Almost Too Hot To Handle: UFO & Saxon In Denver, CO At The Summit Music Hall On 21 Mar 2017
|Event:||UFO & Saxon: A Conspiracy Of Stars US Tour 2017|
|Written by:||D.T. Metal|
UFO & Saxon - Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO - 21 Mar 2017 by D.T. Metal (42)
NWOBHM was very much alive in Denver the other night. Saxon and UFO, two of the leading bands of the movement, took the audience on a trip down memory lane and it was spectacular.
It can be hit or miss when some 'dinosaurs' of heavy metal come to play in Denver and one never knows if the gig is gonna tank. But as soon as I approached the venue, I knew the night would turn out great since it was still about an hour before doors and the fans already lined up alongside the building.
If not for the band shirts, leather and denim jackets, a casual observer could have mistaken this for an AARP meeting. But all kidding aside, while the venue was not packed to capacity, it was full nevertheless. The upper section of the Summit Music Hall was reserved for those who purchased a VIP ticket (at almost double the price of a regular one) and I guesstimate that around 50 or so die-hard fans splurged for the opportunity to watch the bands from a higher advantage point.
Opening act for the tour was LA based guitarist Jared James Nichols, and he and his band performed rock 'n roll tunes, as well as some Led Zeppelin influenced songs, and I thought he did a great job of bringing the audience in the mood for what's to come.
Then it was time for Saxon to take the stage. I actually just saw them this past November at the Metal Hammer Paradise Festival in Northern Germany and it NEVER gets old watching Biff and gang rock on stage. And speaking of old; for his tender age of 66 years young, Mr. Byford doesn't show any sign of slowing down and hopefully he will be able to perform for many years to come.
Saxon started their set with "Battering Ram" off the same named 2015 album and didn't take any prisoners going forward. The song could easily portray how relevant Saxon still is in today's scene and just like a "Ram" they pounded the metal into our ears. It was hard and fast British metal played to the max and the audience rewarded the band with singing along and fists pumped high in the air.
Besides the opener, Saxon just played one more song ("Queen Of Hearts") off their latest album and focused their set more on the glorious 80's of their career; with 2013's "Sacrifice" being the only other song from this decade. The audience clearly didn't mind and it surely can't be easy to put together a set-list when one has 21 full-lengths albums to choose from.
During one point in the show, Biff announced that 34 years ago on this exact day (21 March) the band released Power And The Glory so it was no surprise that they played 3 songs off it; "This Town Rocks", "Power And The Glory" and "The Eagle Has Landed". He also tried to let the audience decide on some songs, but since the "loudness" level to each song he suggested were about the same, he chose to play them all.
It was truly an awesome set and everyone who came to see Saxon clearly got their money's worth.
Set list: Battering Ram, This Town Rocks, Sacrifice, Power And The Glory, Queen Of Hearts, The Eagle Has Landed, Dallas 1 PM, Heavy Metal Thunder, Motorcycle Man, Crusader (maybe ??), Wheels Of Steel, 747 (Strangers in the Night), Princess of the Night
UFO took the stage a bit behind schedule and I was wondering how they could top what we have just witnessed. In fairness, while Saxon is all about the heavy metal, fast and furious riffing, UFO toned it down with the more hard rock approach. Due to the somewhat legendary status of UFO who is widely credited for bridging the gap between hard rock and heavy metal in their early days, the heat was definitely on for the band.
Vocalist Phil Mogg took command early on and made sure that no stone was unturned when it came to belching out those great UFO tunes. To be honest, he hasn't lost his vocal range at all over the years and sounded just as fresh as decades ago.
Seventies hit songs such as "Lights Out", "Too Hot To Handle", "Only You Can Rock Me" and of course "Doctor Doctor" were the reason most of us were there and UFO didn't disappoint AT ALL. And while the crowd was overall older, there were still tons of 'young'ens' in the audience; especially right up the rail. Guitarist Vinnie Moore interacted with the younger fans quite often which was really nice to see.
"Run Boy Run" and "Messiah Of Love" were the only two songs from their 2015 release A Conspiracy Of Stars being heard that night (to the best of my recollection), but I bet nobody in the audience minded since it was great to hear 30-plus year old songs come to life on stage. And speaking of 'old'… at one point I was standing outside to catch some fresh air and engaged in a conversation with an older gentleman sporting a vintage UFO shirt. He told me that he hadn't been at a concert in years and actually found out about the show because his grandson follows the venue on Facebook.
I bet he had a great time and it also was a great night for both 'dinosaur' bands and their performances proved once again that (old-school) rock and metal will never die.
Written on 24.03.2017 by
Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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