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, 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 “In the Shadows.” and “Look to the Edge,” from their upcoming album 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 Saxon’s last album, 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 band’s garish tales through their songs. Hell finished their set with Bower dedicating “On Earth as it is in Hell,” to Saxon’s drummer Nigel Glockler, much to the pleasing of the audience.

Back in December, Saxon’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 “The Holy Trinity,” their three most notable albums Wheels of Steel, Strong Arm of the Law, and Denim and Leather. Biff Byford reminisces of the band’s many visits to the region’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 doesn’t seem to subside, whipping the crowd into a fist pumping frenzy as they hang on to every word of fan favorites like “Solid Ball Rock,” “747 (Strangers of the Night),” and “Crusader.” Saxon also give a rare airing of “Suzie Hold On,” a song they haven’t played live many times since the 80’s. Their main set is brought to a close with the classic “Princess of the Night,” 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 “Wheels of Steel,” and “Denim and Leather.” The band bring Sven up front as they take a well-deserved bow, bringing a superb night of Heavy Metal to a fitting finale.

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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.