Sabaton and Epica must have wanted to close their tour in a big way. And what bigger way is there to do so than playing to a packed venue in New York City? The two groups ended "The Tour to End All Tours" on October 23rd at Hammerstein Ballroom. The venue was indeed packed, and large mosh pits opened and closed throughout the night to match the energy being put out from the stage.
Epica celebrated the close of this tour celebrating 20 years together this year with all of the power and control you would expect from a symphonic metal performance. Lead vocalist Simone Simons juggled vocal control, power, and emotion seamlessly throughout her performance. The rest of the band also had a lot of power and energy in their performances. What stuck out, though, was how much fun keyboardist Coen Janssen had throughout the set. He constantly wore a grin and rocked out with his other bandmates to share that happiness with the crowd.
This was our first time catching Epica, and we would gladly do so again. The music is elegantly composed with an edge and caters well to just about any listener in the crowd, casual or long-time fan.
Sabaton headlined the evening, and to say everyone in the audience was stoked is a large understatement. The stage setup felt larger than life with the large drum tank and barbed wire all along the front of the stage. It felt like the military aesthetic of the stage added a storytelling element to accompany the historical content of their songs lyrically.
The crowd constantly rang out with voices singing along to every song. Moshers in the crowd gathered together in some of the largest pits of the evening. (Some of them even sat in the middle of a pit and rowed during the band's song "Bismarck", which was quite cool and amusing to watch.) Joakim Brodén's vocal performance was extremely on point (like you were listening to an album), and the rest of the group matched that intensity extremely well. Even for someone not familiar with a lot of Sabaton's discography, it was an enjoyable set to experience.