Swedish metal warriors Sabaton chose Melbourne to host their only headline show from their first tour ‘Down Under’, supporting Nightwish. Local metal community responded with all their might: massive support, with an impressive queue of avid punters forming around the venue since early in the evening.
Opening acts couldn’t possibly be more appropriate. First on stage was Eyefear, with their exciting and very melodic power metal, topped by front man Danny Cecati’s remarkable voice – and unusually long hair. With the venue already packed to the rafters, Black Majesty followed shortly after and didn’t let the ball drop. After all, besides their more than breathtaking and powerful songs, they have a lead singer that looks like Ronnie James Dio… But wait! Before leaving the stage, they called in special guests from Eyefear, and none less than Snowy Shaw the man himself – filling in as drummer for Sabaton while their drummer is away on paternity leave – and together they delivered ‘The Book Of Heavy Metal’ by the band Dream Evil, with whom Snowy played a few years ago. What else? Ah, he’s a drummer that also plays other instruments and sings – and impressive singing is what he did here. Not satisfied? Well, he played with King Diamond and Mercyful Fate many years ago. Enough said. Legend. His name is in that book, as well as the names of all of us lucky witnesses.
Now, have you ever heard the expression ‘three strikes you’re out’? Well with Sabaton it’s three strikes and you’re out of speech, really. First strike: their introductory song, played on the speakers before they take to the stage, is ‘The Final Countdown’ by the band Europe, possibly the greatest Swedish rock anthem of all time. Second strike: Snowy returned to the stage, and this time warmed up the crowd by playing some drum rolls and fills. Third strike: the rest of the platoon, fronted by the incredibly active Joakin Brodén, followed suit and delivered the magnificent Ghost Division. Three strikes, that’s it, we’re all speechless…
…But this was just the beginning of their epic performance. One by one they delivered seminal gems from the past, such as Attero Dominatus, 40:1, Midway and Into the Fire. As this was a special night, punters also got to choose between two options of songs in a few cases – in one of them both were played anyway! From the new album Carolus Rex, the band delivered an unforgettable version of The Carolean Prayer in Swedish – the only song of the night not sung in unison by all the punters, for understandable reasons.
A long show from a band that should hopefully have a long career ended with a long encore: The Art Of War, Primo Victoria with everyone jumping madly, and the only song that was not about war: Metal Crüe, dedicated to all metal heads present.
Besides the amazing music they played, the uncanny energy they had on stage, and the undisguisable happiness in their faces, something else really stuck out that night: their remarkable respect for the fans – the band thanked and acknowledged the existence of their local fan club, established even before they ever played their first live concert down here.
Last but not least: Joakin dove into the crowd and surfed his way back to the stage. Legend. That’s what metal is all about: music, respect and attitude. Sabaton have all three and then some.
Gott Mit Uns
The Carolean Prayer (Swedish version)
Cliffs of Gallipoli
Into the Fire
The Art if War
Photos by: Julianne Valokuvaus