Sabaton Roars into the Valley at The Van Buren


Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Venue: The Van Buren
Date: Thursday February 8th, 2018

The Swedish Power Metal band Sabaton started its North American Tour in Phoenix, Arizona.  Normally the first show of a tour is a warm-up performance to get all of the kinks out.  But by the way they performed tonight, the rest of the tour should be phenomenal.  The lead singer and front man, Joakim Brodén seemed to be at the top of his game and both guitarists Chris Rörland and Tommy Johansson were dazzling.  From the little I could see of Hannes Van Dahl, he was masterful on the drums (he was backlit most of the show).  Last but not least was the bass player, Pär Sundström.  What can you really say about Pär but sensational.


This is the 4th time I have seen Sabaton in the last 4 years.  Each time am still astounded by how good this band is.  For tonight’s show, the band had a minimalist stage, which consisted of the drum kit and 5 mic stands.  No amps or speakers were on the stage and the band had full run of the stage. Behind Hannes and his drum kit, they had a large screen.  Throughout the performance, they had movies playing that conveyed the stories behind the songs.  If you are new to Sabaton, almost all of their songs are military based.  Their latest (and in my opinion their best) album, The Last Stand contains songs about a smaller force that stands against a larger better equipped force and stand to the last man.  If you go to their website ( ), they list all of their albums and have the story behind each song and the lyrics.

Like the last 2 performances I saw, they start the show with “In The Army Now” playing in the background.  Of course the entire audience was singing along.  Then during “The March to War”, the band runs out on stage and they start to play.  About half way through the show, Joakim asks the crowd which version of “Gott Min Uns” they would like to hear, the English or Swedish version.  The crowd yells back, Swedish.  So they start to sing the song and the crowd joins in all singing in Swedish.  One of my favorite songs is “Sparta” where the band starts with driving riffs and then the entire band and crowd starts to shout, “Boom, Ha” as they raise their fists.  This is typical of a Sabaton show, the audience gets into the music and moves and sings along with the band.  This crowd interaction is very common for Power Metal bands.  For over 2 hours we were bombarded with power riff after power riffs, driving bass, power drumming and Joakim storming all over the stage with a barrage of power vocals.


How do you review a band that each time you see them they put on a fantastic show.  Iron Maiden changes their stage show each tour to impress us since they are always musically at the top of their game.  Sabaton is taking this same approach.  They have proven that they are outstanding musicians, so now they are changing up the stage.  For our show they added a large screen behind the band and a great light show (even front lighting, YEAH).  Since it was an inside show, they were not allowed to use pyrotechnics.  Someday I hope to see Sabaton in their full glory at a large venue where they pull out all of the stops and have the tank, lights and pyrotechnics.  If you are lucky enough to go to one of these shows, you will love it.  I truly believe that Sabaton can be the next Iron Maiden.  They have the talent and drive that should propel them to that level.  If you listen to their albums/cds you only get a small flavor of the power of this band.  You really need to check out their YouTube concert videos or even better yet buy their CD/DVDs of their live concerts.  I truly believe that once you see Sabaton live you too will become a follower.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2018

Sabaton Setlist:                             (Album)
In The Army Now (Pre-Intro)            (Carolus Rex)
The March to War (Intro)                  (Primo Victoria)
Ghost Division                                  (The Art Of War)
The Last Stand                                 (The Last Stand)
Blood of Bannockburn                      (The Last Stand)
Cliffs of Gallipoli                                (The Art Of War)
Lion From The North                        (Carolus Rex)
Gott Min Uns (Swedish Version)        (Carolus Rex)
Final Solution                                    (Coat Of Arms)
Resist and Bite                                  (Heroes)
Night Witches                                    (Heroes)
Swedish Pagans                                (The Art Of War)
Sparta                                              (The Last Stand)
White Death                                      (Coat Of Arms)
Carolus Rex                                      (Carolus Rex)
Winged Hussars                                (The Last Stand)
Primo Victoria                                   (Primo Victoria)
Shiroyama                                        (The Last Stand)
To Hell and Back                                (Heroes)


Christian “Speesy” Giesler, Miland “Mille” Petrozza of Kreator

Kreator is a German Thrash Metal band with Miland “Mille” Petrozza on guitar and lead vocals, Sami Yli-Sirniö on guitar, bassists Christian “Speesy” Giesler and drummer Jürgen “Ventor” Reil.  As you can see from their setlist, they did a little bit from all of their albums from over the past 33 years.  Probably the highlight of the show was when Mille waving a flag for their song, “Flag of Hate” and then the crowd sang along with Mille.  They had a fantastic light show, but all of it was from behind them.  They had no front lighting and venue’s lights were not used.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2018

Kreator Setlist:                         (Album)
Phantom Antichrist                      (Phantom Antichrist)
Hail to the Hordes                       (Gods of Violence)
Army of Storms                          (Gods of Violence)
Enemy God                                 (Enemy of God)
Satan Is Real                               (Gods of Violence)
Civilization Collapse                     (Phantom Antichrist)
People of the Lie                          (Coma of Souls)
Flag of Hate                                 (Endless Pain)
Phobia                                         (Outcast)
Gods of Violence                          (Gods of Violence)
From Flood into Fire                     (Phantom Antichrist)
Hordes of Chaos                          (Hordes of Chaos)
Totalitarian Terror                         (Gods of Violence)
Violent Revolution                        (Violent Revolution)
Pleasure to Kill                             (Pleasure to Kill)


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