Saxon – headline act
Warriors Of the Road 35th anniversary world tour: European leg 2014
Skid Row – special guest
Halcyon Way – support act
Amager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark
12/11 – 2014
Review and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Saxon is once again out on tour and this particular tour is dedicated to celebrate their 35 years in the business. The band recently released a brand new DVD titled WARRIORS OF THE ROAD THE SAXON CHRONICLES pt 2. The latest studio album the band released was the 2013 UNPLUGGED AND STRUNG UP. The label mates in Skid Row join forces with Saxon on this tour as special guests and Skid Row hasn’t released a proper album since 2006 with REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE. Instead, the band has focused on releasing EP’s and the latest one is called RISE OF THE DAMNATION ARMY UNITED WORLD REBELLION – CHAPTER TWO. Johnny Solinger has been the bands “new” singer since the rebirth of the band back in 1999 and three drummers have come and gone until the band decided to go with Rob Hammersmith. Skid Row has mostly performed at home in the US, but are now out in Europe with Saxon. The support act Halcyon Way is also an American band but I’ve never heard of them until I saw that at Amager Bio. Saxon promised a show that was going to feature all the hits from the holy trinity WHEELS OF STEEL, STRONG ARM OF THE LAW and DENIM AND LEATHER. The tour kicked off in Greece, ends in London, and touched down in Sweden and Denmark.
The venue for the night was the great old movie theater Amager Bio situated a bit outside Copenhagen. The place has a capacity to host about 1500 people and that’s when the balconies are open. If the balconies are closed about 900 people can come into the club. Since the show took place on a Wednesday, the club was about to close a little earlier compared to on the weekends and the show was going to end at 11 pm. The band has always had a loyal fanbase here in Scandinavia, so I guessed that the club was going to be pretty full. I few fans was waiting for autographs outside when I came to the club . Skid Row came out from their bus and everyone in the band was really nice to the fans that had been waited for them, they signed and talked to the fans and let them take all they pictures of the band members. Me and my friend decided to grab something to eat before the show and was back right before the doors opened. We hung our coats and went inside and took a look at the stage and the venue. The evening was scheduled to begin at 8 but already at 7.20 the pause music stopped and it was time for the support act to open the night.
“Conquer” began the show which also is the title track from the bands brand new album. The four guys in the front ran around on stage during the show and tried to get the small (for now) crowd amped up. The singer Braun thanked the fans and said it was nice to be playing in Copenhagen. This is “On Black Wings” he continued and fired off the next song. Halcyon Way is:
Steve Braun – lead vocals
Jon Bodan – lead guitar
Ernie Topran – drums
Max Eve – guitar
Skyler Moore – bass
When the band noticed that there was a fan taking pictures of them the guys ran towards him starting to pose at the stage. However, not many besides the guy taking pics seemed to care a lot for the band and the majority of the people inside the club drank beer or talked with friends at the bar instead of looking at the support act. That didn’t seem to mind the band though that continued their show with “Web Of Lies”.
Braun asked if the people was ready to see Skid Row and the mighty Saxon a little later. Braun said that Halcyon Way had been dreaming of opening for Saxon and that their dream had come true. Halcyon Way’s music was heavy metal but a little harder and heavier than Saxon. Halcyon Way didn’t impress much and I don’t think that they were the ultimate opening act for Saxon. Another song from CONQUER followed in “Hatred is My Cause” and by then the crowd had lost interest for the band long time ago. “Save Your Tears” followed after which Braun said it was time for the last song in “Desecration Day”. Braun urged everyone to shop for some merchandise from the band, and the show was over. 30 minutes was thankfully over and we started to get ready to see Skid Row. Halcyon Way did what they should but they’re not a band I’m going to pay to see in the future.
