Fans warmed up their vocal chords on Monday April 14, preparing for a trio of bands that you simply have to sing every god damn song along to. Revamp opened up the night with the amazing Floor Jansen pumping up the crowd. To understand why I am going to rant about how amazing she is, you should know that I’ve been a pretty big fan of Jansen’s former band After Forever for over a decade. Even objectively, Revamp did an amazing job at gearing up the crowd. Their sound was on key with Jansen hitting every high note and switching between heavy and operatic vocals without a blink. Jansen let out a growl at the end of their second track and I’m pretty sure I got a lady hard on. The Revamp boys were up front and demanding a response from their crowd, jumping on the amps and looking like they were having a blast. Guitarists Arjan and Jord as well as bassist Henk were a headbanging fury to behold, inspiring the crowd to kick up the energy a notch. To say the least, Jansen lived up to my every expectation and performed better than I could have ever wanted.
Sabaton quite literally stormed the stage next opening up with “The March of War,” breaking out all sorts of hell on stage. You can’t watch Sabaton perform and not be inspired to wreak havoc in a pit, headbang or at least move to the fucking beat! The Sabaton dudes are ever active as they are whipping hair, guitars, and arms around to the beat of their tunes and striking dramatic poses to the cheers of the crowd. It’s all jokes and good times with these dudes. They’re quite a site to see with their matching army pants and vocalist Joakim Brodén sporting his aviators and bullet proof vest, punching his leg to the beat of the drums and flipping his mic in the air. Brodén jokingly congratulates us on our Hockey victories in the Olympics by stating that he hated us, only making the crowd cheer him on louder. These guys must die after each show with the amount of energy they expend on their set, closing the night of with a high energy anthem “Metal Crue.”
Iced Earth took the stage next, opening up with “Plagues of Babylon” from their new album. Stu Block does a very impressive job of performing Iced Earth’s older songs to the point where I could have sworn that ex-vocalist Matt Barlow was performing. Much to the disappointment of fans, Iced Earth stuck to a lot of newer material especially for the first part of their set. It’s completely understandable as they have to promote their new album, but I heard many fans grumble in disappointment. Nonetheless when they did get to an Iced Earth anthem, mayhem erupted. “The Hunter” from the Dark Saga and “Burning Times” from Something Wicked This Way Comes were played one after another, satiating that craving we all had and stirring up the pit.
“Blessed Are You,” “Vengeance is Mine,” and “A Question of Heaven” shortly followed, pleasing fans so much that the band was even treated to a topless metalette on the shoulders of someone who was hopefully not her significant other. Stu Block seemed to enjoy the view at least and the security guards made no move to intervene. Jon Schaffer is always a pleasure to see live and delivers a stellar performance, but it pains me to see him have to stand stoically still as he performs due to his neck injuries. Iced Earth came back for an encore of “Dystopia” and the absolute must have “Watching Over Me” with the entire Phoenix Theatre pouring their hearts out as they sang along. Closing up the night with the fast paced “Iced Earth,” Iced Earth left fans grinning ear to ear and savouring those last two tracks.