Finally it was time for another Sabaton concert, this time a final show of the tour in Antwerp. Where I had been twice before in the same week for 2 Sabaton shows. This show sold out in roughly 3 hours when it was announced, showing what kind of hardcore audience this really is. Sadly though this time one friend didn’t end up showing up as he was still hungover and a couple of hours away from the point where he was supposed to get picked up at. That didn’t change the fact that we were all really looking forward to this show and we couldn’t wait for him so we started the 2 hour drive it was from that point.
All in all we arrived around 3:30pm, so we decided we’d walk around town a bit and talk and get some food meanwhile. Turns out that we walked for a little while and got some food near the central station and then decided we’d go back and sit in a bar for a little while until it was time to go. I guess we can nearly call it tradition to go to that bar now as we’ve done that every time. When it was time we decided we’d go there and wait it out, turns out that we’d be waiting another hour for the doors to open.
Support: Blaze Bayley
Not many people seemed to know who the opener was even supposed to be, not helped by the fact that the only mention of them was on the venue’s site and their name was misspelled there. So, not a lot of excitement for this one. To add to that was that Blaze (yeah, the band is named after the singer) was clearly on some sort of drugs, probably speed or something. Other than his arrogant attitude he did put up a decent show for an opener and the music at times was pretty good to headbang to.
Before Sabaton enters the stage there’s 2 songs that they play during this tour. The first being Europe’s The Final Countdown and the second is the March To War. During The Final Countdown you have to imagine the whole crowd singing along with it and with the March To War you have to imagine an insane amount of clapping and yelling along with that. I can tell you that when you hear that live, you’ll get goosebumps.
The entire show was energetic and fun as hell despite it being rather hot in the room before they even got on stage. There was definitely some nonsense happening on stage such as santa’s running around, hanging christmas balls on the microphone stands and the drum kit. Also there were some balloon YMCA letters thrown on stage which resulted in them and us singing YMCA together which was hilarious. It was really indicative of the atmosphere that there was.
They played for 2 hours and 15 minutes and it was great to hear some of my favorite songs such as Talvisota and White Death again, especially the former they hardly ever play live. Whereas Union would’ve completed my favorite-songs-that-they-barely-play-live-list, I have no real issues with the setlist at all. It all worked out great especially for such a lengthy set and the amazing atmosphere. Another fun note was that halfway through between songs I started singing the tune to Swedish Pagans, my friend joined in and so we started the entire crowd singing it and as such they smiled and played that song next.
Everything just clicked and was fantastical, including the singing of Jingle Bells towards the end and then finishing off the evening with the Metal Medley (2 songs in homage to other metalbands/songs). During those songs I felt like I could die a happy man.
At the end there was more of the crowd singing and tons of drumsticks, shirts and other presents getting thrown into the crowd as a thanks from the band and it was announced that there’d be an afterparty at a bar. So we went there and hung out for a bit, had a drink and then headed home. While at the bar I talked to 2 of the bandmembers and took pictures with them:
After that we drove home and we sang along to Alestorm and Powerwolf albums. I was the first to be dropped off, getting home just after 4am. It was a great day and woke up the next morning with a headache, muscle-ache all over and a sore throat.