The warm-up band were Stormzone from Ireland who took to the stage at 8pm and played for about 40 minutes. I hadn't heard of Stormzone before they were announced to be the opening act for Saxon, but I was highly impressed. Their charismatic singer, John Harbinson, provided brilliant vocals and the dueling solos of guitarists Dave Shields and Steve Moore were formidable to say the least. I had only listened to one Stormzone song before going to the gig ('Three Kings', as seen below) but I would certainly check them out again!
During the 20 minute interlude between bands, I moved away from the bar into the main standing area to prepare for Saxon. They came on stage at around 9pm and played for two hours, opening with 'Sacrifice', the title track from their latest album.
Despite the fact that some members, including front-man Biff Byford, are now in their early 60s, Saxon made it clear last night that they are still a heavy metal force to be reckoned with and can blow any modern metal bands right out of the water! The band played a good mix of both classic and newer material with a huge amount of energy that was clearly rubbing off onto the crowd, who sang along throughout the show.
After ending their main set with their signature anthem 'Wheels of Steel', Saxon returned to the stage to play a three song encore consisting of 'Crusader', 'Denim and Leather' and 'Princess of the Night'.
Overall, last night was a stunning gig with both bands putting in tremendous performances. If you get a chance to see either band any time soon, don't pass it up!
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