Arriving at Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas we had the feeling we were in for something special - the crowd outside in line was huge, and wound through the outdoor shopping area as far as the eye could see, with fans lined up well over an hour before doors were set to open. The venue was packed from the stage all the way to the back wall before the show began, with the upper balcony standing room only. The buzz was building as the 8 o’clock start time approached. The house lights went down leaving only blue lights with moving white spotlights and a loud roar came from the crowd as EPICA to took the stage.
The band members came out one by one
and took their positions, and launched into the opening number, “Abyss of Time - Countdown to Singularity” with the red haired Simone Simons lastv on the stage and taking the center stage. Seeing this band live is like watching a rock opera, with the operatic vocals of Simone
and the symphonic sounds of the band, which makes for a surprisingly good combination. Simone is a one of a kind singer who joined Epica when she was only 17 years old. The band consists of Mark Jansen - rhythm guitar and co-lead vocals, Coen Janssen - keyboards, synthesizers, Arien van Weesenbeek -drums, Isaac Delahaye - lead guitar and Rob van der Loo - bass.
The band played one hour and their set included songs such as "Sensorium", "Unchain Utopia", "Sancta Terra" and closed with the epic "Consign to Oblivion". By far one of the best symphonic metal bands I have seen. I really loved this band and hope to see them once again when they make their way back to Vegas, hopefully headlining their own tour. For more on EPICA visit https://www.epica.nl/home
Alpha – Anteludium
Abyss of Time – Countdown to Singularity
Victims of Contingency
Cry for the Moon
Code of Life
Beyond the Matrix
Consign to Oblivion
EPICA Photos: Harold Mountain/@JustAFAnPhotos
Next was SABATON who were playing Vegas for the first time as the headliner. Sabaton had a barbed wire fence across the front of the stage that also included mic
stands with army helmets resting on top of rifles. The drummer was situated up high atop a military assault vehicle with a pile of sandbags piled up on each side of it - this was a set that looked like they were going to war. The show opened up with an old video paying tribute to the WWI US soldiers and their sacrifice for freedom.
The band, consisting of Joakim Brodem lead vocals, Par Sundstrom - bass, Chris Rorland - Guitars, Hannes Van Dahl - drums and Tommy Johansson - guitars. hit the stage and launched into "Ghost Division", a song about waging war with conviction.
Sabaton's entire set is composed of songs about different eras of war. With songs like "Stormtroopers", "The Red Baron" and "The Last Stand", this was a lesson in strife and conflict throughout history. During "The Attack of the Dead Men", the band wore gas masks. I believe it was during the song "Soldier of Heaven" when the band's sound went out, and after a few minutes they walked off the
stage leaving only the drummer Hannes Van Dahl who tried to fill the time while talking with the crowd. “Did you know we are playing on sacred ground? You guys have Five Finger Death Punch, Jenna Jamison and the Eiffel Tower” which elicited laughs from the crowd. Soon after the sound came back, and the band continued with the show.
SABATON took advantage of being the headliner and performed 18 songs,and the fans loved it - singin along with each and everyone of them. The band closed out their regular set with "Christmas Truce" before exiting the stage for a quick break, then returning for the encore, where they performed "Primo Victoria", "Swedish Pagans" and then closed out with "To Hell and Back" with included guitarist Tommy Johansson playing his version of AC/DC’s "Highway to Hell", to the amusement of singer Joakim Brodem. Solid show by a band Vegas really loves., and a big thanks to Brooklyn Bowl for hosting these kinds of shows. For more on SABATON visit https://www.sabaton.net
The Red Baron
The Attack of the Dead Men
Soldier of Heaven
Gott Mit Uns
The Last Stand
Highway to Hell (Tommy Johansson) (AC/DC cover)
To Hell and Back
SABATON Photos: Harold Mountain/@JustAFAnPhotos