Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK)

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SAXON / SKID ROW / HALCYON WAY

Date: 12th November, 2014
Venue: Amager Bio
Tickets: 295DKK (€39.50/$48)
Promoter: ICS
Photos: Erika Wallberg


I hate it when entering a show at the last minute and I can’t blame anyone but myself. I got into the venue when HALCYON WAY started to play and it took a while to sort out everything before I could dedicate myself to the music. I’m not the only one coming in late for this show though, as the hall was rather empty even one song into the HALCYON WAY set. I was looking forward to seeing this band play as I like their debut “A Manifesto For Domination”, unfortunately I haven’t kept up so I can’t say I’m all that familiar with their music these days.

I do think HALCYON WAY had the sound against them that evening; it was ok but even if it was loud, it lacked force and dynamics, which is a must for modern Heavy Metal with mixed vocals, smooth and harsh. So with this, it could have been a better experience. HALCYON WAY did an amazing performance nonetheless. Sound is of course a big part of a live experience, but not all. And there’s not much to complain about regarding HALCYON WAY’s visual performance. They showed off themselves as very good musicians, as everything really was flawlessly played as well as their latest release “Conquer” since most of the set was from this album. It’s a bit unfortunate with the sound actually, because despite that HALCYON WAY did great warming up it was a bit hard to get started. Sure, HALCYON WAY is far from both SAXON and SKID ROW musically, but that didn’t seem to matter a few songs in as the support grew for each song, just as it should be for an event opener.

HALCYON WAY setlist:

01. “Conquer”
02. “On Black Wings”
03. “Web Of Lies”
04. “Hatred Is My Cause”
05. “Save Your Tears”
06. “Desecration Day”

HALCYON WAY

Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Halcyon Way @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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It’s a bit strange with SKID ROW actually. I did like them back in the day but for some reason both the band as well as Sebastian Bach fell off my radar in the mid 90’s, and now, 20 years later, both have stomped back in range very strong. And now it’s almost a bit as Clash of the Titans… I’ve also seen both live rather recently prior to this gig and since it was all good I was really looking forward to seeing SKID ROW again.

As tradition has it, the band entered the stage with the sound of the RAMONES classic “Blitzkrieg Bop” and the crowd started to wake up for real. And if that wouldn’t have woken up everyone the run over with “Slave To The Grind” followed by “Piece Of Me” should. SKID ROW sure still got it and what struck me when I saw them a couple of months ago was that they really seemed to enjoy their time together onstage. The Rock ’N’ Roll rebel days perhaps are gone but it was still that kind of vibe, us against the world and we’re the band kind of feeling. This sure does a lot for the whole experience. Bands can be classic and have original lineup but if they don’t have fun they’re no fun to watch. Also, that Johnny Solinger is a fantastic singer as well as frontman helps a lot. Anyway, I love to see a band that enjoys being onstage and SKID ROW really did and they had a lot of fun so I had too.

Sure, Johnny struggles a bit more with the extremely high pitched vocal lines in “18 And Life” compared to Sebastian Bach but taking the rest of his performance in consideration this is the only thing to point out. It’s great to hear these mega hits live as the crowd really went nuts for this song and shouted their lungs out.

Also as tradition has it for “Psycho Therapy”, Johnny handed over the microphone to bassist Rachel Bolan and this was probably the biggest different between this concert and the one in Gothenburg, a few months ago. Apparently, there are more RAMONES fans in Copenhagen than Gothenburg. God damn, what a reaction! Continuing to compare the two shows, I do like the headlining gig in Gothenburg better than this. There are minimal differences in performance, but of course, a headlining gig works better than a squeezed set before SAXON. Still, this was a damn good show and I can’t wait to get another chance to see SKID ROW play, preferably on their own tour.

