Heavy Metal Thunder – Live Eagles Over Wacken
9.5 out of 10
Out of the gate here, do I really need to give you a review of this CD/DVD combo? I mean it is SAXON for fuck’s sake. That is all you need to know. There are 30 tracks of pure SAXON awesomeness on the DVD alone. There is nothing else really you need to know. Now go out, pick up this great 2CD/DVD of their best performances from Wacken in 2004, 07, and 09, and get ready for a few hours of glorious SAXON indulgence.
You’re still here? Ok, how about this… On the DVD you get the standards like Strangers in the Night, Witchfinder General, Power and the Glory, Live to Rock, Princess of the Night, Denim and Leather, and my personal favorite Crusader. That’s just the highlights of the DVD. On the 2 CDs you have I’ve Got to Rock, Motorcycle Man, Strong Arm of the Law, and Wheels of Steel.
Ok, fine, you want more details? Fuck you for making me have to work at this. Biff Byford is old as hell, looks like someone who has survived the metal apocalypse and come out barely on the other side. But holy hell his voice is ridiculously strong. One of the few bands from the NWOBHM that can still wail away 30 some odd years later.
The band is tight as hell, and granted the 30 songs are taken over three different shows, they wail blast out one SAXON hit after another with relentless abandon. Paul Quinn riffing the intro to Princess of the Night has to be one of the better known SAXON riffs, and the crowd goes crazy when it kicks in, Biff has Paul stop playing and the audience takes off singing the song.
Eventually the band gets into Denim and Leather and sadly it might be the low point for me. It’s a little faster than normally played, and that opening riff has always been Saxon’s signature, but sped up a bit it loses the power of the groove it was originally written with. Now, you’re performing in front of what looks to be 50,000 people or more, and a lot of bands always play a bit faster live than in the studio, but the anthematic masterpiece that is Denim and Leather should be allowed to strut and swagger in all its initial glory.
Of course when Crusader finally kicks in, everything else is forgotten. Sadly I have never seen SAXON in concert, they’ve just never been as big in the US as they deserved to be, and so they don’t tour much over here. They are on my ‘must see’ list and this song is the main reason why. And Doug Scarratt’s solo does the original justice as he shreds through one of the greatest Heavy Metal songs of all time.
Two hours and forty minutes later, the DVD is done, I’m spent, and while I have never seen them live, I am basking in my first official SAXON show. And I haven’t even gotten to the CDs!
If you are still reading this, you are fucking up. Get yourself Heavy Metal Thunder – Live Eagles Over Wacken. You’ll thank me later.