Saxon St Georges Day Shepherds Bush from Mark Kentfield, 28/04/11
The timing of this tour was unusual, given that the excellent new album Call To Arms was still weeks away. Previewing just four of its tracks before a return visit later in the year, SAXON  bring the house down anyway.
The vibe is loose and friendly, several of those onstage sporting silly Union Jack bowler hats, whilst fan-presented St George’s flags are draped upon Nigel Glocker’s kit. White-maned frontman Biff Byford is charming, amusing and ever so slightly ludicrous, but Sweet Jesus… what a foghorn of a voice.
Rarely content to write clichéd lyrics, Saxon regale us with tales of steam trains (Princess Of The Night), lunar exploration (The Eagle Has Landed) and presidential assassinations (Dallas 1pm), though the likes of Heavy Metal Thunder, Denim And Leather, Motorcycle Man, Never Surrender and Play It Loud are quintessential celebrations of the band’s unity with its fans, not to mention hymns to a genre – and indeed a group – that simply refuses to die.