CONCERT REVIEW: Saxon – Uriah Heep Live at Bergen Performing Arts Center

I had the supreme pleasure of seeing the two English juggernauts Saxon and Uriah Heep Live at Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ as part of their ‘Hell, Fire & Chaos’ U.S. Tour! 

Fronted by Biff Byford, the almighty Saxon took the stage first, coming out strong with “The Prophecy” and “Hell, Fire and Damnation” two tracks from their newly released “Hell, Fire and Damnation” album – (a total banger I might add). The gents then went into some older work with 2009’s “Motorcycle Man” and 1999’s “This Town Rocks”, by which time much of the crowd was fully warmed up, out of their seats and flooding the aisles. The energy on stage was a sight to behold, the band feeding off the crowd, the crowd feeding off the band- it was the perfect heavy-metal symbiosis. 


INTERVIEW: Nigel Glockler of Saxon Discusses the “Hell, Fire and Damnation” and Longevity In Heavy Metal


Let’s talk about this line-up, it must be one of the most in-tact, longest running current lineups of the original NWOBHM movement. On drums we have Nigel Glocker, who’s been with Saxon since 1981- a total pleasure to watch I might add. I was very thankful for the generous lighting on the drum kit to see this man’s delightful smile through the entire set. On guitar they had Diamond Head’s own Brian Tatler (*Fan girl *SCREAMS* in I AM EVIL, DEAD RECKONING*) and Doug Scarratt who joined the band in 1997 with studio release “Unleash the Beast”- one of my personal favorites. Then we have Timothy “Nibbs” Carter on bass guitar who has appeared on an astounding thirteen of Saxon’s studio albums. Top it all off with lead-man, Biff Byford who’s been heading the band for nearly 50 years! Saxon delivered an epic set that went on to cover songs like “1066,” “Heavy Metal Thunder,” and “Madame Guillotine,” as well as hits like “Denim and Leather,” “Wheels of Steel,” and “Princess of the Night.” The gents couldn’t have been in better form- total pros and a sight to behold…. My jaw was literally dropped numerous times during, and after their set. And I don’t think those boys broke a sweat to boot!


Saxon hit all of the notes, played the crowd like a fiddle and had everyone up and out of their seats in time for co-headliner Uriah Heep to take the stage. Newer heavy metal/ rock bands should take note when tours like this come around. Between these two bands, this tour is a full fledged lesson in how to conquer a crowd.

For those of you too far on the Metal spectrum to not know who the almighty Uriah Heep are, I’ll give you a quick breakdown. Uriah Heep are an English Rock band formed in London in 1969. … 1969- the early 1970’s aren’t often discussed in terms of Heavy Metal, usually overshadowed by Woodstock and the counterculture movements coming out of the “Summer of Love”, but among all of this Uriah Heep is widely considered one of the biggest pioneers in hard rock and heavy metal to come out of that time.

Their sound was as good as ever and the crowd went absolutely nuts for every song the fella’s came out with. Particularly losing it for hits like “Stealin,” “Sweet Lorraine,” “Gypsy,” and “Easy Livin.’’ Long-time lead singer, Bernie Shaw, who’s been with the band since 1986 put on a fabulous performance and offered up a full serve with his dynamite mixed fabric/ tie-up bell bottom pants and suede red boots to match. Shaw’s voice was strong and those epic boots must have been comfortable because that man didn’t leave a corner of the stage untouched!

Let’s talk about the OG Uriah Heep line-up- there is something special about lead guitarist Mick Box’s stage presence. It is as if the band’s previous members were on stage with Mick, you can almost feel the spirit of all iterations of Uriah Heep’s lineup being kept alive. The unique sound Uriah Heep has makes it feels like you are experiencing two major periods of music history at once, the hippie origins of the 1960’s, as well as the beginnings of the British Heavy Metal invasion. Mick mystically gestures up, down, to the crowd in between those classically heavy, yet groovy guitar licks, with such effortless charisma I couldn’t keep my eyes (or lens) off of him!

The substantial second set also included songs: “Grazed by Heaven,” “Hail the Sunrise’’, “Free ‘n’ Easy,” and “Look at Yourself,” amongst others. Those fellas covered a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time, considering they’ve been blessing stages for over 55 years now!

I am absolutely honored I was able to see and cover this tour. A HUGE thank you to Saxon and Uriah Heep for taking the time to come to the U.S. and do such a thorough tour. I admit I had bought a GA ticket to the Dublin date of the “Metal Masters Tour”, during which they were touring with Judas Priest. Despite knowing deep down it was pretty unlikely of me getting over there for it, I just wanted to put being able to see these two bands into the universe. …. Perhaps it worked! Can’t wait for next time!


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