Saxon - 'The Saxon Chronicles'

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Saxon - 'The Saxon Chronicles'

The DVD is a great visual chronicle of a classic British Rock band.

This double DVD is a re-release, and now includes a bonus disc entitled 'Rock 'N' Roll Gypsies 1989'. The first DVD is a complete show from the Wacken Festival 2001 in Germany. This was at a point when Saxon where re-emerging from the wilderness years of the late 1980s.

Professionally filmed and presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, this is a great representation of a Saxon live show in all its sweaty glory. Kicking off with the classic 'Motorcycle Man', this clearly is a very different band. Nibbs Carter plays his bass guitar like a cross between Steve Harris and Angus Young, whilst Doug Scarrett and long term member Paul Quinn play back-to-back guitar licks.

The epic 'The Eagle Has Landed' looks all the more impressive with the giant metallic eagle at the back of the stage, something I remember fondly from the tour of the same name. This show was prior to Nigel Glockler returning to the drum stool and instead features Fritz Randow on drums – a solid drummer but lacking the flair of Glockler in my personal opinion.
The second DVD has various videos such as 'Suzie Hold On' and 'Power And The Glory' (with the band in space-age Ghostbusters outfits!). 'Nightmare', albeit a great track, has a comedic low budget feel (Biff Byford asleep on a glass table with bedroom walls made of cardboard!).

The only videos with any real production values or entertainment are 'Rockin' Again' and 'Back On The Streets'. The latter has the band in cowboy outfits larking around in a western town, though the less said about Quinn's wig the better! The TV appearances and interviews are from a variety of shows like Big Breakfast with Keith Chegwin alongside an early appearance of Richard Madeley on Yorkshire TV. Being a 1970's child, I especially enjoyed some of the early Top Of The Pops and Old Grey Whistle Test performances.

The bonus disc features original guitarist Graham Oliver, as well as (at the time) new bass player Carter. For me, this was a low point in Saxon's career, despite many classics being churned out around this time. 'Rock The Nations' and 'Northern Lady' I feel were Saxon's "treading water" period.

As a snap shot of a point in the bands history, the DVD is a great visual chronicle of a classic British Rock band but the bonus CD, albeit interesting, is far from an essential purchase.

Ray Paul

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