Alright, so time for the full story I guess.
First off I want to say that my friends and I have been waiting to see Saxon for a very long time. We're young, and the last time the band was in the US was 2002, two years before I got into them. They canceled two US tours within 2005, one because of Biff Byford's house burning down, the other because of the band being unable to get into the country. The second cancellation came just days before the show and was absolutely heart-wrenching.
But anyway, here we are almost FOUR years later and the band has decided to come back into the US. Not for much of a tour, just a very small number of dates. This New York City gig was the only one within over 1,000 miles of here, hence why there were people at this from all over the country. We got to the venue around quarter-of 4pm, and there was just 2 or 3 people there before us. When doors opened at 6pm we were the first inside and grabbed a great spot right on the right, a little bit right of center. Opening band "J Rad" came on around 7:40 and played a 45 minute set which I would describe as crappy at best. The band isn't bad, but they just play a style of music which is not appropriate to be opening for the mighty Saxon. It was just kind of standard modern-ish rock. Not my thing at all. But they finished around 8:20, and then we waited for Saxon.
The best word to describe their entrance was simply EPIC. The intro to Battalions of Steel was so fucking excellent and perfectly got us into the show. After that we filled our heads with Heavy Metal Thunder, before returning to the new album. The show lasted a good two hours and I have to say it was among the most actual songs I've ever seen a band I really like play.The band deviated from the actual set list considerably, which I hear is a bit of a habit for them. Shame, as I would've liked to hear "Ride like the Wind" and "Come Rock of Ages", but they threw us some super classics which were not planned (20,000 Feet, Never Surrender). My only complaint with the set list was that there was not a single song played released between 1985 and 2008. It was entirely "classics" from the first 6 albums and new songs. I think this may seriously be because they expect US audiences to just want to hear the old shit, and in part they're right. Still, a shame as lionheart is my favorite album of theirs.
As I said, the band kicked ass for a good 2 hours including SEVEN encore songs. They seemed to really enjoy the crowd, and I sang and "fist-pumped" my ass off. Highlights of the show for me included "Power and the Glory", "Valley of the Kings", "Crusader", and "Denim and leather", though it's hard to pick any songs that weren't great. I was not "there in '79 when the dam began to burst", but hey, I was there last night and that's all that mattered. For sure one of the best gigs I've been to.
But fortunately the story doesn't end there. Biff told us that after the show the band would be heading to the Hard Rock Cafe one block away for a little bit of an "after party", so we all headed down there afterwards and had some drinks and a little food. Eventually the guys in the band showed up, minus Paul Quinn who was conspicuously absent. Great guys in all, more than happy to sign my set list, take some pictures, and Biff gave me an ID for my radio show. We had a shit load of fun and eventually left the city a little before 1AM. In addition to the excellent show, this was just an all around fun experience that I am ecstatic about.
With BIFF BYFORD! (For some reason I appear to have a double chin in this)
with Nibbs Carter
with Nigel Glockler
with Doug Scarrat