Well here it is, Demonszone’s first show review of 2017 and what a start to the year this has been. Not only do we get to see Sabaton for the second time in less then twelve months, but they are in Glasgow with the German metal legends Accept and have the overly happy Twilighty Force as an opening act. There was no way we could not get our moneys worth with this one.
Unfortunately, the show was to take place at the Glasgow O2 Academy. A venue that ranges from excellent to quite poor depending on the band and it is situated in an awkward place that, no matter what season it is, the street always attracts a god awful cold wind. Today was no different with the weather man forecasting a heavy amount of snow and he was quite on the money.
Through out the day we had to embrace a horrendously cold wind and never ending sleet. It was without a doubt the worst weather conditions for queuing at a concert, and we (very stupidly) did just that. What was more disturbing is that when we went to the venue ( a little earlier then we should have), there were numerous people already at the front doors determined to get in and bag a front barrier position. These die hard fans were dedicated, I will give them that but a little off in the head. I had sympathy for one fellow who nearly froze to death. A nice fellow but dude, that was your own fault. We also got to meet two cool parents who were taking their ten year old son to his first concert. A great start for the little one if I do say so and I do hope he had a good time.
In typical event steward fashion, they completely borked the entry to the venue by only opening one set of doors. This did a fine job of screwing over some of those kids who had waited for so long to get in. Things went from bad to worse for fans when we discovered that the T-shirts were quite over priced. The standard tour shirt ranges from £20 to £25, this tour were selling theirs for £30. I love your bands but you can fuck right off!
Twilight Force took to the stage bang on time boasting their silly but highly entertaining gimmick. I presume that these fellows were dressed as their favourite video game characters, it was silly but provided a good laugh. Musically, these guys rocked the house and clearly won over a lot of people by the end of the show. They blasted out a good half hour of extremely cheery power metal that sounded like what would happen had Dragonforce learned to play their instruments properly and had the song writing abilities of Power Quest. The music had an over powering up lifting quality but was sadly let down by some questionable tweaking at the sound desk. The band started off with no sound at all from the drums and bass, to gradually improving in power and quality. It is a shame that Twilight Force were treated so badly in terms of sound, they were a really good band that I would happily pay to see again. Their up lifting positive vibes is something that is sorely lacking in metal these days.
Before I talk about Accept, I have to admit that the only reason I was actually at this concert was to see this veteran band in person. German heavy metal bands of this calibre do not show their faces in Scotland and only ever come as close as London. So, I decided to travel two hundred miles and brace lots of chronic pain just to see their one hour set. Boy, was it worth it.
Accept hit the stage and immediately blasted out the opening track to their latest album, Blind Rage. We were treated to a a good ten song set list which featured its fair share of modern tracks from the latter to tracks like Stalingrad, Final Journey and Teutonic nights. Of course the band played some of their older fan favourites like Fast As A Shark, Restless And Wild and Balls to the Wall. It was a nice mix of old and new, some older fans clearly had a blast and a lot of the younger crowd obviously didn’t know that they were watching a band of significant heavy metal importance.
Sadly like Twilight Force, Accept’s set was hindered by some questionable sound. Guaranteed, it was nowhere near as bad as it was for the opening act, but it could have been significantly better. With that said, it did not detract from the fantastic show that Wolf and friends put on. The band were absolutely spot on for the entire time and created so much momentum that they could have played for another half hour and everyone would have went home happy without seeing Sabaton. In terms of playing, well Hoffmann’s guitar theatrics were high class stuff. Not only was he playing heavy riffs, trading off solos but even featured a lot of the more classically based stuff that we fans love to hear. The rhythm section was absolutely brutal in their precision and I personally think that Mark Tornillo is a better frontman then Dirkscheider ever was. Though, I would love to know what he’s looking at up in the rafters.
We had to wait another dire half an hour for Sabaton to come on stage but when they did, you really couldn’t miss them. The lights were strobing, the gigantic tank drum riser was unveiled, the PA was playing the band’s cover of Bolland & Bolland’s In The Army Now (Status Quo’s version is still better) and the crowd went absolutely mad.
Joakim and all his chums hit the stage with a mean rendition of Ghost Division. They proceeded to pulverise the crowd with the songs Sparta and Shiroyama. The band took a quick breather to pull out the, “what song do you want to play” crap again. This led to a loud sing a long to the crowd favourite Swedish Pagans. The momentum of the band kept rolling as they went through The Last Stand, Winged Hussars, Night Witches and The Lost Battalion to name a few. The encore contained a great version of Primo Victoria, the incredibly cheesy Blood of Bannockburn and To Hell And Back. Three great choices to round off your set if I do say so.
Despite the fact that Sabaton put on a great show, I unfortunately felt the set list was a little lacking with too many songs from their fairly average new album, The Last Stand. These songs all have the same rhythm and groove which made the set feel a little too repetitive in places. There is also a problem with the jokes, they caused a moment or two of deja vu due to the scripted nature. I can understand having a show of sorts but you have to keep those kind of things a little bit more unpredictable. But those are minor gripes and I will never fault the band for their professionalism. Their set was expertly played and they have an astonishing amount of energy.
With all that said though, booking Sabaton as the headliner over Accept was in my opinion a big mistake. As reliable, consistent and enjoyable as Sabaton are, they don’t have that special something that bands from Accept’s generation have and we saw that in full force tonight. Had the tables been turned and Sabaton was limited to an hour play time, I think their set would have been a lot of more enjoyable with some of the filler chopped out.
Considering the rising price of concert tickets these days, I think we got an absolute bargain for this show. Each band put on a great show, the stage set up was great to look at and it is hard to really argue about real value at the end of the day. I personally wouldn’t pay to see Sabaton again, it’s a simple case of the show was a little too samey as last year, they are a great band live but the older I get, the more simple things like these bother me. I don’t have too much time to waste and don’t want to see the same thing time and again. Definitely a great show for the younger generation with endless time, money and energy.