On Black Wings
Web Of Lies
Hatred Is my Cause
Save You Tears
By now, people had started arrive to the show and many maybe thought that the evening was going to begin at 8 just like the info had said and not 50 minutes earlier as what happened. The change of gear went pretty fast and a gigantic back drop was now hung up behind the drums. A lot of ladies started to take up position in front of stage in order to see their childhood heroes Skid Row live in action. It only took about 15 minutes until The Ramones song “Blitzkrieg Bop” was heard which was the queue for Skid Row to enter the stage.
First out on stage came drummer Hammersmith and the rest of the band followed him and met the cheers and screams from the fans. The crushing “Slave To The Grind” opened the show and what better way to kick off the night than with one of the best songs Skid Row has ever made. Solinger wore a bandana and sunglasses and fired off “Piece Of Me” instantly. Parts of the people on the floor sang a long with Solinger and it felt like Skid Row was a welcomed guest amongst the Danish fans. Solinger thanked fans for the warm welcome and took off his glasses and kicked off “Makin A Mess” which was followed by “Big Guns”. The line-up in Skid Row is:
Johnny Solinger – lead vocals
Dave “Snake” Sabo – guitar
Rachel Bolan – bass
Scotti Hill – guitar
Rob Hammersmith – drums
Solinger impressed me big time and he both sang and acted as a born frontman. Hammersmit did a great job behind the drums and Sabo & Hill completed each other perfect. They all seemed to be having a great time together on stage and that only elevated the experience for the fans. Bolan looked as cool as he did back in the days and the entire band gave a solid performance. Solinger said the band’s been to festivals this summer out in Europe and that’s been really fun but he said that it was more fun to be playing for the Danish fans this night. Solinger asked if anyone recognized the next song, “18 and Life”, which made the fans scream out loud and everyone sang the lyrics with Solinger. Even though the band hasn’t played in Denmark for really long, the fans hadn’t forgotten the band and showed their great support. Solinger worked really hard to get the crowd going and he did a great job.
“Thick Is The Skin” followed and the band had a lot better soundsystem going on than Halcyon Way. Solinger wanted the fans to say hello to Rachel Bolan who waved and thanked the fans for still caring for the band. Bolan took out his cellphone and said horns up to the fans and took a picture. The next song was dedicated to The Ramones and it was the Ramones song “Psycho Therapy” sung by Bolan. Solinger went off the stage for a while when Bolan sang the brilliant cover and as soon as the fans heard the first notes of the song the ones who wasn’t singing and dancing started to. Solinger came back on stage and wanted the fans to give Bolan a warm hand. Hill played the intro to the hit “Monkey Business” which made the fans crazy when they heard the intro. Solinger later said that it’s 25 years since the band released their debut album however the band have continued to make music he said and laughed continuing by kicking off the song “We Are The Damned” taken from the bands brand new EP which was released earlier this year.
Skid Row really knows how to take a crowd and I really think that Solinger has grown into the role as front man perfectly. The band delivered a strong and solid show in every way possible and it was nice to see how crazy the fans got when they saw their old heroes live in action. Solinger said the band could go on playing the entire night but they had to go and no matter how old they or the fans may get they’re always going to be the “Youth Gone Wild” and that set the crowd off completely. Solinger got everyone at the floor scream with him and that song also ended the brilliant 50 minutes of music Skid Row shared with the fans. The legendary Skid Row put on a really great show and the only thing that was missing was more songs and more playtime. I wanted to hear more, this felt just like an appetizer and I wanted to have the main course as well. Besides festivals, it was a while since the band performed in Scandinavia. It was therefore nice to be a part of this rare and intimate show. The only question is why the band mostly plays the old classic songs from the first time around. The band has released two albums and two EP’s since their comeback.
Blitzkrieg Bop (intro)
Slave To The Grind
Piece Of Me
Makin A Mess
18 And Life
Thick Is The Skin
Psycho Therapy (The Ramones cover)
We Are The Damned
Youth Gone Wild
The balconies had now opened up and the club seemed to be getting filled with people. A huge backdrop with the cover art-work from the new DVD hung behind the drums and on each side several Marshall amps were placed. Three banners hang on the balconies and each one made PR for the bands and their mutual record label as well as the new Alice Cooper DVD. At about 9.15 the AC/DC song “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If you wanna rock n roll)” came from the speakers and the club turned dark. It was, in other words, time for the almighty Saxon to enter the stage.
