It was a great night of metal at the Best Buy Theater. The Iced Earth Worldwide Plagues tour made a stop in NYC to promote their latest album, Plagues of Babylon. This is their second release with new vocalist Stu Block.
The night started off with the Dutch band, ReVamp, fronted by vocalist Floor Jansen. Prior to their performance and hours before the venue opened its doors, there were already massive crowds of fans lined up waiting to get inside. As I walked by, there was plenty of excitement about ReVamp. There were those (myself included) whom had seen Floor Jansen live with her old band, After Forever, and those that had not but were eager to see their favorite singer perform.
ReVamp delivered 30 minutes of melodic heavy metal, from their two albums (ReVamp and Wildcard). One of the highlights of the performance was Floor unleashing death metal growling during the first song of the set, Wildcard, the title track of their current album. Despite her vocals being too low in the mix and the sound up front being a little muddy Floor’s operatic vocals soared effortlessly over the music. The clarity of the sound improved as the show went on.
The band was very well received by the crowd. At one point during the set, Floor pulled out a mini video camera and filmed herself and the crowd for a tour dairy. For the past few years Floor Jansen has been doing double duty as the new vocalist of symphonic metal band, Nightwish, and with her own band. During the show, she announced that she will be back next year with Nightwish and ReVamp.
ReVamp Set List:
Head Up High
The Anatomy of Nervous Breakdown: On the Sideline
The Anatomy of Nervous Breakdown: The Limbic System
In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part : Disdain
Wolf and Dog
The next up were Swedish power metalers Sabaton, who are well-known for incorporating historical battle lyrical themes into their music. I was really curious what their performance would be like, as I missed them live the last time they came to New York in 2012. I was not disappointed!
The band took the stage to a solid chant from the crowd. They burst on the stage with such energy reminiscent of Iron Maiden. Their war themed power metal sound with bombastic gang vocals on the choruses won over the crowd instantly. Joakim Broden, the frontman of the group, was all smiles on stage cracking jokes in between songs. At one point during their performance, he poked fun at their camo pants saying, “you must have us confused with some other band. Sabaton has left the building we are the Village People.” Right after that, Sabaton got a packed house full of metal heads singing a long to YMCA.
They do not take themselves seriously and their enthusiasm is contagious. This band has a great connection with their audience. People sang a long to every chorus, and responded to every request of interaction from the band. Sabaton has performed all over the world for large audiences. They are true entertainers, their performance felt as though we were treated to a large-scale festival performance. They brought the same level of energy and intensity to Best Buy Theater just as they did to the Woodstock Festival in Poland (from their DVD : Swedish Empire Live).
The highlights of the night included fan favorites such as Primo Victoria, Carolous Rex, and my personal favorite, Art of War! Hopefully, the next time Sabaton comes back to New York will be for their own headlining tour.
Sabaton Set List:
Intro ( March to War)
Gott Mit Uns
To Hell and Back
The Art of War
And then came the main event: Iced Earth! How does a headliner follow such a rousing opening act? One would assume that they would perhaps have their hands full. This was definitely NOT the case at Best Buy Theater. Iced Earth took to the stage to perform to a crowd at near capacity. No one was sitting and many fans tried to make their way towards the floor area to get a closer view. A roar of excitement broke out minutes before the band went on stage, with every person in the audience screaming the band’s name with their hearts out. The chanting multiplied when the lights got brighter and the band took the stage.
Opening with the tittle track of their new album, and following with the thrash masterpiece Democide, Iced Earth grabbed the audience by its throat rarely loosened its grip. Even when they played ballads such as the classic and very moving Watching Over Me, and brand new If I could See You, they performed with such an emotion that it was able to rival the really heavy stuff.
One of the great things Iced Earth does is to rotate their classic songs into their set list from tour to tour, so it feels like each year brings an entirely new show. V and Dystopia (from the album of the same name) have already found a place among the bands classic material. Other gems from the set list included : A Question of Heaven, Red Baron/Blue Max (from the under appreciated Glorious Burden album) and Blessed Are You, as well as classics like Burning Times, Vengeance Is Mine, The Hunter, and My Own Saviour! They closed their set with the popular fan favorite the eponymous oldie Iced Earth. The crowd ate it up completely and wouldn’t have minded if Iced Earth continued for another hour of music.
The World Wide Plagues Tour continues to a city near you.
Check out our reviews and concert photography of other stops on this tour:
Iced Earth at St. Andrewâ€™s Hall in Detroit, MI on 12-Apr-2014
Iced Earth at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, MI on 04-Apr-2014
And our review of their latest album:
Album Review: Iced Earth â€“ Plagues of Babylon
And an interview with Iced Earth frontman, Stu Block:
Iced Earth frontman Stu Block talks upcoming release ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ with NRR â€“ 12-Dec-2013″
Iced Earth is:
Jon Schaffer â€“ Rhythm and Lead Guitar, Vocals
Stu Block â€“ Lead Vocals
Troy Seele â€“ Lead Guitar
Luke Appleton – Bass Guitar
Hannes Van Dahl â€“ Drums
Joakim BrodÃ©n â€“ Lead Vocals
PÃ¤r SundstrÃ¶m â€“ Bass
Thobbe Englund â€“ Lead Guitar
Chris RÃ¶rland â€“ Lead Guitar
Floor Jansen â€“ Lead Vocals
Arjan Rijnen â€“ Guitar
Jord Otto â€“ Guitar
Henk Vonk – Bass
Ruben Wijga – Keyboard
Matthias Landes – Drums