UFO, Saxon and Jared James Nichols live at City National Grove of Anaheim – Anaheim, California – March 18, 2017

UFO, along with Saxon and Jared James Nichols, played at the City National Grove of Anaheim in Anaheim, California on March 18th. (Photo Credit: Tammy Greene)

Jared James Nichols, along with the British invasion of Saxon and UFO, took control of the sold-out crowd on Saturday March 18th at the City National Grove of Anaheim.

Solo artist Jared James Nichols has taken the music industry by storm, off his recent tour with Zakk Wylde. The trio of bassist Erik Sandin and drummer Dennis Holm has landed another great tour. Opening for British heavy metal icons Saxon and UFO. Having one release under their belt, Old Glory & The Wild Revival, their bluesy rock was catchy, energetic, very infectious bluespower was perfect for warming up the fans. Keep an eye on these guys, you won’t be disappointed. I look forward to seeing them again.

Missing the Saxon/Fozzy tour in 2013, then Saxon/Motörhead tour in 2015… shame on me! I was beside myself to see Saxon this time around, I love these guys. Frontman Biff Byford, guitarist Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt, bassist Nibbs Carter and drummer Nigel Glockler took the fans down memory lane, with their set consisting of classic 80’s Saxon songs with a handful of their current material sprinkled in. Perfect! Opening the set with the titled track Battering Ram off their latest release, following with This Town Rocks, off Power and The Glory, rounding out the first three songs with another self-titled track Sacrifice.

Byford sounds better than ever, looking sharp wearing a long cloak, headbanging, working the stage with ease, having constant eye contact with the crowd acknowledging the fans waving the Union Jack flag to the signs the fans made. A true gentleman. Later in the set Byford gave the fans the opportunity to choose what song they wanted to hear, stating “let’s play one for Lemmy” giving them the choice of Never Surrender or 747 (Strangers in the Night) … wait wait for it, he just had an epiphany adding And the Band Played On which was the fans choice.  Closing out their seventy-five-minute set with Never Surrender, Denim and Leather and Princess of the Night all off Denim and Leather leaving the fans wanting more.

A highlight for me, I’m sure it stems from the kid inside loving Alice In Wonderland, was Queen of Hearts off Battering Ram, that was icing on the cake! Twenty-one studio albums to date, with hints of a new release in January 2018, Saxon is unstoppable! I’m looking forward to it.

Saxon Setlist:
Battering Ram
This Town Rocks
Power and the Glory
Queen of Hearts
The Eagle has Landed
Dallas 1PM
20,000 Ft
Wheels of Steel
And the Band Played On
Never Surrender

Denim and Leather
Princess of the Night

Headliners UFO took the stage at 10:15 for a ninety-minute set, touring in support of their 2015 studio album A Conspiracy of Stars. I’ll admit it’s been a while since I have listened to UFO. I was surprised how many songs I knew. Opening their set with Long Gone off The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent, my first impression this was going to be a long set, starting off a little slow. That quickly changed as frontman Phil Mogg and drummer Andy Parker (the only two original UFO members) along with keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond, guitarist Vinnie Moore and bassist Rob De Luca, found their rhythm for Run Boy Run off A Conspiracy of Stars, rounding out the first three songs with the self-titled track Lights Out. Mogg, a veteran of working the crowd, kept the fans attention with his humor in-between songs. At sixty-eight years young he does his fair share of working the stage, whipping that mic stand around like it’s nothing, delivering the classic UFO sound.

UFO formed in 1969, there’s a wealth of material to choose from, focusing more on their classic 70’s UFO material from albums Phenomenon, Force It, Lights Out, and Obsession, with a sprinkle of their current albums. The fans cheers erupted with songs Baby Blue off You are Here, Love to Love off Lights Out and Mother Mary off Force It. Guitar virtuoso Vinnie Moore tears it up during the longest song of the night – Rock Bottom off Phenomenon. Bassist Rob De Luca  always looks so serious and is everywhere, he did show the fans the warm side smiling toward the end of the night. Keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Paul Raymond steps out from behind the keys, to play that left handed Gibson Les Paul, (of course I notice the Les Paul), what also grabbed my attention was drummer Andy Parker’s kit not on a riser, it was great to see the time keeper. Closing out a fifteen-song set including a three-song encore of Cherry off Obsession, Doctor Doctor off Phenomenon and Shoot Shoot off Force It.

UFO Setlist:
Long Gone
Run Boy Run
Lights Out
Baby Blue
Aint No Baby
Only You Can Rock Me
Burn Your House Down
Too Hot To Handle
Messiah of Love
Love to Love
Mother Mary
Rock Bottom

Doctor Doctor
Shoot Shoot

Connect with all three online:

Jared James Nichols: Facebook Instagram Twitter
Saxon: Facebook Twitter Instagram Website
UFO: Facebook Twitter Website

All photos by Tammy Greene
©2017. Please DO NOT copy or use without permission.

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