September 25, the Brooklyn Bowl here in Las Vegas was packed to the brim with metal fans from all over. I was shocked at how insane it was for a Sunday night.
I had heard of both bands thanks to multiple friends, but I had no idea what I was in for!
Coming from the Netherlands, opener Epica took to the stage as the crowd went wild. I was blown away not only by vocalist Simone Simmons, whose operatic soprano style juxtaposes the melodic, heavy instrumentation provided by her bandmates, but also the band’s interaction with the crowd.
It is always a thrill to watch the energy between the stage and the floor, and Epica had one of the most solid connections to their fans I have ever seen. At one point, keyboardist Coen Janssen jumped into the photo/security pit and pulled a kid who couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7 from the crowd, propped him on his shoulders, and continued the song.
It was just the energy needed to start off the night as the crowd awaited Sabaton.
Next up was Sweden’s own Sabaton.
I had heard that this was their first stop in Vegas since 2015, and it was quite obvious the crowd was eager for their arrival. Their stage set up depicted a war zone, including the drum riser being atop a tank, which was incredible.
As the band took the stage, dressed in camouflage, images from the World War I played on the screen behind them, with tributes to those who fought and gave their lives to the battlegrounds. Much of their music is inspired by historical events, and this showed.
The crowd sang along with each word as Sabaton broke into “Ghost Division”. I can’t really describe their sound. It’s not quite symphonic metal, but it isn’t as heavy and abrasive as other forms of metal either.
It was obvious that each band member was just as happy to see their fans as their fans were to see them. There wasn’t a single moment during the set where any of them stopped smiling, waving, and acknowledging the people before them. I believe it was once Dee Snider who said in an interview regarding Bon Jovi that “there’s no smiling in metal!” Clearly, he’s never seen Sabaton. Vocalist Joakim Broden interacted with each and every fan he could reach, laughing, smiling, and looking like the happiest man on Earth.
Sabaton delivered banger after banger, leaving us all exhausted, thrilled, and honestly, sad that it was over. I walked in to the show not totally familiar with them, and I left a fan.
PHOTO CREDIT: ALL PHOTOS BY STEPHY HAYWARD (MUZIO) FOR ZROCKR MAGAZINE – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED