Battalions Of Steel 30th Anniversary Tour 2010
Dirty Passion – support act
Mejeriet, Lund, Sweden
26/3 – 2010
Review and live pictures by Anders Sandvall
It’s been an intense spring for me when it comes to concerts. The day before the Saxon show I attended the Gamma Ray and Freedom Call show in Malmoe. This day was it time for me to head a few miles to the town of Lund and the venue Mejeriet to see the legendary NWOBHM icons in Saxon. The tour that the band is out on was supposed to stop by Mejeriet last year but was cancelled because of illness. The tour is pretty short, it started out at the 14th of March and ended at the 27th the same month. Saxon didn’t do any shows in Great Britain at all this time. The bands bass player Nibbs Carter wasn’t along on the road this time because his wife was sick. He was replaced by Yenz Leonhardt (Kingdom Come, Lacrimosa, Iron Savior, Savage Circus, Stormwarrior, etc). It was also a bit uncertain which band that was gonna be support act this evening. During some of the shows, Saxon didn’t have any support act at all. About a week before this show was to take place in Lund, it was clear that the support act was gonna be Dirty Passion from Malmoe. Many of the people I met last night at the Gamma Ray show said that they also were gonna attend the Saxon show so I met many of my fellow hard rockers outside the venue this night. I was as always early to the show and managed to meet up Byford and Quinn and they were nice as always.
Saxon isn’t out promoting a new album, instead are they playing songs from their latest release INTO THE LABYRINTH that came early last year. The bands old label EMI is also in the process of releasing Saxons first nine albums re-mastered and with bonus tracks. They are releasing them three at a time and the first six came last year just in time when the band was gonna go out on tour and the just in time for this leg of the tour came the remaining three.
Due to the tight schedule, Saxon were gonna head to the Netherlands straight after the show so the doors opened quite early. I used the time before the show to look at merchandise and talk to friends. About a quarter to eight it was time for the support act to go on stage.
Dirty Passion kicked off their show in front of a semi-full venue. I have seen the young act before but I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of their American sleaze metal to be honest. It took two songs before the singer spoke to the crowd and said that it was great fun to be standing on Mejeriet’s stage and open for the legendary Saxon. He also said that it was Friday and time to party and then kicked off the next song.
It felt like the audience was a bit reluctant towards the band but to the guys rescue I have to say that they seemed a lot more solid and tight now compared to the last time I saw them. But it showed that they have much more to work to do. It was painfully obvious that the singer had problems with getting the crowd going and in the mood for some Dirty Passion music. The band also needs to improve their songs, but on the other hand the band is quite young and they have time to work and improve things. The singer said that it had been an amazing year for the band. They have been on the road with Faster Pussycat, Enuff Z’ nuff on a Europe tour and support to Y&T on some show’s and now they are opening for Saxon. The band wanted to say thanks to all the fans and all the help they have received from people during the years. The lights weren’t good at all and the band stood mostly in the dark. The smoke machine did its best to cover the stage with smoke so it was hard to get pictures of the band as well. Dirty Passion’s time on stage was 35 minutes and as soon as the band went off stage was it time for the crew to make way for the headline act.
During the time Dirty Passion was on stage more and more people showed up to see Saxon and the venue started to get a bit crowded. Saxon are one of the bands that actually gains more and more fans each year and it is fun to see the great mix of older middle aged men seeing the show with their children. I also noticed many other band shirts besides Saxon. I saw Pretty Maids, Motörhead, Iron Maiden, and Napalm Death….so Saxon has fans amongst nearly every possible metal genre.
On stage they had a drum podium and a huge backdrop. On the both bass drums it said Nigel Glockler and on the huge back drop was covered by the bands logo. On each side beneath the drums were two smaller backdrops placed with some kind of snake or lizard printed on them. The venue is built so that you can see the band wherever you are standing in the venue and that is quite cool. About 5 minutes before the band came on stage the lights went out and the Metallica song “Hit The Lights” roared out in the club. When the song ended did Saxon’s intro kicked off and the stage was lit up.
While the intro played the members came to the stage:
Biff Byford – lead vocals
Doug Scarratt – guitar
Nigel Glockler – drums
Paul Quinn – guitar
Yenz Leonhardt – bass
The crowd welcomed the band with open arms and were ecstatic right from the start. Saxon began the show with a new track from INTO THE LABYRINTH called “Battalions Of Steel”. The smoke and the light worked in perfect harmony and added atmosphere to the song and the band on stage. Straight after came the monumental “Heavy Metal Thunder” and it was only to surrender in front of the majestic Biff Byford and his fellow band members in one of the best British acts ever…SAXON! It takes a lots of guts to fire off such a classical song as “Heavy Metal Thunder” but Saxon can and will do it. Byford wore, as always, a long coat and underneath it he had a Dirty Passion t-shirt. Byford wondered how Lund was doing this Friday night and said that the next song was a device that we all try to live after – “Live To Rock”. Needles to say Byford had the crowd in the palm of his hand and there’s not many singers that hold the charisma and captivating routine that Byford has. Byford said it was time to travel back in time and announced “Motorcycle Man” which was followed by “Requiem (We Will Remember)” that was dedicated to Phil Lynott.
