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Review: Saxon - Warriors of the Road Tour
Warriors of the Road Tour
Venue: The Palladium
City: Worcester, MA, USA

Show date: May 13, 2015
Guests: Seven Witches, Armored Saint

Review online: May 24, 2015
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Warriors of the Road Tour

Rated 3.6/5 (72%) (5 Votes)

Having never seen Saxon despite being a fan for over 30 years I wasn't going to miss it when the legendary NWOBHM band rolled into a city near me, especially not when they were playing the hits from the glory days of Wheels of Steel, Strong Arm of the Law and Denim and Leather. Opening for the mighty Saxon were Jack Frost's Seven Witches and Armored Saint with original singer John Bush handling the microphone. That's a pretty solid lineup for $22.50.

I'd never seen Seven Witches before but know Jack Frost is supposed to be something of a guitar hero. The upstairs at the Palladium is small and holds only about 400 people and shows today are kept on track by having the headliner's gear set up and the opening bands playing in front and sharing everything from microphones to drums. This also means they have about four feet of stage and with no barrier, the front row of fans are practically laying on the stage. Seven Witches was decent though I knew none of their songs and the sound wasn't great. I wasn't particularly impressed with Frost's playing but the crummy sound may have contributed. They were enthusiastic and their current singer was right in tune as far as I could tell. Anyway, their set was only 30 minutes and was soon over.

Next up was Armored Saint. Now, I saw Armored Saint way back in the 80s when they opened for King Diamond and back then, like tonight, I was waiting for them to get on, do their thing and get off so I could check out the headliner. I was never much of a fan, you see. Well, put Armored Saint up there with wine and cheese as things that get better with age because they fucking killed it. And a lot of that had to do with Bush. He's bald, wears plaid like a grunge rocker and seems short for a lead singer but he's a damn firecracker on stage and has some of the best pipes I've heard in a long time. I'd forgotten how many of their songs I remembered from the old days and expected to sing along with "Can U Deliver" (which I dutifully did) and that would be it. But then they whipped out stuff like "Chemical Euphoria," "Last Train Home" and "Reign of Fire." It was "Delirious Nomad" that took the crowd over the top and I was certainly hoarse afterward. When Bush jumped up on top of a cabinet and shook hands with those of us on the upper level (I'm too old for that pit crap) we all went nuts. I'm not saying go back and buy all of Armored Saint's old albums but if they play anywhere near you, don't miss it.

Saxon took the stage just after 9:30 to the sounds of motorcycles on the PA, which of course meant "Motorcycle Man" was the opening song. Biff looks and sounds great for a guy that's been at this since the late 70s. The rest of the band sounded great as well though Doug Scarratt had some issues with his guitar and ended up with a plugged in rig for the rest of the show. I had thought Saxon was only playing stuff from the early albums (not counting Saxon) and when they played "Sacrifice" I got a little worried but then they plowed on with excellent renditions of "Dallas 1pm," 20,000 Feet," "The Eagle has Landed" and "Heavy Metal Thunder." I wasn't complaining either when they did "Power and the Glory" or "Crusader." At one point some guys actually got up and crowd-surfed but after the second one got dumped on the stage (on his head, ouch) Biff had to settle things down because the activity was moving the monitors and screwed up Scarratt's effects pedals. Doug may want to skip Worcester next time around! The band wrapped up with "Wheels of Steel" and "Denim and Leather" which sent the crowd home happy. The show went well and the place was hot and sweaty, something Biff specifically commented on so that clearly made him happy. I thought the band played well and enjoyed the set list even though I found it a bit "safe" but would wholeheartedly recommend this tour to everyone from the veteran of multiple Saxon shows to the newbie. And don't show up late. If you miss Armored Saint, you'll be sorry.

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