|Dead End Drive-In: Now Showing - Saxon|
|Written by Ian Bell|
|Sunday, 15 July 2012 04:15|
Saxon - 'Heavy Metal Thunder - Live: Eagles Over Wacken' (UDR)
What hasn't already been said or written about the heavy metal majesty of Saxon? Well for yours truly what makes Saxon quite so special is that have ridden a tidal wave of career peaks and troughs that would have washed many lesser bands out to sea never to be seen again. And they have done this with real Yorkshire grit by simply sticking their middle fingers up at the non believers and piss takers out there earning our respect in the process but being humble enough to never demand it. It is this down to earth approach to their music and the music industry in general that now sees the five piece (quite rightly in my opinion) almost universally regarded as true heavy metal royalty.
So let's turn the clock back a minute to 2007, and Saxon were the subject of Harvey Goldsmith's 'Get Your Act Together' TV show. This was basically sixty minutes of televisual brain death in which concert promoter Goldsmith wanted to try and restore the popularity of Saxon to it's eighties highs and help reestablish the band's reputation once again as a major headline act. To do so he drafted in two new record producers to oversee the production of a single 'If I Was You', which subsqeuntly went to number one in the rock charts in over 10 different countries. To this day I can vividly remember getting annoyed whilst watching the programme thinking it didn't exactly portray Saxon in the most "intelligent" of lights, especially the members of the band aside from Biff. It was a programme full to the brim with stereotypical flippant remarks about heavy metal music, the music I love and in Saxon a band I have always had a soft spot for. This is probably due to the fact they were one of the first bands I saw, back on a rainy night in Preston on their 'Rock The Nations' Tour back in I think '86 with the infamous Loudness in support. But having also seen them on one of the subsqent lows where the number of ticket buying punters could have fitted comfortably on their tour bus for a show, I did kind of raise a smile (and my glass) at the end of said programme as the climax was footage of Saxon playing to a sold out Sheffield City Hall. Then just a few short months later the boys from Barsnley were welcomed back to Donington Park for the 2008 Download Festival, and the rest as they say - is history......
What can't be ignored is that since that programme was aired, Saxon's career has been pretty much consistently on the up and up and the Eagle has no intention of landing again anytime. There have been countless worldwide Festival appearances for example, and I witnessed them as one of the bands of the day at Download back in 2010, and staying in the U.K recent tours have seen the guys return to venues in size and stature not played for in a long time. So bringing my thoughts back around and with this release very much front of mind Saxon have also through the years made regular headline appearances at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany, and what we have here is basically a double celebration. A celebration of Saxon and their music being back on top as headliners in front of 70,000 people, and a clebration of the Wacken festival itself, which has steadlily grown in popularity since its birth in 1990 as a small event for local German bands, to becoming a major festival on the European metal calendar. There are a number of different versions of this release available but the version I picked up recently contains not only a DVD of the 'best of' moments from Wacken Open Air Festival in 2004, 2007, and 2009 but also has a double disc CD recorded live in Glasgow on 'The Call to Arms World Tour' in 2011.
The DVD might have risked turning into a bit of a scrap book collection as it is a 'best of' from the three different headline slots, especially because the track listing doesn't run in date order, however thanks to the excellent editing work afforded to this release you really wouldn't think you were watching separate performances, that is until the song title and appearance year get flashed up at the start of each song song at the start, or if you are that way inclined - by spotting the different stage outfits.
There are 31 songs on offer here covering the three periods, and as such rare tracks that aren't always going to make a Saxon list due to the extent of choice they have from their back catalogue such as 'Are We Travelers In Time' make this release a "must have" purchase for any Saxon enthusiast reading this. The double CD recorded in Glasgow (and I'm not a great fan of live albums) features a production that borders on the sublime making it a particularly enjoyable listen with classic after classic pouring out of your speakers. It also once again reminds you that Saxon have very much earned their position in the history of heavy metal, and modern day songs stand shoulder to shoulder with the better known 'classics'.
I'm not sure why there are so many versions of this release (other than it being an affordable option to the DTC box set concept which actually looked pretty cool - but is now all sold out) but looking at each version the DVD and the live show from Glasgow this 'best of' would be the must have version for me',
Saxon we salute you...............
Win a copy of 'Heavy Metal Thunder - Live: Eagles Over Wacken'
So if you're now sitting/standing there reading Ian's call to arms with your horns held high you're probably thinking "how the hell do I get my hands on one of these packages?" Well thanks to our good friends at The Publicity Connection we have a couple of copies of this fantastic DVD/CD combo to give away to TWO very lucky Uber Rockers.
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning one of them is answer the following simple question:
Which legendary heavy metal band (on their 'Wheels of Steel' tour - now there's your clue) once had to postpone a gig in Abertillery Rock City because they couldn't get their lorry full of gear around the corner to get access to the venue?
To pick up your copy of 'Heavy Metal Thunder - Live - Eagles Over Wacken' - CLICK HERE