Quinn stood beside Byford with his leather jacket and sunglasses and baseball cap on and looked despite his outfit really cool. I mean, he’s after all one of two remaining original members of Saxon – how cool isn’t that? Byford showed no sign of having aged at all and headbanged through the entire show. It didn’t seem to mind the people whether the band played older or newer songs, they screamed and cheered through every song. “Witchfinder General”, “Metal Head” and the Saxon signature song “Eagle Has Landed” followed and the temperature inside the venue soon reached boiling point. During “Eagle Has Landed” Quinn did a longer guitar intro under which Byford went off stage to catch his breath. Even though the song is a classic is it a slow one and the tempo dropped quite a bit. Byford said it was time to speed up a bit and to play songs that’s about vikings, a song about our ancestors and of course a song about girls. Byford fired off “Warriors” then came “Battle Cry” which was followed by “Sex From Girls”. All the songs were wrapped into a medley which was loved by the fans.
When “To Hell And Back Again” and “Strong Arm Of The Law” were played the audience went berserk once again and Byford said that it was so fun to play in Sweden because they have such loyal fans here. Even though bassist Leonhardt didn’t do so much on stage, he brought a solid and heavy groove to the music and I thought he did a great job on stage. Byford, Quinn and Scarratt used the entire stage to run around and it was really fun to see that the guys still have the love and joy for the music intact. A song that didn’t do much for the show was “Broken Heroes” which was taken from the not so great album INNOCENCE IS NO EXCUSE.
Now it was time for the band and the audience to go back to the dawn of the NWOBHM era. Byford said it was 40 years since the band first got together which felt pretty amazing and that was something the crowd could agree with. Byford said it was a shame that the government have decided how loud bands are aloud to play and he said that he thought that music are supposed to be played loud and fired off “20.000 Feet” which was followed by the amazing “747 (Strangers In The Night)”. More golden oldies followed with “Princess Of The Night” that also ended the show. The band was really sweaty and they thanked us for being there and for the warm welcome we had given them.
But no one thought the show would end there I hope! No, the band shortly arrived on stage to do encores. The band walked on to the intro of “Wheels Of Steel”. At the middle of the song everyone stopped besides drums and bass and Byford wanted us to sing wow, wow, wow yeah and the audience followed his instructions. Byford looked at the Leonhardt (who is from Denmark) and said that they had played in Denmark last night and that he had asked Leonhardt to count in the crowd in Danish but Byford couldn’t understand what he said. So now he asked Leonhardt to count in on Swedish and then Byford seem to understand what he said. Then it was time to go back and finish up the song. After that the band went off stage again but the crowd shouted for “Crusader” so the band walked on again to fire off the two last songs for the evening. The last songs were “Crusader” and the all time classic “Denim And Leather”. Byford said he thought it was really fun to see that three generations had come to see the band. He dedicated “Denim And Leather” to all the fans that have stayed with the band through all these years. The audience sang a long in both songs and the band seemed to be really glad and touched by the warm welcome and to see the very loyal fanbase they have in Sweden.
After the last note faded Byford gathered the band at the middle of the stage to form a line and to thank all the fans for being there. The fans couldn’t but salute Saxon for a brilliant show. I’ve nothing to make a negative remark on, the lights and the sound was perfect and the set list was amazing.
Byford is a brilliant front man and it’s always a pleasure to go and see a Saxon show. The only thing I lacked was more songs from the middle of the 80’s and the 90’s. But that’s just a minor comment. I think that everyone that walked out from Mejeriet was as happy as I was. It was a magical show. If you can’t get enough of Saxon be sure to see them live across Europe this summer during the festival season.
Thanks to Emma at Kulturbolaget for help with press/photo pass to the show and as always a huge thank you to the boss of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren and the head of press Kristian Kornhage for all help.
Thanks to the friendly staff and security at Mejeriet
More info about the band
Battalions Of Steel
Heavy Metal Thunder
Live To Rock
Requiem (We Will Remember)
Eagle Has Landed
To Hell And Back Again
Strong Arm Of The Law
747 (Strangers In the Night)
Princess Of The Night
Wheels Of Steel
Denim And Leather