Shinedown, 7.31.2018

Also known as Shinedown show number eight.

Shinedown released a new album on May 4, “Attention Attention,” and I’ve been meaning to do a review of it here. Maybe soon. In any case, it is AMAZING. As a result, they announced a tour … and oh hey, they’re coming through Denver again in late July. *buys tickets* *have had tickets since late March*

We also finally decided to bite the damn bullet and purchase VIP/a meet and greet for this tour because
a.) why the hell not; and
b.) we’ve been talking about it FOREVER and if we didn’t do it now, we never would.

Thanks to that, we got in to the venue (Pepsi Center) early … and we probably got to the venue way earlier than we even needed to in the first place. Oh well.

We were ushered into the building, checked off a list, got our tickets scanned … and then herded to the club level to some cordoned off area. From there, we got swag bags* and then all sat around until we got word that the band was coming up. We stood up, essentially forming a circle around the room. The guys came in and split up to sign things, with Brent Smith and Zach Myers going one way around the room, and Barry Kerch and Eric Bass going the other way.

We got Eric and Barry first. From the instagrams, we know they fly Delta all the time, so B has been hoarding Biscoffs (the shortbread cookies DAL is kind of famous for serving) to give to them. All four were happy when they found out, but I think Barry was the happiest. “OMG I love these!” (almost a direct quote) I also wrote thank yous for the Myers, Kerch, and Bass families – as I’m also married to someone who’s gone a good chunk of the time, I wanted to let them know that I appreciate the sacrifice that it takes on their part and that I understand their struggle to some extent. And that we fans thank them for sharing their husbands with us. I think this struck a cord, as both Eric and Barry thanked me on two separate occasions for the gesture.

Brent Smith is an absolute sweetheart. Seriously. That man is freaking adorable. Super nice and I think he was chatting with people to find an excuse to ask for a hug (me: 8th show. B: his Shinedown quote on his RoadID) (yes, we both hugged him). He also said he loves Delta and bragged that he has the most miles out of all of them.

I hope Zach was okay, as he seemed a bit off. He’s mentioned anxiety lately, and I wonder if it was bugging him. Still nice, though, and he flashed his Delta AmEx Platinum card, which cracked both of us up.

After they all made it through, we got to take pictures with the guys. We were considering doing a photo together and then separately (and B did a separate one with just him and “the Other Guys” (that is, Eric and Barry)), but I forgot to ask.

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From L to R: Barry Kerch, Eric Bass, B, me, Zach Myers, Brent Smith. Also don’t let the angles fool you; none of them is taller than us.

Post-photos, we were let free to get early access to merch. In the line, we heard that they were letting all of us early access people on to the floor, so we split up – B went to run down to get us a spot on the rail. I didn’t see anything (originally) at the merch table, so I went to the bathroom and then in search of a little bit of food. Nothing looked good (whyyyyyy has your food gone so downhill, Pepsi Center? It used to be so good 20 years ago … back in high school … holy crap I’m old), so I just got us a pretzel to split and some water.

I go down to join B … and hear they’re selling show-specific guitar pick packs. Eff. So I dump my stuff and run back up … and even though the packs were super limited, I think I was able to snag one. And the last one, I’m pretty sure. If you recall my post from our last Shinedown show, I was able to catch each of the show-specific picks from that show and I really wanted the ones from that night. As catching picks is NEVER a guarantee … $20 well spent.

After standing around a long time, the opening act, Like a Storm, took the stage. They’re a hard rock band out of New Zealand, and were actually pretty dang awesome. Even though a Kiwi friend of ours joked that they’re going to have their citizenship revoked for playing a didgeridoo during the show.

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Whatever. The didgeridoo was f’ing awesome.

I also managed to snag a pick during the set, so yay for that. I need to look up their stuff on iTunes, and I’m hoping they’re more like Sixx:AM as opposed to Insomnium, in that their studio stuff is equally as good as their live stuff.

Shinedown was amazing as always. Clean, tight show, with very little downtime. The only bit there was happened because Brent hopped down onto the rail to make sure someone was okay (we had a few people pass out during the show – standing outside in the heat for hours prior to doors open with no food or water for several hours is NOT SMART, people).

But right into it, song-by-song. Band was a well-oiled machine.

