Sabaton/Epica - Hollywood, CA - 9/23/22
Swedish power metal band Sabaton and Dutch symphonic metal band Epica announced The Tour to End All Tours for their North American fans. Neither band had toured North America since before Covid hit so this tour was to make up for lost time. Both bands had fresh music in their catalog and were more than eager to return to their North American fans. To no surprise, a lot of the tour dates had sold out or were close to selling out before the tour had even started. The stop on this tour was the legendary Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California. Even before doors opened, a huge line had formed outside the venue that went around the block, so everyone was ecstatic to go inside. As Epica prepared to go on stage, the venue had been packed to where you'd think it was sold out.
The lights went out and the packed venue erupted with excitement as the intro track Alpha - Anteludium played over the speakers. As the intro was ending, the members of Epica made their way to the stage and the audience cheered once more. Epica started their show with Abyss of Time - Countdown to Singularity from their newest album Omega which was released in 2021. The band is led by singer Simone Simons who sang gracefully using her classical (operatic) vocals in a mezzo-soprano range. Her voice was joined by the growls of guitarist/founding member Mark Jansen whose growling vocals gave their music that metal flare. Epica performed everything from the hits to songs from the newest album. Some of those songs were Cry for the Moon, Unchain Utopia, Sensorium and Code of Life. No matter which song they played, fans could be seen singing along and raising their horns. Nearing the end of their sadly short set, Epica played Beyond the Matrix. It's one of their most fun songs played live as the fans always jump to the beginning of the song. The ending song was Consign to Oblivion and is always a banger to finish their set with because Simons always demands a wall-of-death at the beginning of the song to which it turns into a mosh pit for the remainder of the song. Epica bowed to their fans while they cheered and left the stage to make way for the headlining band of the night.
The lights went out again and the now fully packed venue roared with excitement once again as a screen in the back showed a memorial for the events surrounding World War 1 was shown. After that, the members of Sabaton came out and started the show with their usual opening song, Ghost Division. A powerful start to their show that drove fans wild and had them start moshing. One thing to note from their stage setup is how their drum kit is literally sitting on top of a tank with two gatling guns! Sabaton's songs all deal with historical wars and battles. More battle-driven songs performed were Carolus Rex, Gott mitt uns ("God with Us"), Night Witches and Swedish Pagans. Several songs from their new album The War to End All Wars were also played. One of the highlights of the show is when vocalist Joakim Brodén points out a young fan in the audience. This time, it was an 8-year-old child who had been braving the front row at the barricade the whole show. As a reward for his bravery, Brodén awarded the child his glasses that he had been wearing the whole show. Now nearing for the end of the show, fans heard the familiar sound of a flute and knew what was coming next. The final song of the night would be To Hell and Back. This was the last chance that fans had to rock out and mosh their lives away. The show sadly came to an end, but fans were extremely happy to have another chance to see Sabaton and Epica again after being absent from the USA for a few years. Fans left with nothing but smiles and memories from this amazing tour and hopefully both bands come back again real soon.
Photos and review by Misael Ruiz