On May 19th, I had the pleasure of catching Sabaton in Richmond, VA during their Swedish Empire Tour of the US. The concert was at a club called Kingdom, a cool little place in the Shockoe Bottoms section of the city. The show was opened by a local band (who were essentially forgettable) and a group from Raleigh, NC called Fallen Uprising. For a relatively unknown band, I think they have a lot of potential. They list their influences as Iron Maiden, Bullet for my Valentine, and Mastodon among others. I definitely heard the BFMV sound in their songs. With some work and persistence, I think they may be a good band one day – especially considering they are all very young. Neither of these bands was why I was there, though – clearly the entire crowd was in attendance for the Swedish Empire Tour.
Sabaton hit the stage with Ghost Division, my all-time favorite tune by the band. Fortunately the crowd was small enough (probably 60 or so) that I was able to grab a position up front, actually leaning on one of the monitors for the entire show. Sabaton was high energy and there to clearly crush us with their power metal offerings, no matter the size of the crowd. Vocalist Joakim Brodén was energetic, headbanging with his trademark mohawk and aviator sunglasses, the entire band in their urban camouflage, of course. Their passion for the music and appreciation for the crowd was readily apparent throughout the show. Although we were small in number, Joakim told us he was impressed with how loud we were.
As you may know, four members of Sabaton recently left and had to be replaced for this tour. The new members’ (2 guitarists and the drummer) performances were outstanding and if I didn’t know any better, they could have been in the band for years. Granted, there were only 2 dates left on the tour, so they had been doing this for an entire tour, plus a few weeks in preparation. The band came across as total professionals, despite the obstacles to success they had in their way.
Sabaton offered the expected fare in the way of songs, with 40:1, Attero Dominatus, The Price of a Mile, a nice surprise with Midway, but only one song from the new album, title track Carolus Rex. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole, no-frills, in-your-face metal show, especially getting to be right on top of the stage. Most concerts I attend, I always want more, to include this one. However, this show made me even more of a Sabaton fan. My camera died this week, so I was unable to get any photos, but asked a couple of other attendees to send some to me. If I get any, they will show up in another posting. I did get the setlist, though it was torn in a small struggle for it. I had to tape it back together, so it certainly isn’t in pristine condition, but I did ultimately get it!
If you ever have a chance to see Sabaton, I highly recommend it and I plan on seeing them again one day.
I hear the sound in a METAL way.