We got three songs off the new album, including “Get Up” which YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO. RIGHT NOW. GO. Open up the link in a new tab and listen to it while you finish reading. Or listen to it and then come back. BUT LISTEN TO THE SONG. There’s a reason that just a video of a song (without even the actual music video) has damn near three million “views” on YouTube.

It also goes without saying that I cried throughout the whole thing.

We actually didn’t catch any picks this show, but it’s hard to catch them when none come near you. We did get a drumstick, though, but as we already have a BKerch signature stick, we traded it for an Attention Attention guitar pick. No regrets there.

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The one shot I got … and really only got it for the purposes of this post. Still loving actually enjoying shows without worrying about taking photos.

As we had to meet a friend who’s moving off to grad school in a week early the next morning for a hike, we didn’t stay for Godsmack (wouldn’t have been home by 9:30 otherwise! … again, we’re old). If a few of the songs I really liked that they’ve been playing on this tour were early in the set we would have considered hanging out for a bit, but they weren’t, so home it was.

Eight shows, and Shinedown has not failed to move me once. Okay, kind of once, but that’s because they got upstaged. Still, I will gladly see them another eight times, and we will also probably consider another meet and greet, as that was money well spent.

* the swag!

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Towel, drawstring bag, seat cushion thingy, a photo we got signed, hard copy of “Attention Attention” we got signed (gave our other one to someone we befriended in line so she could give something to a friend of hers), lanyard that got signed.

On Sonata Arctica

Oh hey, another post about a metal show!

Like with Nightwish and Within Temptation, I learned about Sonata Arctica from my final college roommate, Amy. We technically had the chance to see Sonata (along with Nightwish) back in March, as they played in the Springs two days after Shinedown, but B had to work and we were both getting quite sick, so thought it prudent we not go.

Eventually we learn that Sonata was coming to town again and I was really kind of thinking I wanted to go, so fortunately, the timing worked out and we hit up their show at the Gothic.

We got up right near the stage as the night of the concert was in either the teens or single digit temperatures, so no one wanted to wait in a long line. We found street parking across from the Gothic so we could wait in our car until either:
A.) the doors opened; or
B.) the line started to get long.

In our case, it was (B), but we didn’t end up having to be out in the cold for long. We also saved our friend Jeremy a spot, as he was meeting us there.

The first act was Omnium Gatherum.

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They were okay. B and I actually were smart for this show and wore earplugs, but as a result, the growls of the lead singer got basically muffled into dinosaur noises, which amused me to no end.

Next up was Leaves’ Eyes.

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First of all, props to them for the proper usage of the possessive apostrophe. This grammar nerd appreciated that a lot. Secondly, we both thought they were good. It was a fun show, with it being audience interactive in that we did some sort of Viking chant/cheer thing and, as you see in the last photo above, the lead male singer came out in costume with a sword! Totally awesome.

Finally, Sonata Arctica. I’m trying to be better about enjoying shows instead of being so concerned about taking pictures, so as a result, I only have one to share from their act.

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Overall, both of us were happy we decided to come to the show. It was obvious that the band has been together for a while and has toured for a while. We hadn’t really heard much of the new album, but I downloaded a few songs off of it the next day due to liking them so much. I also got to hear “Power of One,” which is an older song and doesn’t get played all that much (but is my current favorite by them), so I was super giddy about that.

Also, while in general I think wearing ear plugs was a smart move, I don’t feel like I got as good of an experience wearing them, missing the true feel of the music. I’m unsure on whether I’ll wear them again to a show, or whether I’ll just wear them for the opening acts (as I do really like my hearing …).

All in all, a good time, even though I’m still not the biggest fan of the Gothic for a show.

Shinedown: Take Five

This was *technically* a Five Finger Death Punch headliner show, but since both B and I had to be up early the next morning … we skipped out after Shinedown. That, and I heard from my cousin (the one that tours with Papa Roach) that the guys from 5FDP are douches, so y’know. I trust him.

After the amazingness that was the Colorado Springs show, we weren’t expecting as good of a show, particularly given that it was a bigger venue. But, on the off chance we thought it was awesome because we were so close on the floor, I bought us GA floor seats pretty much as soon as tickets went on sale (in fact, I might have even gotten them through a presale).

It thankfully worked out that B was home for the show, sneaking home during a break in Delta training. I ended up having that day off from work, so we woke up, got in a run, and headed to Pepsi Center ass early (doors were at 5/5:30; we got there … before 2pm, I want to say) so we could storm the stage. Quite a few other people had this same idea, but we probably weren’t any worse than maybe 100 people back.

