakable ballad “Fur Immer”. Throughout this evening’s 45-minute set Doro’s voice sounds incredible, having lost none of her impressive vocal range. Early in the show, the German metal legend recollects performing in Newcastle alongside the late great Ronnie James Dio some time ago.

Of course, there is room in the set for tracks from Doro’s latest double album Forever Warriors, Forever United including recent single and set closer “All For Metal”. Doro will be returning to the UK next year for a select run of headline shows along with an appearance at Hard Rock Hell. With a career spanning 35 years, like a fine wine, Doro just keeps getting better with age.

By the time headliners, Saxon hits the stage, the room is at a fever pitch. The group kicks off the proceedings with the pulsating title track of their latest album Thunderbolt, which in turn sets the tone for the night ahead.

Five tracks from Thunderbolt feature during Saxon’s musical marathon. This includes the likes of “Predator”, “Sons of Odin”, “The Secret of Flight” along with “They Played Rock and Roll”. Each of these incredible tracks sits seamlessly side by side classics from Saxon’s extensive back catalogue spanning in excess of 20 studio albums.

A bountiful number of Marshall amps line the back wall of the venue and a sea of devil horns are thrust into the air from the room full of hardcore Saxon fans in attendance this evening. Tonight Saxon most certainly mean business and the Newcastle fans thrive on this from the off, embracing each song wholeheartedly by singing at the tops of their voices.

Throughout their almost two hour set, the classics roll in thick and fast with the likes of “Strong Arm of the Law”, “Solid Ball of Rock” and “Dallas 1 pm” all featuring. By this point frontman, Biff Byford argues most bands would leave the stage, but this isn’t most bands. Tonight Saxon are leaving no stone unturned, delivering an incredible setlist which covers all of the bases.

As the band head towards the latter stages of their main set, it’s all about the big guns. This includes the likes of “And The Bands Played On”, “747 (Strangers In The Night)”, “Never Surrender” and “Princess of the Night”. The latter of which closes out their main set leaving the crowd wanting more.

A devastatingly strong encore featuring a quartet of Saxon’s greatest hits including fan favourites and anthems such as “Heavy Metal Thunder”, “Wheels of Steel” and “Denim and Leather” bring Saxon’s career-spanning setlist to its explosive conclusion.

Whilst other legends of the heavy metal genre look to call it a day, tonight Saxon proves that they are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.

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Event Date: 11-Nov-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.