Friday, October 11, 2013

The Power & The Glory

DNA Lounge, San Francisco
Roctober 6, 2013

I had not seen Saxon since April 1984 when they played a pair of Bay Area shows with Accept supporting.  However, I did see Biff Byford with Metallica when he joined them onstage for a rousing 'Motorcycle Man' a couple of years ago at Night One of their epic 30th Anniversary celebration at The Fillmore.  Before tonight, this was the last time Saxon played inside the city limits of San Francisco:

Crazy, right?

There were 4 support bands tonight... so I tried to time my arrival to miss most of them.  Apologies to the support bands but that's 3 support bands too many for this old man.  I entered the DNA just in time to witness Fozzy, featuring professional wrestler Chris Jericho on vocals, arrive onstage.  I basically know nothing about pro wrestling but it was obvious that there were a decent number of wrestling fans in attendance... including 2 guys wearing long coats with flashing lights attached to them. Evidently this flashy (literally..) outfit was Jericho's wrestling trademark or something.

[Photo courtesy of Harald O.]

Lame.  Anyway, I went back outside to chat with friends and noticed the Electric Cowboys leaving the building after their wrestling hero finished his set.   I've met Chris Jericho and he seemed like a really nice dude but his band is awful.  Honesty is my only excuse.  Anyway...

My old heroes Saxon arrived onstage featuring 3/5 of the classic lineup's members and charged straight into a new song that I didn't know (sorry, fellas) and then into a good version of 'Power & the Glory'.  Nice... raise your glasses high!  To be honest, I wasn't filled with as much nostalgia as I had expected since this was the first time I'd seen Saxon since those 1984 shows.

 [Photo courtesy of  Photo Ray]

Sometimes I have a hard time seeing the "older" bands from my youth here in the 21st Century.  My inner Teenage Metalhead remembers them back in the day when they ruled the world from big stages.  I guess seeing them now reminds me how time really does fly and it awakens those thoughts of mortality in my head.  Yes, sometimes Umlaut overthinks dark things... but it's true.  That said, Biff and the lads played a solid set and Biff himself still sounds and looks great at 62 years of age.  A solid selection of songs... new ones.. old classics.. and other songs I didn't know since I haven't bought a new Saxon album in 30 years.  Honesty is my only excuse.

'The Eagle Has Landed' was a nice vintage inclusion.  However, I was waiting to hear one song and one song only... because it's one of those songs that immediately takes me back to a specific time and place when I hear it.    All Music Geeks have those songs, right?  Saxon made me wait until the very last song of the night before they played 'Princess Of The Night'... but it was worth wait.

For that moment as "90 tons of thunder lighted up the sky" onstage in San Francisco once more after almost 30 years, I was taken right back to 1982-83 again.  In my head I was that teenage Metalhead again whose entire existence was Metal and NWOBHM; life was still very innocent then.  Life had not touched me with any bad times yet.  Actually, I had not experienced a lot in life in general at that time yet.  Metal was my life. To quote Saxon:

"Iron striking metal.. the sound of racing steel.. it's all I ever want to hear.. it's music to my ears.." 

This moment alone made the entire night worthwhile.  Meanwhile back in 1982 on Italian television:


If you bought one of every Saxon merch item I think you would have paid around $120.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  Ironically, Saxon would be the last band I would see in my 40's because at some point between typing this and my next post another year in my existence will have passed.  Crazy, man.. but life rolls on.

"To the power and the glory.. Raise your glasses high..."