The intro to “Motorcycle Man” flooded from the speakers and the members showed up. The band got a warm welcome from the fans and kicked off the show with the classic “Motorcycle Man”. Byford stood in the middle of the stage banging his head off before he started to sing and the fans followed his lead and did the same thing. “Sacrifice” and “Power And Glory” continued the show and Byford said it was really nice to be in Copenhagen. As everyone knows, Saxon is:
Biff Byford – lead vocals
Paul Quinn – guitar
Doug Scarratt – guitar
Nigel Glockler – drums
Nibbs Carter – bass
Both Scarratt and Carter ran around on the stage and Byford did his fair part connecting with the crowd. The only one who was a little calmer and modest was Quinn. Byford thanked for the applause and asked if the fans was ready for two hours with Saxon. If we were, then he said lock the doors and no one will leave the club and we will fill your head with rock. The amazing “Heavy Metal Thunder” followed and the stage was filled with smoke. Byford asked how many of the fans that bought LIONHEART and the title song “Lionheart” followed after which it was time for a song from the album THE INNER SANCTUM in “I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)”.
The fans exploded with happiness when they heard the song and Byford urged everyone to sing a long with him in the song. In the middle he wanted everyone to clap their hands and asked if everyone was doing fine. This song is a personal favorite of mine and I was really glad when I once again was able to hear it live. Byford said he hoped the fans weren’t tired yet and that the show was going to continue for two more hours. The next song he said, was one the band hadn’t played since the Wheels Of Steel tour when they had the Danish act Pretty Maids as support act. The song was the amazing “Suzie Hold On” and the band surprised not only me, but also the rest of the fans, with playing a quite rare live song. It seemed to be one of Quinn’s personal favorite songs because he almost kneeled while he played the guitar and I was afraid he wasn’t going to come up from the floor again. Scarratt and Quinn shared the lead guitar parts while Byford urged the fans to sing with him.
“Dallas 1pm” brought down the roof and the fans were now close to ecstatic. It’s hard to beat Saxon on stage and when they play a set list like this I can’t think of hardly any other act that can be better than Saxon. It was amazing to see these older guys (except for the younger Carter) run around on stage giving their heart and soul to the fans. Its bands like Saxon that makes me proud to be a part of the heavy metal brother & sisterhood since the early 80’s. The band also seemed to be having a great time on stage and the fans followed every move the band made and Byford looked really happy with the warm respond the band got from the fans.
“To Hell And Back” continued the evening and when Quinn made his lead guitar part Byford gave Quinn a hug. Byford wanted Copenhagen to sing for him and let the fans take over the chorus. Byford said he wanted to thank Skid Row and Halcyon Way for travelling the roads with Saxon on this tour. It was 44 years ago the band wrote a song about a festival where they played and the song was “And The Band Played On” that came on which was followed by “The Eagle Has Landed” which in my opinion is the one song that shouldn’t be on the set list at all. The song is a show stopper but the audience seemed to like it anyway. At the end of the song, the fans all chanted “Saxon, Saxon…” and Byford seemed to be touched by the response. Then he took the mic and said that everyone who has twitter or facebook might know that it was time for that part of the show where the band plays a song they only play once during the tour and not more. The special song for Copenhagen was “Battalions Of Steel” taken from INTO THE LABYRINTH and once again it was time for Quinn to show off on guitar.
