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Fantastic Live Album - Biff and the Boys Rock Manchester!!
on 20 March 2014
For a few years now, it’s been a Saxon tradition to play a gig in England on St George’s day if at all possible. While the St George’s Day concert has usually taken place in London, 2013 saw the event move North to Manchester, with the boys treating a packed Ritz to a mix of old school Saxon classics, and new tracks from their recently released Sacrifice opus. Thankfully someone had the good sense to record and now release what, I can assure you as someone who was there, was a brilliant evening which went down a storm with old and new fans alike!
The recording production and sound capture superbly – warts and all – the energy and passion of Biff and Co at their best playing to an appreciate crowd, and has been left deliberately raw, rather than sanitised like some live albums can be. Turn it up loud, close your eyes and it’s just like being there. They’ve even retained the inbetween song banter as Biff asks the audience to choose which of 4 traditional Saxon classics they would like to hear next- sadly I didn’t shout loud enough for Motorcycle Man…
Its testament to Saxon’s range of quality of songs and musicianship that they can change setlists from tour to tour and even gig to gig, and yet consistently deliver live on stage. As a result, here we have the chance to savour excellent live versions of no less than 6 new songs- Wheels of Terror and Stand Up and Fight sound particularly good- a few rarer live tracks like Ride Like the Wind, Broken Heroes and Conquistador, plus standard live favourites like 747, Wheels of Steel and Denim & Leather.
Certainly, you cannot complain at a running time of over 2 hours with 21 of Saxon’s finest tracks for your money!!
In terms of the CD itself, it’s nicely packaged and the booklet has some good live tour photos of the band (not actually from the evening itself) with their ‘thank you’ notes. However, there is no specific reference to the gig itself or why they’ve chosen to release it - which would have been a nice touch.
Anyway, this album documents a great live performance by one of the greatest British hard rock/heavy metal and live bands ever!! Buy it, play it loud and see them on tour in October!!