Sabaton & Hammerfall: The Great Tour, Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall
It’s a highly anticipated evening here in Toronto, as tonight’s performance at the Danforth Music Hall has already been sold out for months. Plenty of people are still looking for tickets right up until the show starts, but unfortunately for them, most ticket holders are determined to make it—even though many are traveling far for a Tuesday night concert and have to be up for work in the morning.
The floor is already completely packed long before the show starts. It’s nearly impossible to wiggle through the crowd to get to a good spot, and those who came early and managed to rush to the front are jammed in, elbow-to-elbow. The floor loosens up a little, however, as a pit opens within seconds of opener Hammerfall (8) taking the stage. The band has barely any room onstage on account of the massive veiled stage setup behind them, but that doesn’t stop them from exhibiting a commanding presence. While there are a lot of Hammerfall fans here, a surprising number of non-fans have showed up early for their hour-long set. By the end, they’ve surely gained at least a few new fans.
It’s impossible to not sing along with the likes of Renegade, Last Man Standing and Let The Hammer Fall, and even newcomer (We Make) Sweden Rock gets a thunderous response from the crowd. If it wasn’t for the fact that they’re occupying only the front of the stage, you’d forget these guys aren’t the headliners.
Anticipation builds during the half-hour set change, especially when the black covers are pulled from the set, revealing the massive tank drum riser that has made it over to North America for the first time. Though the Danforth Music Hall holds 1500 people, it feels like we’re watching a stadium show when Sabaton (9) comes ripping onto stage with Ghost Division. By the end of the song, there’s not a person on the floor who isn’t drenched in sweat. But this is only the beginning of a 90-minute set, and the crowd (and security) are really in for it.
A triple-threat of songs off the new record, The Great War, comes early in the set, with the pummelling kick off Fields Of Verdun, Attack Of The Dead Men, and The Red Baron raising the energy level. A powerful rendition of Bismark gives the crowd a chance to catch their breath, or use it singing along, but the break doesn’t last long, and the maniacal fans are soon back at it with an insanely large circle pit, a ridiculous number of crowd surfers, and even a wall of death, unprompted by the band.
Chants of "SA-BA-TON, SA-BA-TON" loud enough to drown out the band come from the audience between every song, and the members look genuinely happy to see it. At one point, a 13-year-old in the crowd catches the attention of frontman Joakim Brodén, and the lucky kid goes home with the singer’s shades. In a move Brodén admits is cocky, Sabaton close their main set with another new song, 82nd All The Way, but the fans don’t seem to mind, considering that the song gets an even bigger response than classic tune The Last Stand, which they play right before. After a three-song encore and a victorious final bow, the 1500+ metalheads are on their way… to the McDonalds and the pizza place down the road to talk about how incredible the show was.
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