Saxon say they should be playing the main stage

Fans gathered for set spill out of tent

Saxon played a storming set to a huge crowd at this evening’s (June 14) Download.

Before the band came on stage the gathered throng, who were spilling out of the small Gibson tent, repeatedly chanted the group’s name.

Taking to stage a little later than scheduled at 8.10pm (BST) the five-piece sauntered on to a sea of “Saxon” cheers and rock claws

Silver haired front man, Biff Byford, whose mane reached down almost to his elbows stalked the stage mike in hand while the rest of the band pummeled through a back catalogue of hits.

Despite their age the black attired quintet were animated throughout the show – with Byford often coming to the front of the stage arms raised making the crowd cheer while bassist Nibbs Carter head banged almost constantly.

A few tracks into the set Byford: “Hello, well it’s good to be back Donington! I’ve been waiting a long time to say that.”

He then joked after looking out at the huge crowd: “I thought this was meant to be a small gig!”

Then Byford asked the crowd if they wanted to hear new songs or old songs to which the unanimous reply was new, causing him to laugh: “You bastards!”

Crowd interaction was on a high for the gig’s entirety but when the band played ’Wheels Of Steel’, Byford got the whole tent to chant back the chorus.

Just before the end of the show a clearly excited Byford surveyed the crowd spilling out of the tiny tent and declared: “Is this the main stage or what? We played with Metallica in Germany last week and this is must better than that!”

Saxon played:

‘Attila The Hub’

‘Motorcycle Man’

‘Let Me feel Your Power’


‘Dogs Of War’

‘Heavy Metal Thunder’

‘Wheels Of Steels’


Keep up with this weekend’s (June 13-15) festival action as it happens on NME.COM. For news, pictures and blogs keep checking the NME.COM’s Isle Of Wight Festival page and NME.COM’s Download Festival page for live coverage from both sites.