Diamond Head are known for having a big influence on Metallica – one of the biggest rock groups on the planet. In the early eighties, Diamond Head toured extensively, headlining many tours. These days the only original member of the group is lead guitarist Brian Tatler who still looks very much the same as he did many years ago and he can still play with the dexterity and style he is known for.
Tracks such as The Prince and Bones were well received though it was Am I Evil? that received the biggest response from their short set. Their job to warm up the audience for Saxon has been done well, hopefully it will not be too long before they return to Yorkshire.
The adrenalised roar of motorbikes heralded the arrival of Saxon on stage as Motorcycle Man kicked off a strong set. The Barnsley group appeared to be in full flight as they arrived back home in Yorkshire after a recent European tour. Lead singer Biff Byford now lives near York after having moved back to the county from France.
“My hometown gig used to be Paris but now it is York”, the singer joked. With a new album, Carpe Diem to promote, the new songs were featured heavily in the 90-minute set, though apart from the title-track the newer songs did not appear to resonate with the fans like the older ones did.
Introducing Never Surrender, Byford quipped that the song’s title “will probably be on my tombstone” – hopefully that will be a long way off yet. As the group celebrates forty successful years together, it is concerts like tonight’s that proved that Saxon are still a force to be reckoned with.
Dedicating Living on the Limit to one of his sons, Byford then steamrolled into Dallas 1pm – the timing had been perfect as the set list had begun to drop a little and more familiar tracks such as this classic were needed to lift the atmosphere – the song certainly did as the fans began a chant of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire” at the end of the song.
As the aptly titled And The Bands Played On rang around the Barbican it was interesting to see a younger generation enjoying a track which has been released in 1981. The song remains Saxon’s biggest hit in the UK singles chart which led to many appearances on Top of the Pops – though this younger generation would probably have no knowledge of that popular TV show!
Hearing Strong Arm Of The Law and 747 (Strangers in the Night) back-to-back was proof indeed that Saxon should be revered in the higher echelons of the heavy rock circles – they’re up there with the best. “You have been a great audience York – it is great to be back home”, Byford complimented the fans.
I could not have put it better myself, it’s great to have him home.