When we were finally allowed in (getting our floor wristbands), Brandon stampeded the stage while I high-tailed it to a pee room. We had been hiking down to the gas station while we waited for snacks, but the gas station that essentially splits the Pepsi Center parking lot doesn’t have a bathroom. No, it has porta-potties outside it … which were so damn disgusting that I just couldn’t.

While wandering about, I was also tasked with finding us food. Hot dog for Brandon and mediocre chicken fingers for me. I miss when food at Pepsi Center used to be good … back in high school …

Brandon, meanwhile, was able to get us essentially second row on the floor. I somehow fought myself, our food, and two waters (not in bottles; opened in cups) to him, aided slightly by concert buddies Brandon had made. We ate our food and I probably pissed more people off by sneaking back through the masses to throw our trash out and then snaked my way BACK. People probably did not like me for this, but eh.

First band to go on was As Lions. I’m pretty sure this was their first ever tour, which, damn, is awesome for them. They were British, but didn’t have that British rock band sound (see: that Springs post linked above).

In any case, the music wasn’t bad and they were highly entertaining.

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High energy lead singer.

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Set list. The bottom part cracks me up.

Next was Sixx:A.M., which I had heard a little about. They put on an awesome show – you could tell they have a lot of fun on stage, which I, as a fan, love to see.

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Next up, Shinedown. Firstly, before I get into anything, set list:

Adrenaline
Fly From the Inside
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Unity
How Did You Love
Enemies
Call Me
State of My Head
Second Chance
Cut the Cord
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Sound of Madness

Notice song #7 on that list. NOTICE IT. That is probably my all-time favorite Shinedown song that they hardly ever play anymore. But the song went Gold this year after being out in the world for eight years, so maybe that’s why? Or, as I joked to Brandon, “it’s because you yelled “Call Me” and “play Call Me” at the Springs show.” I cried throughout that whole song. And through How Did You Love.

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(I didn’t take as many photos this time because I chose to ENJOY the experience, and it was worth it. I also hopped around and danced like a crazy person, which had the happy side effect of making the guy who had seriously creeped up into my personal space back off lest he be elbowed or stomped on.)

Other highlights:

– caught three guitar picks. Two different, one the same as one from the Springs show, so we gave the duplicate to our concert friends.

– It was Eric Bass’s birthday, so they brought out a cake and we all got to sing to him.

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– The crowd test of Brent Smith hopping into the crowd on the West Coast tour must have worked out well as he did it again at Pepsi.

– During the “Simple Man” section, there was a tiny break and I was close enough to Zach Myers to show him the picture of the Germantown Commissary I put on Instagram (that he liked …), zoomed in on the logo … and he saw it and his eyes lit up in recognition and he mouthed, “Hey! That’s my hometown!” Pretty cool. Also pretty sure he attempted to flick guitar picks our way after that …

When wandering for food, I saw a tee that had “Call Me a Sinner, Call Me a Saint” on the back (clearly from “Call Me”) that I kind of just had to buy. And we got a shirt for Brandon, too.

While not as intimate as the Springs show, the guys are starting to show some better personality on tour which makes it that much more fantastic of a show experience. Sure, they do some generic schticks, but when it comes down to it, they just put on a great show.

And it helps when Smith doesn’t do the volume “you’re right here, I need you up here” thing, because damn is that annoying. Not experiencing that again? GLORIOUS.

Shinedown. They’re the best. Go see them. I’m at five times and will happily grow that number.

(Tour still going on now – see if they’re coming to you!)

On Apocalyptica

In the spirit of catching up, also way back at the end of April, Brandon and I went to a concert … and, once again, a metal show. This time, however, it was a metal show of my choosing.

I discovered Apocalyptica back in college and knew them as the band that covered Metallica with cellos. I then discovered the song “Hope,” which I can still safely say is my favorite song, despite the fact that it’s instrumental. It’s just that amazing.

I saw them live ten years ago, back in September 2005. That show was at the Bluebird. It was small, intimate, sparsely attended … and beautifully powerful. Just four guys with cellos on chairs and simply amazing. I’ve talked about that show to Brandon probably since I’ve known him.

