“The Great Tour” came to the Skyway Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota with plenty of firepower for the sold out venue. Sabaton and HammerFall, both hailing from Sweden, have a tremendous following with passionate fans that hung on every song throughout the night.
Hitting the stage first was HammerFall. They recently released ‘Dominion’ and fans were anxious for the quintet to take the stage. Vocalist Joacim Cans led the charge and quickly took control of the crowd. Opening with “Never Forgive, Never Forget” and then jumping into “One Against The World” showcased some of that new material. The tandem guitar attack of Oscar Dronjak and Pontus Norgren was lethal and the rhythm section of bassist Fredrik Larsson and David Wallin on drums providing a majestic musical landscape for Cans to deliver those soaring choruses that fans couldn’t wait to join in on. The eleven-song set went quickly as they shot through “Renegade,” “Blood Bound,” “Let The Hammer Fall,” and “Hammer High.” This was my first adventure with HammerFall and they were impressive. The band was extremely tight and the guitars sucked you into the power of the bands music. Fans joined in on every chorus, never letting a moment pass where they could become one with the band. The anthemic “(We Make) Sweden Rock” kept the energy high before closing with the fan-favorite “Hearts On Fire.” The band just announced a headlining tour for 2020 and Minneapolis will see these guys again. I’m guessing it will be a packed house.
“Ghost Division” opened up an explosive set by Sabaton. Donning black and white camo fatigues and a drum riser that was a tank that took up 80% of the stage, the band unleashed an intensity and energy that put a stranglehold on the crowd. They released ‘The Great War’ earlier this year and played the title track next. The band has been brilliant at covering historical events and conflicts throughout the history of the world. They are able to paint a vivid picture of battlefields and tell the story of war, duty, and heroism through the lyrics and the music that is as thunderous as a tank rolling across a field or a fighter plane during an attack. They are now two decades into the bands history and have nine studio albums. They soldiered through a balanced set of both old and new with “Resist And Bite,” “Carolus Rex,” and “Shiroyama” coming off past records and highlighting “The Red Baron,” “The Attack Of The Dead Men,” and “Fields Of Verdun” from the new release.
Sabaton not only delivered on the sonic front, but their stage presence was so addictive and fun. It was like a ballet between the guitarists Tommy Johansson and Chris Rorland. They intertwined the riffs and solos in perfect unison as they played off each other. Bassist Par Sundstrom and drummer Hannes Van Dahl provided such a solid foundation that you felt that you could walk upon it. Vocalist Joakim Broden was a complete blast to watch. His powerful vocals and fist pumps kept the crowd completely engaged with him and the band all night. Despite the subject matter they are singing about, the amount of fun and smiles coming off their faces was amazing. They look like there is no other place they would rather be than on that Skyway Theatre stage and sharing these moments with their fans. Even though they roared through eighteen songs, I think people could have listen to another eighteen. The encore included “Primo Victoria,” Swedish Pagans,” and “To Hell And Back.” It was a fantastic and fun set.
“The Great Tour” featuring Sabaton and HammerFall was a complete success. The venue was packed, both bands brought their own flare and excitement to the stage and fans couldn’t get enough of either one of them. I’d call that a good night.