During the Easter holidays Chaoszine took a road trip to Sweden to see mighty Sabaton play live for two shows. First gig would take place in Falun, Sabaton‘s hometown, and the second next day in the neighboring town of Borlänge. Frankly, before the trip I was so excited that it felt like my head might explode. The thought of Sabaton playing at a small arena for one thousand people felt like a dream.
Although that, that’s where I’m going. Sabaton is currently the kind of band that can easily fill in any big European arena. So how on earth there is now 30 gigs in Sweden in small and medium size venues instead of those big European arenas?
”The Great Sweden Tour” was originally planned for 2021, but due to covid it got postponed. Not so surprisingly European tour “The Tour To End All Tours” that was scheduled for this spring was postponed until the spring of 2023. Within this situation Sabaton stated that now is the right time to stay within borders of one country instead of speculating on ever-changing travel restrictions. I believe this was the right thing to do, even though fans waiting for the new album release tour would now have to wait a bit longer.
Sabaton‘s “The Great Tour” was cut short in 2020, and the excellent album “The Great War” wasn’t played live for nearly as long as it would have been desirable. And that gets me with another tickling point: which songs will be played at these gigs? This is not an album release tour for the new album “War To Ens All Wars”, however, it will be ten years since the release of “Carolus Rex” this year.
My journey is completed by car and a cruise from Turku to Stockholm. When arriving in Stockholm it is good to notice that my phone’s roaming settings are not placed as they should be so internet is not working and naturally I can’t use Google Maps. Great! Luckily, I had memorized my route fairly accurately, route E4 to North and turn left from Gävle. The first few kilometers went by listening to Swedish morning radio before I remembered that there are a few Sabaton records stored on my phone. Now with proper travel anthem I was sure I would find my way to Falun, and I sure did.
Sabaton‘s home village Falun is very idyllic. It is definitely not very ”rock”, or state that it is the home of one of the world’s biggest heavy metal bands. However, when you enter the hotel lobby and customer service person asks not your name but ”are you going to see Sabaton tonight?” you know you are at good hands.
The plan is to go to gigs in the neighboring towns of Falun and Borlänge on consecutive days. The Falun venue is like a copy of my home town Tampere venue ”Pakkahuone”, an elegant brick building and an excellent functional space. In Borlänge the gig is held at a local hotel venue.
Supporting act at both gigs was Swedish Hulkoff, which I was not familiar with before my trip. Fairly soon I found out just what kind of a band it is. Damn groovy folk, rock, and industrial toned metal. It works like thunder! I became immediately a fan of Hulkoff. Rest of the audience seems to be more familiar with the band, but even I understand so much Swedish that I know what must be done when the lead vocalist commands ”nu ska vi headbang!”. I also recognized thesinger: he is actually Pär Hulkoff known also from a band Raubtier. In Falun we get the first surprise of the evening when ex-Sabaton guitarist Thobbe England takes over the microphone and performs one song with Hulkoff. It is as tight as a night in Borlänge and it is absolutely great to see new found band two nights in row. Hulkoff will be in my playlist also in the future. Great stuff.
After Hulkoff we get the stars of the tour to the stage fairly soon. Shout out to the efficient staff! Sabaton kicks the show going with ”Lejonet från Norden”. Sabaton is at that point their career that always some great songs must be left outside of the setlist. This tour is dedicated to 10 year old album ”Carolus Rex” and especially to the Swedish version.
Gladly we also get to hear few songs from the new album. No doubt that also the band is aching to play those new songs after such a long wait. From the new album we hear ”Soldier Of Heaven”, ”Unkillable Soldier” and ”Stormtroopers”. ”Soldier Of Heaven” is already my most listened song of the year. When the song was released I kept listening it like Teletubby, again and again. And again.
At Falun after Hulkoff gig we were already bit expecting that we might get Thobbe to the stage also with Sabaton. And fair enough Mr. Englund joins to the stage during ”Gott mit uns” and shreds in total three songs. Thobbe left Sabaton 6 years ago but he definitely has place in fans and Sabaton guys heart.
At Borlänge the setlist is bit renewed and we get ”Gott mit uns” early without Thobbe so his visit yesterday seems now even more special. At Borlänge we have also other matters to celebrate since it is now ten years since guitarist Chris Rörland joined Sabaton in 2012. Gongrats!
One of the highlights at both gigs is definitely ”En Livstid I Krig” and Swedish audience which sang their heart out, while I settled nodding and smiling. There are also other people with similar issues with their Swedish language skills. Naturally at least few Germans, Finns and even one Canadian who came all the way from Vancouver to see these two shows. Gladly we have also other than Swedish sing a long songs like ”Red Baron” and always mighty ”Primo Victoria”.
These Sweden shows have been very special. To see and hear Sabaton this close is great experience. That being said, in the end Sabaton is full grown stadium size band and I can’t wait to see full stage setup in the upcoming European tour. Sabaton has earned with hard work all the glory, stadiums, pyros and tanks.
Two nights in a row of Sabaton and I could do it again right away. Post gig melancholy is immediate, but so is return to Finland. Returning to Stockholm also got lovely twist when now quite nicely working Google maps had bit of a mistake and I got an unwanted sightseeing in the very heart of the capital of Sweden. In the end I found my way to harbor and while waiting to get to the ship I had time to listen The history edition of “The War To End All Wars”.
Sabaton’s tour “The Tour to End All Tours” will take place in spring 2023 so now it’s good time to buy your tickets to at least one of the European shows.
Thank you Sabaton, thank you Sweden. It has been lovely.
Text and Photos OutoKuva/Outi Puhakka