SKID ROW setlist:

01. “Blitzkrieg Bop”
02. “Slave To The Grind”
03. “Piece Of Me”
04. “Makin' A Mess”
05. “Big Guns”
06. “18 And Life”
07. “Thick Is The Skin”
08. “Psycho Therapy”
09. “Monkey Business”
10. “We Are The Damned”
11. “Youth Gone Wild”

SKID ROW

Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Skid Row @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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And then the inexhaustible SAXON! It’s a wonder how they manage to do this year after year and still impress so damn much? I mean, these old school bands normally start to cut their set to 80-70-60 minutes rather than extend it. “It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)” served as the intro for this show and then it all started. “Motorcycle Man” was followed by “Sacrifice” and then Biff announced SAXON was going to play for two full hours. The reaction wasn’t all that strong from the crowd and in his best style Biff started to hassle the ones in the front row asking if they were tired already. That’s actually a bit odd with Amager Bio - by now it was almost full but the real response from the crowd didn’t really happen until Biff encouraged it. This is how it normally is here though, it’s actually rather rare that the crowd is full on from the start.

The fun thing though is that there are a lot of different SAXON fans attending; the very young ones and those who were with the band since “Denim & Leather” and the rest of the classic albums. That really showed as Biff started to introduce a track SAXON hasn’t played in a while and the (older) guys next to us just went nuts starting to scream for “Suzy Hold On”. It was that track that was coming up, very cool I think. I really like it when bands dig up oldies and goodies like this one. And judging by the rest of the crowd my opinion was shared by almost everyone. I think this one was the track that really woke up the crowd because for the rest of the show everyone was following what was going on. And the reaction was almost the same for “Dallas 1 PM” and “To Hell And Back Again”. The latter was voted by the crowd as the choice of the fast song, a tradition at SAXON shows, where the crowd gets a say about the setlist. Ok, it’s almost always the fast one that wins so it might just have been in there all the time, followed by “The Bands Played On” as the slower one. Another very nice feature in the set as well as one of the best moments of the show was “The Eagle Has Landed”. Of course, the Eagle was not with the band at Amager Bio, which is understandable since it wouldn’t fit. Still the atmosphere was amazing and the song sent shivers down my spine.

And then it was the moment when most bands would have started to round off their show but SAXON put in another gear and delivered even more expected classics. Still with a few surprises though, like “The Great White Buffalo” that was amazing.

As already said, it’s amazing that SAXON can do this year in and year out and still keep as good energy as they do. Their schedules are always very tight and they don’t have many days off between gigs but still the entire band seemed more charged than ever. For the second half of the show, Nibbs Carter really stole the show, taking his shirt off and just went crazy. It’s so fun to watch him play; it all seems so effortless, so easy. To do that and running around, headbanging and talk to the crowd in the front at the same time is just awesome to watch.

The long show still had to end sometime and as Biff introduced Paul Quinn to kick off the last song of the regular set almost everyone knew what was to come. All apart from a guy next to me who looked a bit surprised when the rest of the venue started boiling with anticipation and he hissed something like; “Ah, play “Princess Of The Dawn” instead…” It took him some time until Biff started to sing the first line of the song to realize that was “Princess Of The Dawn” that was coming. A couple of beers sunken during the show were probably the reason for his blurred focus but it was hilarious to see him realize SAXON was actually playing his request.

The encores were a bit predicable but these are songs that need to be in a SAXON set. And as I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter how many times I get to hear “Crusader”, “Wheels Of Steel” or “Denim & Leather” live, they never get old and boring, I never get tired of hearing them and I never get tired of seeing SAXON live.

SAXON setlist:

01. “It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)”
02. “Motorcycle Man”
03. “Sacrifice”
04. “Power And The Glory”
05. “Heavy Metal Thunder”
06. “Lionheart”
07. “I've Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)”
08. “Suzie Hold On”
09. “Dallas 1 PM”
10. “To Hell And Back Again”
11. “And The Bands Played On”
12. “The Eagle Has Landed”
13. “Battalions Of Steel”
14. “The Great White Buffalo”
15. “747 (Strangers In The Night)”
16. “Forever Free”
17. “Strong Arm Of The Law”
18. “20,000 Ft”
19. “Solid Ball Of Rock”
20. “Princess Of The Night”
21. “Crusader”
22. “Wheels Of Steel”
23. “Denim And Leather”

SAXON

Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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