Report: Sabaton – Afas Live – february 9th 2020

“I’d like to keep my eyebrows, please”

On a stormy day, Sabaton brought their “The Great Tour” to AFAS live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For this show, they brought along Amaranthe and Apocalyptica.

Before the concert, AFAS Live announced that the show would still continue as scheduled. Some people complained, since the Dutch weather institute advised not to be on the road. Still, Sabaton said that even a storm could not stop them. When I arrived near the venue, I could hear chairs and other items flying around, but thankfully, everything around AFAS Live was secured and safe.
People were already lining up in front of the entrance a couple of hours before the doors were open. The show was sold out weeks beforehand, but due to the storm, there were a lot of people selling their tickets, which meant a good opportunity for others who otherwise would have been too late.

When Amaranthe started, not everyone from the line outside was in the venue yet. The hall was about halfway filled and Amaranthe had forty-five minutes to play. They made the best of their time and played songs in fast succession. With a whopping twenty songs, they played a lot of their repertoire. Songs like “Hunger”, “Amaranthine” and “Drop Dead Cynical” were performed and with the venue filling up, they did their best to entertain the crowd. The only thing I don’t understand are Elize’s random high kicks.

Apocalyptica worked together with Sabaton on their recently released “Angels Calling”, so it was only fitting that they would accompany them on tour. For me it was the first time seeing them and by now the venue was already quite packed.
Apocalyptica had a few surprises for us in store. Naturally, they played a few songs from their latest release “Cell-0”, as they started with “Ashes of the Modern World”. Besides that, they played their Rammstein cover “Seemann”, on which Elize sang along. She stayed for another song, as she helped the band out with “I Don’t Care”.

Most people got introduced to Apocalyptica by their Metallica renditions. What I did not expect, was for them to play “Seek and Destroy”. When they said they would play some classical music, as that was what they all played before forming Apocalyptica, “Hall of the Mountain King” was not what I had in mind. Yet with little snippets of Beethovens 9th sypmhony, they made a unique live version of the song. Naturally, they could not leave without playing their most known cover, “Nothing Else Matters”. The only thing that bothered me about the show, was that it seemed as if one of the cellos was a little bit mistuned, as it didn’t sound as pure as on the record. Naturally, it’s hard to duplicate the exact same sound during a live show, but during some moments, it sounded a bit off.

When it was time for Sabaton to enter the stage, AFAS Live was packed! Fans were waiting with great anticipation and what a show Sabaton had planned for us. With lots of pyro, fireworks and a big screen at the back of the show, they are nearing the stage presence of Iron Maiden.

Starting off with the falling of the curtain, fireworks and explosions, Sabaton kicked off the show with “Ghost Division”. Right from the get-go, the show was action packed and the crowd was cheering the band on, roaring with energy. The vibe during the whole performance was fantastic and Sabaton did their best to keep the crowd entertained with special little gimmicks. During “Attack of the Dead Men”, Joakim entered the stage wearing a special outfit and a gas mask and during “The Red Baron”, the piano was built in a red plane.

As I said earlier, the show was filled with pyros and explosions. One of the most memorable moments of the show was during “Night Witches” when Joakim entered the stage with a bazooka and shot at the tank, which led to a big explosion.
There could not have been a better opportunity for Sabaton and Apocalyptica to play together and as Joakim announced, it would have been a shame if his was only during “Night Witches”. So apart from that song, Apocalyptica also joined the stage for a few more songs. This led to some unique versions of “The Price of a Mile”, “Carolus Rex” and a few other songs. During the last song with Apocalyptica, the band reappeared. wearing some older Swedish army outfits.

During the encore, fan favorites like “Primo Victoria” were played and after teasing it for a couple or times, “Swedish Pagans” could not be missed. Meanwhile, as always, the Dutch audience were shouting “broek uit, op je hoofd”, which beckoned Joakim to take of his pants and put it on his head. During previous shows, he obliged, but came prepared with another pair of pants under his pants. This time, while the crowd cheered him on and laughed, he did do it at the end of the show.

Which such a spectacle, it’s hard not to leave the venue with a big smile on my face and in anticipation for the next show. Let’s hope the pyros will not burn off my eyebrows, though. (note, I still have my eyebrows, but the fire was pretty hot and intense nonetheless).

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