Having missed the London show, I travelled up from London to Oxford on a Sunday night for what proved to be a real Bank Holiday sorcher for more reasons than one.
Redline were onstage as I entered the Academy and were doing a fine job of warming up the Metalheads with their modern day twist on traditional Metal.
Having the Quireboys on board for this tour was a masterstroke. Variety is the spice of life and whilst Saxon are the meat and potatoes on this package it's the Quireboys who supply the brandy sauce to make sure everyone gets a good filling of pure rock 'n roll. What the two bands do have in common is that both are proud of their British heritage and neither gives a fook what anyone else thinks as long as you and themselves are having a good time.
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Hobbling onstage Spike, who had his foot in plaster, twirled his mic stand above his head and states: "This is rock 'n roll", as the Quireboys delved into a keg of mouth watering whiskey drenched numbers aimed to please. New numbers the rocking 'Too Much Of A Good Thing' and rag time touch of 'Mother Mary' bode well for the next album, whilst 'Hey You' and '7 O'Clock' are guaranteed to get any party started. Spike waltzed off stage to get the rest of himself plastered.
With new album 'Sacrifice' Saxon prove they are still hungry and relevant. Whilst most vintage bands stick to the same old tried and tested set Saxon are wise enough to vary their set on every tour to include much new material and the old classics but also tracks from their less than below par albums reminding the fans that each album still holds a forgotten gem. (Take note UFO.)
New songs 'Guardians Of The Tomb', 'Night Of The Wolf' and 'Stand Up And Fight' are delivered with conviction while 'Rock 'N Roll Gypsy' and 'Iron Wheels', complete with acoustic intro, age well like a vintage wine.
Biff claims that when Saxon played Oxford back in the 80s they got fined £1,500 for the seats that the fans ripped out, jokingly saying that "no one can leave until they've refunded the money."
But Saxon were worth every penny tonight with a mammoth two hour set. It's text book Metal with 'Dallas 1pm', '(747) Strangers In The Night' and set closer 'Wheels Of Steel'.
With a colossal encore of heads down 'Strong Arm Of The Law', Denim 'N Leather' and a roaring 'Princes Of The Night' , even the young female bar staff could only admiringly look on and be converted.
It was Saxon that set the spirit free.
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