Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.
If one out of every one hundred men is a warrior, then it was good that within the 500 plus people crammed into the thunder dome that is Union Hall, we had 5. And there was no retreat from the 5 Swedes that make up the power / victory metal band Sabaton.
In case you don’t know, Sabaton is not your typical power metal band. When they appear on stage each one is dressed in camouflage. The lead singer, Joakim Brodén, also decked out in chrome body armour. And on top of this, they really like writing songs about history. So much so that you might even learn something.
Throughout their 90 minute set, they took the crowds from Sparta in 480 B.C. (Sparta), to the First Battle of Breitenfeld in 1631 (Gott Mit Uns), to the fall of the Samurai in 1877 (Shiroyama) right up to World War 2 (To Hell and Back).
The only thing they didn’t bring to North America? Their tank. Though that didn’t stop them from having their tour bus coated with them, thanks to some sponsorship from World of Tanks.
Now, I’ve been lucky enough to see the band more than half a dozen times, in three different cities. The crowd banter is the same (“we’ve played a thousand shows together”, “this crowd; look at these goosebumps!”), but there definitely seems to be something about the Edmonton crowds that’s just a bit crazier. Maybe it’s the city’s attitude. Maybe it’s the huge military base north of the city. Whatever the reason, shows in Edmonton are just special. In Vancouver or Calgary you might get a more technical show, but seeing this band here is just special. Sabaton feeds off the crowd at their shows, and each and every time I’ve seen Sabaton here the crowd has only gotten better.
The next time they blitz into the city, we can only hope they’ll pick a bigger battlefield so that more combatants can witness them lay waste to the stage.