So, when I found out they were back in Denver almost by fluke – thanks Facebook for telling me which friends like the Ogden Theatre and that Apocalyptica is coming to the Ogden! – I told Brandon we had to find a way to go. The day of the show ended up being a super long day – I worked that morning, we got in a workout, we headed down to the Springs to witness a close friend’s civil ceremony (and went out to dinner with them after) … and then drove back up to Denver to the Ogden without even bothering to change.

Apocalyptica’s style has changed slightly over the years. They’ve gone from four cellos down to three and have added some drums and a lot of guest vocalists, but the music is still amazing.

It was a much more crowded show than the first time I saw them, and the nature of the music made it probably one of the most subdued metal shows I’ve been to, but the guys put on a great show (I would argue they’re better showmen now than they were ten years ago) and neither of us regretted the long day.

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Marquee.

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Backdrop with drums.

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Saints and Sinners Ball

Also known as Shinedown round three.

Way back on Halloween, Brandon and I went to go see Shinedown (double-headlining with Breaking Benjamin and alongside Nothingmore) at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. This was my third time seeing Shinedown and second time at 1stBank Center.

Let’s start off with the first two acts.

Nothingmore opened with the theme song to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the band came out in costume … dressed up as the Turtles.

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Their music wasn’t necessarily my style, but they were good performers. Some bands that have been around for years (*cough*Uncle Kracker*cough* don’t have the stage presence that these guys did. Their drum stuff and some of their theatricality (like with this awesome creation:
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reminded Brandon a bit of Blue Man Group.

The night we saw them was their last night on the tour, so they took a giant selfie with the crowd at the end of their set.

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Next up was Breaking Benjamin, who also embraced the day and came out in Star Wars costumes.

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Brandon was really excited to see these guys and they did put on a great show. They threw out candy to the crowd. They grabbed a sign from an audience member (sign was for said member’s significant other serving overseas) and brought it up on stage to sign,
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giving a great shout out to our service men and women before playing “Unknown Soldier.”

Going on with the Star Wars theme, they did a great mash-up of the Imperial March and a few other covers – Schism, Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Walk. Probably my favorite musical moment of the show.

I forget which song they did it for, but they had all the house lights turn off and had all of us light up the arena with our lighters (that is, cell phone flashlights) to show how much light we can bring and it was fairly fantastic to see how much light it was.

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They ended up their set by grabbing a whole bunch of fans from the crowd and bringing them on stage to sing “The Diary of Jane,” and to have a chance to be on stage with their favorite band, which was super, super cool.

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Finally, Shinedown.

First, pictures:

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Opening.

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Barry Kerch with some killer make-up going on.

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So there was this stuffed Eeyore at Brent Smith’s feet and I’m not sure why …

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Zach Myers with some face paint.

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Brent Smith and Zach Myers.

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Near the end of the show.

Thoughts on the show:

The Good:
– Music was fantastic, as always.
– They also threw out candy into the crowd.
– They played “How Did You Love,” probably my favorite song off the new album.

The Not So Good:
– They really didn’t embrace the Halloween theme like the other bands did. Okay, so they tossed out candy, and Zach and Barry had some face paint on, but that’s it. A little disappointing.
– For it being the “Threat to Survival” tour, I expected way more songs from the new album, as opposed to … three. Come on now, guys.
– I’ve seen this band three times … and I’ve essentially seen the same show three times. If the show I’m going to see of theirs in March (hopefully) is basically the same show again … I may not want to go see them anymore because I don’t want to spend my money on the same. exact. show. over and over again.

On the plus side, Brandon was able to get one of Barry’s drumsticks (unfortunately it’s just plain; doesn’t have his name on it like the Papa Roach sticks we have) and I was able to somehow snag a Breaking Benjamin guitar pick at the end of the night. Woo!

Under the Sun Tour

Little known T fact: I was a huge Better Than Ezra fan in my youth. They are arguably my first favorite band and “Good” was my favorite song for years.

Now, I’ve seen most of the bands I’ve considered “favorites” over the years live. Metallica, Apocalyptica (okay, so they just have my favorite song), Shinedown. However, I’ve missed out on BTE.

(I should note that I did have an opportunity in college – they played the Paradise Rock Club and I almost went … but missed it because I was in theory going to hang out with one of the Suffolk hockey players. Stupid men. I regret not going to that show to this day.)

In any case, in randomly looking up summer concerts, I found out they were coming to the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield as part of the Under the Sun tour on July 28. A lot of stuff was going on in our lives but Brandon and I bit the bullet and bought the tickets and went to the show.

