Sunday, 6th October, 2019 – Center Stage, Atlanta, Georgia
It’s been a hot minute since I last reviewed a concert, but here we are. Let’s just say, I had words I needed to say about the Sabaton show in Atlanta, Georgia. Beyond screaming “It was EPIC” in everyone’s faces. Mind you, this wasn’t my first Sabaton show. That was back on The Last Stand tour when they had Battle Beast with them. This time around, they have longstanding Swedish giants Hammerfall with them as the opening act.
The venue itself is one I am so familiar with by now, I only need GPS for reference and if I miss an exit (thank you Atlanta and your traffic). Center Stage is a three in one venue settled in the Midtown part of Atlanta. The Vinyl is the smallest, then The Loft, and Center Stage, which sits about 1000+ people. Maybe more if there’s no chairs on the floor. It was a sold out show, the first of many for Sabaton on this tour in America, and on a Sunday? Colour me impressed that it filled out. I’m not sure how many people were in the pit, but it wasn’t packed. Even sitting in the seats, there isn’t a bad place in the house. This venue is the home of ProgPower, after all. Where was I? On the rail, of course. Because that is where I live if it isn’t a seated show.
Had I heard of Hammerfall before? Sure. Had I listened to them? Not consciously. I recognized one song out of their set, but otherwise it was all new to me. Hammerfall was a great opener for the night! They got the energy up and have a chemistry with the crowd, whether you knew them or not (which most of the venue didn’t when he asked who had never seen them before). Joacim’s vocals are just as clear as they are on record, and the band has some chops. Crowd favourites were played, as well as some songs from their latest album. I’m still learning about them, so don’t quote me on what song is from what album. What I do know is that Joacim’s tenor is amazing, and the band is right on his level.
Now… Sabaton? Oh goodness. This is the first time I’ve seen them when they had a tank on stage. Yes, a tank. Not the big fancy ones from their European shows, but you know what? There’s a little reference to a famous soldier painted on the side of the tank drum riser, which happens to be one of their more popular songs as well. The show started out with a video covering the story of World War I, the subject of their latest album “The Great War”. Chilling, honestly, but it set the crowd in the right mindset. A concert plus history lesson. As always, they opened with a bomb of energy. I’m pretty sure a pit started right off with it, but I didn’t see. Too busy having fun.
The set list is a great mix of old favourites and songs from the new album. Interjected with frontman Joakim giving small tidbits of history and talking to the crowd. Or getting picked on by fellow band mates Tommy or Chris. Compared to the last time I saw them live, they have a screen behind them now with brilliant visuals that sometimes have the words for the people in the crowd who might not know all the words. All for fun and call backs. Nothing like a venue doing the chant from “Swedish Pagans” between each song to get the blood going. Nor jumping to two of their more popular songs at the end.
I came out of there high on life and whistling. I’d been long overdue for a good metal show, and Sabaton never fails to fill that void. If you ever get the chance, or if there isn’t a sold out show near you, I implore you to go and experience it yourself. I tried to not mention songs on the setlist in this review just in case anyone reading might be going. Let’s just say, you will not be disappointed by either band’s setlist. Their energy is infectious, and if you’re a fan of their albums? Live takes that and knocks it out of the park. It’s a must see at least once in your life. Nothing like a history lesson wrapped up in a powerful metal package.