Another song that the band doesn’t play live much is “The Great White Buffalo” which it was time to hear now. The fans seemed to appreciate the little more rare choice of songs as much as I did and I’m not lying when I say that the band pretty much had the most solid set list for a long while. Byford once again asked if the fans had gotten tired yet which he hoped they hadn’t because there were a lot of time left to play for. To say that Saxon ran me totally over was a great apology to say at work tomorrow Byford said. The next song was about Scandinavia and it was the brilliant “747 (Strangers In the Night)” and the fans at the front of the stage went crazy and jumped and cheered the song through. Byford wanted the fans to sing a long with him in the chorus and the fans almost overpowered him. After the song was over one fan shouted for “Crusader” but Byford said that it wasn’t time for that song just yet. Byford said that the next song was taken from the first song with Scarratt in the band but then he got lost and shook his head and said that the right song to play was “Forever Free”. Again an un-expected song for Saxon to play live where Quinn took charge of the lead guitar part.
The following song was born 1980 and it was “Strong Arm Of The Law” where Byford wanted everyone to jump and scream for the band. The fans sang a little part of the song on their own and it was a solid version of the song we heard. A fan threw up a girlie top to Byford who asked if he should sign it, no said the fan it’s for you and Byford said he didn’t think it was going to fit him and laughed. Another fan threw up a baseball cap with the print Copenhell on it and Byford asked if the band didn’t play at Copenhell last year and put the cap on. He put the stuff away and asked if the fans wanted to hear a slow or fast song and the fans got “20.000 Ft” which was followed by “Solid Ball Of Rock” which is just another monumental song in the amazing song catalogue of Saxon.
Byford wanted the fans to scream “hey hey” in the middle of the song but he wasn’t satisfied with the power and said that the fans in Aahus two days before had shouted louder, that only made the Saxon fans scream louder and Byford wanted Glockler to give the fans a good groove to scream with. Byford was finally happy and told Quinn to come and stand beside him. Carter had taken off his shirt because the venue had gotten pretty hot by now and so was it time for the crowd pleaser “Princess Of The Night” in which the fans once again took over the singing parts. The majority of the audience had awakened now and sang and clapped along in the song. At the beginning of the show the fans at the back stood mostly solid looking at the band but as the show proceeded they loosened up and clapped their hands. After 95 minutes of magic the ordinary set of the show was over but the fans wanted to hear an encore which made the band return on to the stage after a short while.
“Crusader” was the first encore for the evening and it was a sweaty band that re-entered the stage. Byford said this is “Wheels Of Steel”, so continued the evening and the song contained the usual sing a long parts. He thought the fans sang a bit poor though and said that fans in Gothenburg, Aahus, Stockholm and Tilburg had sang the song better. That fired up the fans and finally everyone in the club screamed along in the song. The last and final song for the night was another classic in “Denim And Leather”. Byford said he saw that people from all generations was at the club this night and said it was fun to see that fans from the 80’s, 90’s and ’00’s had gathered to see Saxon. Byford said the band didn’t care is their fans were black, white, yellow or green, woman, man or young or old. Saxon is all about passion for the music and one thing which was “Denim And Leather”. Byford said he wanted to hear Copenhagen sing the chorus and leaned the mic towards the crowd. That ended an extra 20 minutes from Saxon that by now had been playing for about 2 hours like Byford said they would.
The show was stunning and even though I’ve seen Saxon so many times before they still manage to amaze me. I’m highly impressed by how hard this old gentlemen works on stage. They all worked hard to get the fans a night to remember and not many bands works as hard as Saxon. This show was definitely one of the best show I’ve seen this year. Highlights were “Suzie Holds On”, “Dallas 1 pm”, “Solid Ball Of Rock” and “Motorcycle Man”. It was also a blast to see Skid Row again.
It’s a Long Way To the Top (If You Wanna Rock n Roll) Intro 1
Power And the Glory
Heavy Metal Thunder
I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)
Suzie Hold On
To Hell And Back Again
And the Band Played On
The Eagle Has Landed
Battalions Of Steel
The Great White Buffalo
747 (strangers in the night)
Strong Arm Of the Law
20 000 ft
Solid Ball Of Rock
Princess of the Night
Wheels Of Steel
Denim And Leather
Thanks to Katja Monsted at Beatbox Bookings and Concerts for help with press/photo pass.
Thanks to the nice staff and security and Amager Bio.