Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Psyko Steve Presents
Venue: The Van Buren
Date: Thursday October 10th, 2019
Tour: The Great Tour
Tonight, Phoenix got to see 2 really great Heavy/Power Metal bands. A Power Metal band is one whose music the crowd likes to sing along with and the band encourages it. The show was at the Van Buren in downtown Phoenix and I should have known it was going to be a large crowd when I saw the line wrap around venue and the church behind it. When we got inside, it was wall to wall people. The nice thing was that even with all of the people there, only a very small mosh pit started and it only lasted for a few songs. I did see a number of familiar metal heads including a close friend of the family, Hi Matt. If you get a chance to see a show at the Van Buren, it is a nice venue. I have seen a number of shows there both with floor seating and standing only like tonight’s show.
This was the 5th time I have seen Sabaton. The first was when they play as the middle act between Delain and Nightwish. When they first entered the stage I was think, what the hell is this. They seemed so out of place between the other 2 bands. They all came out with winter camouflage pants and the lead singer was in some sort of body armor with metal plates. They started jumping and bouncing around the stage and again I taught, “What the Hell”. But then I got caught up in the energy and power of the band. By the third song I was hooked. Over the years since then I have come to the realization that this is probably the next mega Heavy Metal band and possible the new Iron Maiden.
If you are new to Sabaton, they are a Heavy/Power Metal band from Falun, Sweden. They base their music on historical events and people. They have produced one album called, Heroes, where each song is about some person that was a hero in history. The majority of their songs are about military events, but they are nonpolitical. Their last tour was to promote their album, The Last Stand. It was about famous military events where a few stood up to the many. This included “Sparta” about the 300 Spartans and “40 to 1” about the Polish military holding off the German attack at the start of WWII.
The one thing I really like about Sabaton is that they provide all of their lyrics to all of their songs on their website: https://www.sabaton.net/discography/ . They also request song ideas from their fans about other great events in history.
For that last few years Sabaton consists of founders, lead singer Joakim Brodén and bass player Pär Sundström with drummer Hannes Van Dahl and guitarists Tommy Johansson and Chris Rörland. They are still dressed the same, but for this tour the guitarists now have winter camouflage painted guitars.
Ok, so you are now wondering “Who the Hell is Audie?” Audie is actually a what. To enhance the stage production, Sabaton tours with a tank. It is modified with the turret removed and Hannes’s drumkit mounted where the turret should be. They named the tank after Audie Murphy, the most decorated US soldier in WW2. They have a song about Audie that is possible one of their most requested songs, “To Hell And Back” and was the last song of this show.
Their latest production is “The Great War” that talks about events and individuals of WWI. This was the majority of the songs in tonight’s show. They had a few songs from Heroes and The Last Stand. From the reaction of the crowd, they were really into it. There were times when Joakim would ask the crowd to sing along and jump with them, and the audience was more then happy to join in. After shooting the first 3 songs, I attempted to move into the middle of the crowd, but it was packed so I went to the back of the venue by the merchandise stands. It was the most people I have ever since at the Van Buren. I am sure that the next time they come back to Phoenix they will have to perform at one of the bigger venues or at the outside venue.
The one thing that is nice that Sabaton does, is that after each tour, they create a DVD/CD set of their live performance. Having seen and heard Heroes and The Last Stand live CDs, I can tell you they were outstanding and reminded me of the shows I saw. If you get a chance to see Sabaton on this tour, definitely go. They are amazing and put on a show that will have to wanting to come back again to see them. I realize that most of their North American tour is over, but they have planned to tour South America.
I had 2 hopes when it comes to seeing Sabaton. The first was to see a show with the tank on stage. Finally, I got to see Audie with this show. The second is to hopefully get to go to their Open Air Festival and review and photograph it. I have always wanted to see a large festival since I was too young (only a teenager) to go to Woodstock. I would finally be able to see Sabaton (and other great metal bands) in their full glory with full stage production, lighting and pyrotechnics.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved
Sabaton Setlist: (Album)
Ghost Division (The Art Of War)
Great War (The Great War)
Resist and Bite (Heroes)
Fields of Verdun (The Great War)
The Attack of the Dead Men (The Great War)
The Red Baron (The Great War)
The Price of a Mile (The Art Of War)
Bismarck (Not Released)
The Lion From the North (Carolus Rex)
Carolus Rex (Carolus Rex)
Shiroyama (The Last Stand)
Night Witches (Heroes)
The Lost Battalion (The Last Stand)
The Last Stand (The Last Stand)
82nd All the Way (The Great War)
Primo Victoria (Primo Victoria)
Swedish Pagans (The Art Of War)
To Hell and Back (Heroes)
This was the first time I have seen Hammerfall. I listened to some of their music prior to the show and thought they would be a good fit with Sabaton. Like Sabaton, Hammerfall is very dynamic and they have a great stage presence. Hammerfall current consists of lead singer Joacim Cans, bass player Fredrik Larsson, drummer David Wallin, guitarists Oscar Dronjak and Pontus Norgren.
Joacim was all over the stage singing to the audience and at times trying to get the crowd to sing along. The one interesting part of the show was when Oscar came out with a guitar that looked like a giant hammer. At one point he even swung the guitar like it was a hammer hitting the stage. After hearing their music prior to going to the show, I knew I would like them. But they put on a great show and listening to them live was even better.
They announced that after Sabaton was done, they, Hammerfall would come out to their merchandise table and sign items and have photos taken with fans. I normally wait to see the band and get a couple of photos of the band with the fans, but tonight at least a third crowd was waiting. I figured it would take well over an hour and decided to leave. It is really great when bands do this. It allows the fans to interact with them and the fans feel great and will definitely buy more items and be fans for life.
I can’t wait until Hammerfall comes back to the Phoenix area. If you have not seen them, then I would highly recommend them if you like Heavy/Power Metal music. You can find more information out about Hammerfall including their new album, Dominion and also their upcoming tour dates at their website: https://www.hammerfall.net/ .
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved
Hammerfall Setlist: (Album)
Never Forgive, Never Forget (Dominion)
One Against the World (Dominion)
Blood Bound (Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken)
Any Means Necessary (No Sacrifice, No Victory)
Hector’s Hymn (Evolution)
Last Man Standing (Gates of Dalhalla)
Let the Hammer Fall (Legacy of Kings)
Hammer High (Built to Last)
(We Make) Sweden Rock (Dominion)
Hearts on Fire (Gates of Dalhalla)