It was at my buddy Muc’s house back in the summer of 1982 when I first seen an actually Saxon album in Thunder Bay! Sure I read about them as they were part of the whole New Wave Of British Heavy Metal along with Def Leppard/Iron Maiden and others but Muc, give him credit as he bought this on import for how much back in 82 I have no idea but it blew my mind when I seen the look of the cover with Saxon red logo and the fact that it was live was the clincher seal of the deal…
I Love Live Albums…..
Of course another selling feature for me was the that it had some live shots on the back of the cover as well. I was swayed….
Muc was always cool at lending me vinyl so it wasn’t before to long I got this into my hands and hear it from the start to finish…..
This album is a great live document and to this day I can listen to this and it takes me right back to 82…
Chaps Known As Saxon….
Biff Byford – Vocals
Graham Oliver – Guitar
Paul Quinn – Guitar
Steve Dawson – Bass
Nigel Glockler – Drums
HMO’S Saxon Hit List..
1. “Motorcycle Man” 4:22
2. “747 (Strangers in the Night)” 4:38
3. “Princess of the Night” 4:20
4. “Strong Arm of the Law” 4:39
5. “Heavy Metal Thunder” 4:09
No. Title Length
6. “20,000 Ft.” 3:26
7. “Wheels of Steel” 8:52
8. “Never Surrender” 3:54
9. “Fire in the Sky” 2:41
10. “Machine Gun” 3:52
Boom out of the gate and it’s Motorcycle Man and the statement is made right from the get go that these Dudes can play the Metal! Glocker especially on the drums is a beast on this album and at various times shifting from straight ahead beats to crazy ass double bass drumming. I believe he still is with em today but for actual confirmation ask HMO….. Tell him Deke’s sent ya!
747 (Strangers In The Night) is really where it gets interesting as this song is littered throughout with a great melody and hook with a a melodic chorus but amplified by the Marshall Amps. Still though Biff tosses down a great vocal….love how he sings the line “Radiiiiio Oooooperator trying to get the message through”
Don’t be fooled by the title Princess Of The Night this is not a mushy balled but a steamer of attack which once again features a real kind of melodic chorus but the drums smash it around and keep the song moving forward!
STOP!!……GET OUT!! …WE ARE THE STRONG ARM OF THE LAW….this is one of the first sing along with Biff tunes on this album and Strong Arm is a great simple straight ahead rock track that is well delivered almost with a bit of an AC/DC like simplicity to it. Not that simple as I could never play it…. Must make a special mention how I still crack up laughing when Biff tells the crowd he wants to see them “Dying from Exhaustion!” at the start of the song!
Heavy Metal Thunder is just that! Thunder as in drums and guitars along with the vocals this song is over the top classic!
20,000 Feet leads off Side 2 and it’s more fast and furious Saxon Metal. The thing is these is a couple of these dudes looked like hippies more than metal dudes but at the same time they weren’t really worried about image now were they?
Over 8 minutes of one of the great Saxon numbers and that’s Wheels Of Steel. Always dug the fact they just went about their business and could at times lay down a simple AC/DC like groove and keep things simple! Biff is in fine form here …..crowd participation “She’s Got ..what??” Biff asks the crowd.
Never Surrender must be Saxon’s motto in 2017. This song I always found it a little to Saxon Sluggish for me liking! The lyrics are tough Biff telling us to all “Never Surrender” Don’t give up the fight! yada yada. Ok,got it but the music has the pace of a liquored up turtle crossing the Autobahn!
Biff and crew get back on track with Fire In The Sky as the pace picks right back up and boys lay down a real cool 1982 groove(Umm whatever that means that is) Yeah its kinda funny as no one ever talks about these tracks but there good Metal tunes. I will go on record and say that Glocker on the drums is a beast here. I will also go on record and say that Guitarist Paul Quinn was wearing ball hats long before Matthias Jabs donned the look after Jabs realized his hair was falling out from too much Love At First Sting! One more thing while were at it…That Bass dude from The Darkness stole the look from Steve Dawson like 20 years later.
Machine Gun ends the album and it’s Saxon going out in a Blaze Of Glory! Cue end of album quick metal track followed by a big racket of explosion to end Saxon Metal night with the swirl of a siren ending the album…
Kids….This is Metal!
Once I heard this album and was blown away by it I was onboard with Saxon from that point forward for a few years but by the time 1986’s Innocence Is No Excuse landed (no pun) I was off the Saxon purchasing curve. Tbone however much to my amazement did buy Innocence …so there ya go…
Eagle…..was a great blast from the past!
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