Copenhell - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

It was a modest crowd standing in front of Helvíti as the first band entered with the blast of a Heavy Metal Thunder!

“It’s good to be back in the land of the Vikings!”
- Peter ‘Biff’ Byford (vocals)

The band, Saxon if you haven’t guessed it already, had no problem with the early slot though, and the undesirable job of waking the audience up from the day before.
Bassist Timothy ‘Nibbs’ Carter was as usual the most lively member of the band, and he was doing all of his usual sprinting across the stage and the very becoming headbanging which fit the music oh so well, whereas guitarists Paul Quinn and Douglas ‘Doug’ Scarratt took a more easy-going approach to the whole affair, as they only nodded their heads while basically standing in the same position throughout the show. Byford was somewhere in between the two extremes, but had a powerful presence and a great grip on the crowd, constantly throwing around some comment or the other to entertain us whilst not singing the good old NWOBHM anthems that the band has created over the years.
He did show that the band had a very relaxed approach to the days show though, and more specifically to the day’s setlist as he more than once asked whether we would like some newer songs or if we wanted to stick with the oldies from the 80ies. The latter clearly got the best response from the crowd, thus leading him up to the comment and conclusion which proved Saxon had a very healthy approach to what the realities of playing live is all about; ”Some new ones now maybe? No? Bastards. Well, you paid for it...”
Damn right we did, and the fact that they were making the set up as they went along (at least that’s what they said), showed that the band was willing to accept this and give us our money’s worth!

The fact that the band showed such a willingness to work with the audience, and of course that they have a ton of experience in how to create a working show, was reflected in the crowds’ response. It’s not always necessary to have great light-rig eagles and that sort of stuff (something which Byford promised us if we were to stop by their Wacken gig later in the summer), less can certainly do it as well, as long as the band has something to offer.
This was obviously the case here, as the Copenhagen crowd was having a blast in the company of the old gentlemen from the British Isles, headbanging away without showing any signs of early morning fatigue or the so called Slayer neck, induced by Slayers headlining show the day before. Sure, there wasn’t much in the ways of moshing and such (not that this music invites to that sort of behaviour), but instead we saw lots of raised fists in the air, and we heard a lot of crowd-participation in the singing. I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive) saw a special crowd oh oh part, as Byford wanted to make sure we were awake (don’t know how he could have thought otherwise, mind you).
To show some love for the hit song Crusader, a song which Byford mentioned the band having been banned from certain places for playing (“well, we didn’t want to go there anyway” he finished), a member of the audience threw a tattered and dirty denim vest up on the stage, and upon close inspection Byford’s face cracked into a big smile as it revealed a large Crusader backpatch. The vest was then properly installed on his mic-stand and stayed there throughout the tune, and was afterwards relocated unto Carter, who wore it for a while before sending it back into the crowd with a thank you to the dedicated fans here.

There really was only one major problem for Saxon this morning, and that was the sound. To not wrap it into too many words, it was horrendous! It was noisy and all smashed together so one thing couldn’t be distinguished from another, which was sad, as it took away from the all-over experience of the gig, but not enough to cause any major impact luckily, and Saxon ended up providing of the most memorable concerts at Copenhell 2012. A perfect way to start the day!


Heavy Metal Thunder
Hammer Of The Gods
Power And The Glory
I’ve Got To Rock (To Stay Alive)
20,000 Feet
747 (Strangers In The Night)
Motorcycle Man
Strong Arm Of The Law
To Hell And Back Again
Denim And Leather
Princess Of The Night

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