It’s always an absolute pleasure to see Sabaton live and although it wasn’t too long ago that they last toured the UK (the tail end of 2014), their return to UK shores was once again met with great fervour and excitement.
As the lights went down to signal the start of Sabaton’s set, The Final Countdown was played over the PA, and it wasn’t long before everyone was singing along and having a wonderful time before the band even made it onstage – and of course when they all made it onto the stage to open up with Ghost Division, the roars of cheers from the crowd were almost loud enough to shake the walls! And indeed, during the first crowd interaction frontman Joakim could barely get a word in edgeways due to the roars of the crowd chanting Sabaton’s name.
After joking about there being a tank parked right up his ass (due to the size of the stage, the band’s huge tank stage prop took up a good chunk of space onstage, resulting in there being just enough room to stand directly in front of it), it was mentioned that it had been assembled via flat pack rather than ‘parked’, and that it was available from IKEA (catalogue number 666, naturally) – and then the crowd started chanting the word “IKEA” at Sabaton, much to the band’s amusement, prompting Joakim to ask whether everyone was going to spend the night chanting rather than letting the band play!
Of course, play they did and the set was a good blend of both old and new material, with highlights including Uprising, the always-powerful Carolus Rex (complete with claps and fist-pumps in time with the prominent rhythmic pattern) and Night Witches, but a particular highlight of the night was when they played Attero Dominatus. The introduction was so tight it was almost like the band were miming to a backing track – no mean feat for a song with pauses in it – and the energy behind the delivery was fantastic as well.
One of the best things about Sabaton is that as well as putting on a musically tight show, the band also know how to put on a visually engaging show and yes, whilst they do have a massive tank onstage with them, the tank doesn’t carry the performance – the energy and interactions between all of the band members are more than enough. From Joakim jokingly leaving the stage with the rest of the band singing Gott mit uns in Swedish so that the crowd wouldn’t know if they messed up, to several members chasing each other round the tank and drummer Hannes chucking his drumsticks to the other members for them to use instead, it was clear the band were having a great time onstage and the great feeling was passed onto the crowd as a result.
Following a particularly energetic rendition of Primo Victoria, the night came to a close with Metal Crüe, and it ended the night on a high – the members were giving everything they had left to give, and the crowd responded in kind until the closing chords rang out.
All in all, a fantastic performance from Sabaton – to say that this band knows how to put on an amazing show is somewhat of an understatement.
Photographs taken at the London date.