The tour – 90s throwback! – consisted of Eve6, Uncle Kracker, Better Than Ezra, and Sugar Ray.

We missed the first part of Eve6’s set thanks to traffic and picking up food.

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They were … okay. I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse.

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Concert selfie!

Next up was Uncle Kracker. First few songs were boring as hell and he was doing nothing to get the crowd into it. Except after the first few songs, and then he yelled at us for sleeping on him – sorry, sir, that’s your fault for SUCKING. They picked it up a little … but if I don’t see them again I won’t be sorry.

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Next up was Better Than Ezra, and they were AWESOME. They opened up with “King of New Orleans” and went straight into “Good” after that. Kevin Griffin said that they weren’t going to wait for anything and went straight after it. I was going to stay in the grass with Brandon … but I couldn’t help myself and ran up to the stage.

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I forget the whole set (and it’s not on Setlist.fm yet), but I do know they played “At the Stars” and explained that they actually wrote the song up outside of Crested Butte, which was really cool for this Colorado girl.

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They also had Michael Jerome on the drums do a really cool set using only cowbells. I love drummers and the cool shit they can do, man.

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They finished up the set with “In the Blood” which, although it opens up “Deluxe,” is a strong finisher, too. To top it all off, I managed to catch a guitar pick. Night? Made.

However, the night wasn’t even over yet. We still had Sugar Ray to go. Brandon had seen them in college and said they put on a great show, and after seeing them, I have to agree. Mark McGrath may be in his late-40s, but he is an entertainer, plain and simple, and he is awesome.

(He also referenced his roles in the “Sharknado” franchise, which made me super happy. If I had had more time, I was considering bringing a stuffed shark to throw on stage.)

Sugar Ray was just plain fun. There were beach balls tossed around, a cover of “Unbelievable” (apparently one of the guitarists (bassists?) wrote it) … it was pretty awesome. We also both headed down to the stage for this show … as did quite a few other fellow concert-goers.

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Nightwish Concert

I was all set to write a post on a different subject and then realized I totally forgot I hadn’t blogged about this concert yet … probably because it got lost in the house shuffle.

Anyway, way back on April 21 (so two months ago), I went to yet another metal show – Nightwish, with Delain and Sabaton. I’ve known of Nightwish since college – my roommate Amy was a big fan (same deal with Within Temptation) – but that was two (or three?) lead singers ago.

The show was at the Ogden Theatre, the only one of the Colfax venues I haven’t been to. Now that I’ve been to all three, I have to say I prefer the Bluebird over all. We also didn’t have the greatest spot at this show so maybe that led to part of my dislike of the Ogden, but eh.

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Marquee.

Delain I believe was already playing when we finally got inside. I remember them being better than Brandon led me to believe, but that could have been an Insomnium thing where they’re better live than in studio.

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Next act was Sabaton, a Swedish metal band who plays songs based off historical events. Obviously I thought they were awesome. Even if I didn’t like their music however (although I did), I would have been a fan thanks to the lead singer. He noticed a young girl up on the balcony – probably about 12-years-old or so – and started talking with her. He learned that it was her first concert (I think; at least first metal show) and for a memory, tossed her his sunglasses.

I believe metal gets a bad rap a lot of the time thanks to the stigma that all metal bands are devil worshippers and whatnot (okay, I get the Ozzy Osborne thing, but if you actually look at some of Black Sabbath’s lyrics … they were anti-war and politically motivated. Go on. Research “War Pigs/Luke’s Wall” and get back to me.), but I have friends who are wonderful people and also huge metal heads (my friend Jeremy, for one) and have met some of the nicest people at metal shows. As a result, I’m super happy for the lead singer for making the gesture toward a young fan, because it proves that stereotypes aren’t always real.

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As for the Nightwish show, it wasn’t nearly as good as Epica or Within Temptation were. It wasn’t bad, per se, but I got hooked on Nightwish during the Tarja days, and Floor, while awesome, just isn’t Tarja. It’s a different sound (which both Brandon and Jeremy like, by the way), but it doesn’t quite do it for me.

Me being so tired I was half-falling asleep during the show probably didn’t help, either …

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Would I see them again? I don’t think I can answer that question. Sabaton was fantastic and writing this post reminds me I need to look and see if their studio stuff is as good as their live stuff. Nightwish … maybe. If it’s not at the Ogden.