edand Belfast has turned out in force to see Biff and the boys; proving that familiarity has not dampened their appeal. Saxon can always be relied upon to bring quality support acts with them, this time in the guise of Girlschool and Fastway and they both went down a treat with the near capacity crowd. Come twenty past ten however – and as the lights went down for Saxon’s imminent arrival – it was clear who everyone was here to see.
Launching straight into “Battering Ram” and following it up in rapid succession with “Let Me Feel Your Power” and a frenzied “Sacrifice”, it was obvious they were taking no prisoners. It says alot for the quality of their back catalogue that classics such as “Strong Arm of The Law” and “And The Bands Played On” were dispensed with relatively early in the set to the delight of the crowd. This was a career spanning setlist and the likes of the seldom heard “Killing Ground” went down an absolute storm while the likes of “747 (Strangers In The Night)”, “Denim and Leather” and “Princess Of The Night” had Belfast at fever pitch.
Although only three dates into their European tour the band were a well oiled machine and the sound was perfect throughout the duration of their set. The guitar team of Doug Scarrat and Paul Quinn are one of the most criminally underrated in heavy metal. Quinn in particular has a laid back easy going style as he peels off his numerous riffs and solos, the only signs of showmanship come during “The Eagle Has Landed”, when he seems to summon each note from the very depths of his soul.
On album – and in the live scenario – Saxon rarely disappoint and this night was no different. Unlike many of their peers who seem to go through the motions, they play with a drive and intensity that would put bands a third of their age to shame. Long may this band play on. 9/10