Rocking B.B. Kings on March 30th for the second consecutive night was New Wave of British Heavy Metal leaders Saxon and classic British rock band UFO, accompanied by Jared James Nichols performing some old school blues rock to open the show.
Saxon crusaded through their 14 song set, playing songs off of numerous albums including Denim and Leather, Strong Arm of the Law, Wheels of Steel and more. Opening the set was the powerful “Battering Ram”, breaking down the walls and preparing the audience for what was to come in the remainder of the set. By general consensus, “Motorcycle Man” appeared about halfway through their performance after Biff Byford gave the crowd a handful of options as to what song they would perform next. Guitarist Paul Quinn and vocalist Biff Byford are the only two remaining members from the original lineup of the band, however they and the remainder of Saxon performed exceptionally well and extremely tight as if it was 1982 all over again.
Moments prior to UFO taking the stage, esteemed radio personality and the man who knows practically all things hard rock and heavy metal gave them a praiseworthy introduction. Anyone who’s familiar with Eddie Trunk knows his love for UFO runs deep, and it was thoroughly displayed and exclaimed throughout the night.
Going into UFO’s performance, I admittedly only knew a handful of their songs by heart- but lo and behold by the end of the night they had created a full fledged fan. Their 16 song set included songs such as “Let It Roll”, “Baby Blue”, “Burn Your House Down” and many more, including definite crowd pleasers “Cherry”, “Love To Love”, “Lights Out” and a personal favorite of mine and many “Doctor Doctor”. “Mother Mary” was also performed via audience request, a very welcome addition to the set of hits. With such an extensive repertoire, there is a myriad of songs UFO could have performed but overall their set list was cohesive and full of what everyone wanted to hear. Going beyond what they performed, how they performed is in the forefront of what was most impressive. Phil Mogg’s vocals are top notch, matched with Vinnie Moore’s guitar playing is a recipe for success. Although die hard UFO fans would love to see Michael Schenker take hold of a guitar and get on stage, Moore does Schenker’s work incredible justice and is simply a phenomenal guitarist. Closing out the night was “Shoot Shoot” off the bands 1975 release Force It.
These British rockers invaded New York City for not one, but two nights- bringing rock and metal to a completely sold out venue. The musical expertise and years of experience held within both Saxon and UFO is practically incomparable. This was without question not a tour to miss.