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The Dead Daisies / Oliver Dawson Saxon http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/99/74/e1/The-Dead-Daisies-Sheffield-Live-Thumb-73-1542569392.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 18, 2018    
 
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The Dead Daisies / Oliver Dawson Saxon - O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) - 14 November 2018

This was my first time seeing Oliver Dawson Saxon and I have to say it was initially very strange at first seeing the Metal classics performed without Biff singing them. However, I soon warmed to frontman Bri Shaughnessy (Seventh Son) who did a fine job, and entertained the partisan crowd with his acerbic South Yorkshire humour. I'm not sure if he would have got away with The Chuckle Brothers' "From me...to you" banter anywhere outside of the county.


Oliver Dawson Saxon Live 1

It was, however, not the first occasion seeing guitarist Graham Oliver and bassist Steve Dawson, having seen the pair in the original Saxon many times in the eighties. The band was completed by Paul Oliver on drums and the talented Gav Coulson on guitar.

The sound was loud but clear, with an excellent mix; one of the best audios I've heard in the notoriously poor O2 Academy. Opening with 'Strong Arm Of The Law', OD Saxon hit the ground running. The word "classic" is frequently overused, but not tonight as the band continued with 'Frozen Rainbow' from the 1979 eponymous Saxon debut, 'Dallas 1pm' (one of the greatest Metal songs of all-time, in my humble opinion) and the biographical 'Denim And Leather'. The eight-song set of Saxon's greatest hits was almost the perfect NWOBHM set although personally I would have swapped the title-track of their sixth studio album 'Crusader' for the title-track of their infinitely better fifth album 'Power And The Glory'. They concluded with the "planes, trains and automobiles" holy trinity of '747 (Strangers In The Night)', 'Princess Of The Night' and 'Wheels Of Steel'. The latter also included a snippet of the Rainbow classic (the children's TV show and not the Ritchie Blackmore band), "Up above the streets and houses, rainbow flying high!"


Oliver Dawson Saxon Live 2

The enthusiastic crowd gave OD Saxon a reception normally reserved for headlining acts, but one that was nonetheless thoroughly deserved. A cracking start to the evening.

Before this year, I had never seen the Dead Daisies live; but, this evening I was seeing them for the third time in seven months. I have read in certain circles that some believe that the band are over-exposing themselves, and with part of the main O2 being curtained off, it may have suggested that these comments were correct. However, I would estimate that there were more fans in attendance than at the Manchester Academy in April, and double the amount of the Holmfirth Picturedrome capacity of six hundred and fifty where I saw the band at a sensational show in June. It's probably also worth mentioning that Dan Reed Network were playin, just up the road, at Wakefield, on the same evening.


The Dead Daisies Sheffield Live 1

The band strolled onto the stage to the backing track of Rose Tattoo's 'Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw'. There are not many bands that can open with a cover version and get away with it, but that's exactly what The Daisies did with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band's 'Midnight Moses', a song which still many fans who still think this is a Daisies' original composition.

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It was great to see The Daisies mix up the setlist from their recent visits to these shores, however, playing 'Evil' second slightly lost the momentum. As per the support band, the sound continued to be excellent as they continued with 'Make Some Noise', their equivalent to Kiss' 'I Love It Loud'. However, The Dead Daisies start firing on all cylinders when Doug Aldrich takes centre-stage to start the immense riff to 'Resurrected'. There seemed to be an upsurge in the already fervent audience at this juncture. The group of musicians, tighter than an otters pocket, continued with 'Rise Up', 'Dead And Gone' and 'What Goes Around' and at one stage, we even had bassist Marco Mendoza strolling around the crowd!


The Dead Daisies Sheffield Live 2

During 'Join Together' the band dispensed with their instruments and led an a Capella conclusion to the Who classic. The mid-set, acoustic part of the show is always a highlight and tonight was no exception. 'With You And I' and 'Set Me Free' preceded a brilliant version of the Rod Stewart classic 'Maggie May' where drummer Dean Castronovo showcased his immense vocal talents, the crowd amusingly singing "Deano" at every possible occasion. The Beatles' 'Let It Be' was given an acoustic, semi-Country work out before the band plugged back in for the title-track of this year's superb 'Burn It Down' release (see my album review in Issue #82 of Fireworks, click HERE to download the full magazine for FREE).


The Dead Daisies Sheffield Live 3

The band introductions had also been given a work over for the 'Winterland Tour'; original founding member and rhythm guitarist David Lowy to AC/DC's 'You Shook Me All Night Long'; bassist Marco Mendoza to Joan Jett & The Blackhearts' 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll'; drummer Deen Castronova to Alice Cooper's 'School's Out'; lead guitarist Doug Aldrich to Rainbow's 'Long Live Rock 'n' Roll'; and lead singer John Corabi to the Rolling Stones' 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)'. Corabi had further opportunity to mimic Mick Jagger with the rip-roaring cover of the Stones' classic 'Bitch'.


The Dead Daisies Sheffield Live 4

The close of the main set sent the already eager crowd to fever-pitch with 'Song And A Prayer', 'Long Way To Go', 'Mainline' and a stunning cover of the Deep Purple classic 'Highway Star' where Aldrich went into guitar hero overdrive. The Daisies briefly left the stage before returning for a two-song encore of 'Mexico' and The Beatles' hard rockin' 'Helter Skelter'.


The Dead Daisies Sheffield Live 5

The Dead Daisies really do enjoy themselves on stage and their symbiotic relationship with the fans is one reason their shows are so memorable. At just twenty pounds a ticket and a two hour-plus show, The Dead Daisies sure know how to give value for money. If you are not convinced by The Dead Daisies' albums, take my advice and go and see them live; they will give you a whole new perspective on their songs, and won't leave you disappointed. Guaranteed!

Review and photos by Mark Donnelly

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