Saxon – Thunderbolt Tour Pt.2 Live Review

Saxon – Thunderbolt Tour Pt.2

Live Review by Adam McCann

Manchester Academy 2 – 10/21/2018

Set List:

Olympus Rising



Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)

Motorcycle Man


Strong Arm Of The Law

Battering Ram

Power And The Glory

Solid Ball Of Rock

The Secret Of Flight

Dallas 1PM

They Played Rock And Roll

And The Band Played On

Never Surrender

747 (Strangers In The Night)

Sons Of Odin


Princess Of The Night

The Eagle Has Landed

Heavy Metal Thunder

Wheels Of Steel

Denim And Leather


It is always a pleasure when the mighty Saxon roll into town and tonight, the Yorkshire metal legends take a jaunt over the Pennines into Manchester on the closing date of this leg of their tour in support of the impressive ‘Thunderbolt’ album. Joining Saxon for their U.K. tour are Wayward Sons, the new band of ex-Little Angels man Toby Jepson following the break-up of Fastway due to the death of ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke and British melodic rock 80’s stalwarts FM who replace Y&T who unfortunately had to pull out due to a back injury by vocalist David Meniketti.

The doors are early tonight, and the Manchester Academy is bustling immediately as Wayward Sons deliver their set of modern hard rock with a retro twist. However, it is FM which leave the audience split, debating their credentials. Musically, FM are spot on, their vocal harmonies weave in and out of their 80’s hits interspersed with newer songs. Yet, FM just don’t seem to fit the bill and for every person who enjoyed their set, two people were unfortunately left cold.

Before too long it is time for Saxon to take to the stage; as expected, the band open with the title track from their latest album before launching into the title track from their 2013 album ‘Sacrifice’. Tonight, the set list is not about celebrating Saxon’s past, much to the dismay of some audience members, but it is about supporting ‘Thunderbolt’ and Saxon do this justice, dropping in tracks such as ‘Nosferatu (The Vampire’s Waltz)’, ‘Predator’ and ‘The Secret of Flight’ in amongst fan favourites such as ‘And The Bands Played On’, ‘Motorcycle Man’ and ‘Crusader’. Furthermore, the sound tonight is balanced exceptionally well, each instrument can be heard and is crystal clear.

In their forty years, Saxon have had their fair share of ups and downs, but one thing that has remained consistent throughout is Biff Byford’s voice. Byford roars and shrieks with the best of them, not only showing his prowess with newer tracks, but even old tracks like ‘Strong Arm of the Law’, ‘Dallas 1PM’ and ‘Heavy Metal Thunder’ are treated to a revitalised vocal performance in which Byford’s youthful wail has been replaced by a much stronger, mature melody more befitting with the bands recent output.

For many in Britain and Europe, Saxon are a national treasure and once again tonight, the band proved that although often overlooked, they can play their peers under the table any day of the week.


MHF Magazine/Adam McCann