Sabaton w/ support @ Hard Club, Porto (PT)

Sabaton, Eluveitie, Wisdom
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
6th October 2012

SWR Inc. got hold of Sabaton and managed to include Portugal in their Swedish Empire tour. In their 13 years of existence, this was only their 3rd time in our country, for what Joakim Brodén apologised more than once. The first time, as Joakim himself recalled, had been in 2006, in the old Hard Club, supporting Edguy (I was there – great show!). Then, if memory serves me well, they came back, already as headliners, a couple of years ago (that one I missed). So even though they couldn’t fill the main room of the venue, there were about 250 metalheads eager to see them. So eager that Joakim even said we sounded like 2000.

But first things first. Hungarian Wisdom was the first band setting foot on stage and they did it on schedule. Frankly, I hadn’t heard about them until the bill was first announced, and I also confess I didn’t check them out: I was totally in the dark regarding them. Seems that I wasn’t the only one, but they weren’t completely unknown either, as I heard a few voices singing along. And the rest of us were soon carried away by their straight-forward power metal and lively performance. Especially after the third song, which was a cover of Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years”. I think that’s the smartest thing to do – if the crowd doesn’t know your songs, play something they do know and they’ll pay more attention from that moment on.
Every time singer Gábor Nagy asked us to scream or clap our hands, we gladly did so – the band was warmly welcomed here. From their original songs, I highlight “Heaven And Hell”, “Wisdom” (“a song about ourselves”) and the last one “Judas”.



Two months after Vagos Open Air, Eluveitie were back in Portugal. Chrigel Glanzmann had said at the festival that it was good to be back in our “beautiful country”. Now he changed it to “it’s good to be back in your beautiful city” (they’d played in Porto in 2009, with Emergency Gate, Caliban and Kreator).
As Sabaton’s drumkit was already set up, and this was the smaller room of the venue, I was wondering if they all would fit on stage. So I don’t know if bagpiper Patrick Kristler’s absence that night was due logistic matters or if he’s missing out the whole tour.
Another line-up change, this one permanent, was Rafael Salzmann, replacing Simeon Koch in the lead guitar. Sime left the band in September, so this is Rafael’s first tour with Eluveitie. Thus, his first time in Portugal and Chrigel wanted us to show him “the crazy motherfuckers” we were in terms of loving folk and metal in general. As if there was any need to ask for it… The crowd was restless through and through, moshing, yelling, singing, clapping hands and raising fists in the air. Not even in “A Rose For Epona” did they slow down. And “Inis Mona” was probably heard across the street. Once again, it was “Havoc” which finished the set.



When the DJ cut Pain’s “Dirty Woman” to play some epic instrumental tune, I thought Sabaton’s gig had started. But I want to believe the DJ just decided to get us in the mood, because a +10-minute “intro” is boring like hell and I don’t want to think of Sabaton as boring. No, I want to believe the real intro was Europe’s “The Final Countdown” (whose chorus everyone sang) and then Sabaton’s own “The March To War”. Finally the gig kicked off at full speed with “Ghost Division”.
As previously said, Joakim was amazed with our devotion. And he couldn’t help pointing to this kid with a broken arm on a cast and be amazed with his courage for standing in the front row. As he couldn’t help playing with the kid, asking him to admit that he had done that when jerking off and now all those 250 people knew he didn’t have a girlfriend. Then, for his bravery and as an apology for messing with him, Joakim let him decide which of two songs – “White Death” or “Talvisota” – should the band play next. The kid chose “White Death”.
They did this you-choose thing twice more, but with the whole crowd. They would give the names, and the most cheered one would be the chosen. Among “Coat Of Arms”, “Uprising” and “Midway” we chose the second, and between “Into The Fire” and “Attero Dominatus”, the latter won.
Along with his jumps and general energetic presence, Joakim is also known for his good spirits on stage – the jerk-off joke wasn’t the only one. For instance, someone asked for a pick and replied he was a singer, he had none. So Chris Rörland gave him one, but Joakim pretended to keep it for himself, saying he’d always been a fan of Chris’ playing and now he finally got his pick. Another fan wanted to exchange his sunglasses with the singer’s, and even though they looked more like some swimming dark glasses and he would look like “a weird bumblebee”, Joakim agreed. The exchange would only take place before the last song though, and when the time came, Joakim kept his promise. And asked for no pictures after that – even though he let the original owner of his new sunglasses take one.
On a more serious note, he said at some point that Sabaton didn’t speak Portuguese but they spoke heavy metal, so we would understand each other just fine. And that if we kept that vibe going, they were the ones who would applaud us in the end.
And then, in the encore, between “The Art Of War” and “Primo Victoria”, he confided that he was proud of saying those same words for the last 60 shows – that after the line-up change in the beginning of the year, no one had raised a middle finger to the new guys. Personally, I find it quite impossible for someone to do that. Chris, Thobbe Englund and Robban Bäck are excellent musicians, and now bassist Pär Sundström and Joakim aren’t the only ones crossing the stage from one side to the other and show that they’re actually having fun. Joakim said a heartfelt “thank you so much for that!” but we are the ones who should be thankful for such an improvement.
The show ended with “a song about you”: “Metal Crüe”. Brilliant!




6 Responses to “Sabaton w/ support @ Hard Club, Porto (PT)”

  1. Great review!

  2. […] Originally posted in: […]

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