Sabaton @ Coop Norrbotten Arena, Luleå, Sweden 1/4 – 17

So, it was time. This is one of those things that I call an “impulse” show, that wasn’t exactly planned at all, but still I end up going. Because this is essentially what I do – go to shows, and then last minute I go to one more. It’s happened quite a few times by now, so I really should have learned.

This time, I was going to travel quite a bit – but still within Sweden. The flight this day took me up to Luleå, which is up North from where I live. I got on the bus after work in the morning and tried to sleep the best I could on the bus with a man in front of me who insisted on having Skype conversations at 5 am in the morning. At the airport, I did my morning routine, got checked in and on the plane, and dozed off again. When I woke up, through the low volume music on my iPod I heard the pilot speak about Skellefteå. About that we were about to land in Skellefteå, for some reason. As someone who’s never flied domestic before, I was confused, but also figured it was a normal thing to do, until:

“And I’d like to remind you all that today is April’s Fools, we are indeed landing in Luleå”

Damn. He actually got me there, because of my lack of knowledge, but I noticed the other passengers was relieved as well. I was more concerned on how much delay we would get! Once arrived, I was hit with snow. That it was snowing. Which was a new sight for me.

While being on the bus down to the City center, I couldn’t stop staring out the window. Like, it is indeed Sweden, but yet, it feels like a complete different country. I don’t even know why. Once in the city center, I hit up my ever so beloved Espresso House for lunch / dinner, and then checked in to the hotel.

Which was also like the cutest hotel ever. I loved the room so much I barely wanted to leave. But you know, I had to. So I turned on some music, got ready for the show and went off to the venue. I guess you could have traveled there by bus, but I walked. It was only a 25 minute or so walk, and I was pleased, despite it being close to opening hours, it wasn’t a whole lot of people there. There were however several doors, which I have never been a fan of. But gladly, everything went smoothly and I could secure my front row spot. A kind gentleman next to me held my spot as I went to the bathroom one last time, and then the wait for the last time for this time would start. Also, I want to add. For this show, they had banned cameras. All sorts of them. So, I apologize for the lack of quality images.

Twilight Force

Twilight Force, again, opened their set heavily and epically with “Battle of Arcane Might” to a very… not so excited audience. I know that they had a group of hardcore fans a few metres away from me, but aside them and myself, not a whole lot of response. Whats up with the north? “To The Stars” was next on the list, followed by “Riders of the Dawn”. I’m not sure exactly WHERE in the set it happens – but as Blackwald was speaking, they tuned up his microphone, turning his voice into basically Chip n Dales. Well, if it isn’t the last gig!

“Flight of the Sapphire Dragon” was next on the list, before it was time for the second biggest surprise of the evening. “Gates of Glory” was the next song on the list – and you know… I went to this gig, for many reasons, but one of them being that I had this feeling – that it simply is not possible of these two bands doing a tour together with Jocke going on stage for at least one show. And I was absolutely right.

Before the second chorus, a very very familiar guy walked on stage, and by that, I got to witness “Gates of Glory” exactly as it was recorded.

Next on the list, and also the final song of the evening, was no less than “The Power of the Ancient Force”, also featuring a Sabaton member – Tommy Johansson, who showed us what his voice is really made of.

With that, the band said good night for one final time this tour, and left the stage.

ACCEPT

Next up, again for the last time was Accept. As I told you in my previous writing, I had grown rather fond of Accept over these past weeks. It’s weird sometimes how things can change. They opened the show heavily with “Stampede”, followed by “Stalingrad”. This was an Accept crowd. The pressure at the front started coming in already, and the whole audience just seemed more engaged. “Restless and Wild” was next, quickly followed by “London Leatherboys”. The band was energetic – really as they have been on all the shows this tour, but it was something special about tonight.

“Final Journey” was next, followed by “Princess of the Dawn”. “Fast as a Shark” attracted a big sing a long as per usual, lately followed by my personal favorite “Metal Heart”. “Teutonic Terror” and “Balls to the Wall” wrapped up the set before it was time for also this band to say their final good byes and leave the stage.

And then.. it was just Sabaton.

Sabaton

As soon as “In The Army Now” the whole arena started to boil. And when “The March To War” started I couldn’t help but feel mixed emotions of sadness, longing and excitement. This is the last time for this time that I’m seeing this. It was hard to comprehend, but before I even could think about it twice, “Ghost Division” started.

And the whole arena basically exploded. Like, insanely. Out of all the gigs I’ve gone to, this audience was the most intense one.

“Sparta” was next on the list, and I will really truly never get over how cool this is live. Even with the Spartans playing around in… quite inappropriate ways behind Jocke’s back. Haha. So it begins.

“Blood of Bannockburn” followed suite, and then, the ever so annoying (yes I said it) “Swedish Pagans”. It’s really such a shame with this song – it’s not a bad song at all, but it’s been destroyed by, well, people. But again, how much can I complain when it’s followed by probably the most awesome moment of the night, that is “The Last Stand”? Not at all. Such an energy releaser.

“Carolus Rex” was next on the list, and Jocke comes out in his Carolean jacket turned inside out. Well… You know. It’s not only the end of the tour, it’s also April’s Fools, like, two flies in one hit if you like. “Gott Mit Uns” with Chris doing the first verse on Spoken nordic accent followed suite before “The Lost Battalion” echoed out in the venue.

“Lejonet Från Norden” was next on the list – and again – this song is quite the energy releaser. Like… some songs, you know? The ever so beautiful moment in “The Final Solution” was next on the list, followed by “Resist and Bite”, “Night Witches” and later wrapped up with “Winged Hussars”.

They left the stage, started the little video and returned to “Primo Victoria”. Again, the venue, the arena oh my god. And then.. “Shiroyama”.

You know, what sucks about this tight crowd is that it didn’t give you any room whatsoever to jump. This is because the lady standing next to me for some reason felt the need to stand still the entire show, fucking things up for the rest of us. WHY. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT. Fucking hell.

Also, it was quite pleasant to see a hoard of elves invade the stage with samurai swords toward the end of the song. I figured they had to pull some sort of prank! HahahHahaha, I loved it.

“En Livstid i Krig” was next on the list, before they wrapped the entire set up with “To Hell and Back”, for the very last time for this time.

They gathered on the stage for one last picture, and for one last time, we see Pär wave the flag high up, and for one last time we say good bye to the heroes.

Seriously, this show was soo good, but I cannot deny the empty feeling it left afterwards. A kind crewmember of Sabaton spared me a setlist, which is my first one in ages! Thank you so much, you are precious! But it was weird.

Weird walking home in the dark, cold and snowy Lule night, after the finale of what has been almost like my life the past two-three weeks. The emptiness of knowing that this was the final time. No more chances (at least not for this particular package), no more gigs, this was the end. These past couple of gigs shared has been some of the most precious in my life, and I can easily say that I love Sabaton – to hell and back.

// Sara

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