Sabaton + BABYMETAL + Lordi – OVO Arena, Wembley on 15th April 2023


It’s hard not to like Eurovision winners Lordi. With their outrageous monster costumes, they’re a feast for the eyes and ears, and while crowds can often be blasé about support acts, such is their reputation that there’s a sizeable audience come to worship at their twisted alter. Dressed like fossilised mutants from deep underground, they immediately make an impactful impression, and it would be easy for the cynical to dismiss them as a novelty act, were it not for their deep and wide discography. Tonight, they pull all their tricks out the bag with a set that stops at all points along their lengthy career, and it doesn’t take long for the faithful to sing along and punch the air in unison. Much of Lordi’s appeal comes from the sound of Hella’s organ which hangs ethereally in the air, but the whole band are on fire, and especially drummer Mana who attacks his kit like an animal. As openers, Lordi can’t rely so much on their usual pyrotechnic-fuelled stage show, but this has the unexpected bonus of bringing their songs to the fore, and when songs are this good, that’s exactly where they should be.

Bringing a touch of epic fandom to London, BABYMETAL are a band who inspire an unrivalled loyalty amongst their followers, and those here to see their heroes are crammed in tightly at the front of the stage. A tangible tension builds as we await the band, and reaches almost unbearable levels, and it isn’t eased by the elongated intro tape which only heightens the air of expectation. When the band finally appear they are greeted with a deafening cheer, and the blood red light in which they are bathed sets a rather ominous tone. It seems that ‘BABYMETAL DEATH’ is the perfect set opener and, as the crowd chant the individual letters, the band slowly become more animated, and after initially standing statuesque, they burst into life and explode like a ball of joy that sprays shards of effervescence in every direction. The dance moves BABYMETAL perform are totally infectious, and when ‘PA PA YA!!’ is unleashed, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of moshing along with the eruption of a circle pit, and the whole crowd sway and ululate like some strange life form. BABYMETAL only have a small section of stage on which to perform, but they make every inch count, and ensure that the whole arena is included in the party. Becoming far heavier in the live environment, BABYMETAL have satisfied their fans, and have won many more.

For the entire evening Sabaton’s stage set has been under wraps, with only the faux barbed wire at the front giving a tantalising glimpse of what is in store. As the intro tape fades into the ether, the ear-splitting canon fire that heralds Sabaton’s arrival takes many by surprise, as does the stage set, the centrepiece of which is a huge tank that also serves as the drum riser. It’s an impressive sight that’s heightened by opening track ‘Ghost Division’ (from 2008 album The Art Of War) and it sets a dangerous precedent for the next 90 minutes. When ‘Bismark’ sails into view the stage is licked by flames, and as the smoke settles it begins to resemble a World War One battlefield. As you’d expect from a band approaching their 25th anniversary, Sabaton are a well-oiled machine and the precision with which they play gives tracks such as ‘Into The Fire’ and ‘Winged Hussars’ added punch. Both Lordi and BABYMETAL are difficult acts to follow, but having such act supporting has given Sabaton added gumption, and they’ve really upped their game and deliver a heart and show-stopping performance that’s full of fan favourites and deep cuts.

Nearly every song played has a costume change or a stage prop to enhance the show, thus a Fokker Dr.I. makes an appearance during ‘The Red Baron’, the band don gas masks during ‘Attack Of The Dead Man’, whilst fake snow falls during a poignant ‘Christmas Truce’. With their focus on war and military themes, some might argue that Sabaton are glorifying conflict, but these heartfelt performances prove the opposite and illustrate the human cost of war. But, as subject matter for a band such as Sabaton, its perfect fodder, and they provide the perfect soundtrack to one thousand battles. Three well deserved encores follow including ‘Swedish Pagans’, on which every voice sings along, while a rebel rousing ‘To Hell And Back’ brings down the curtain in style.

It’s heartening to see that Sabaton are still attracting a younger crowd, and for many present tonight this is their first gig, and it’s hard to imagine that this experience will ever be beat.

Sabaton Set List:

  1. Ghost Division
  2. Bismark
  3. The Last Stand
  4. Into The Fire
  5. Carolus Rex
  6. Winged Hussars
  7. Sarajevo
  8. Stormtroopers
  9. 1916
  10. Soldier Of Heaven
  11. Dreadnought
  12. The Red Baron
  13. Father
  14. The Attack Of The Dead Man
  15. Christmas Time


  1. Primo Victoria
  2. Swedish pagans
  3. To Hell And Back


  2. Megitsune
  3. PA PA YA!!
  4. Divine Attack – Shigeki –
  5. Monochrome
  6. Gimme Chocolate!!
  7. Road To Resistance

Lordi Set List:

  1. Bring It On (The Raging Hounds Return)
  2. Dead Again Jane
  3. Would You Love A Monsterman?
  4. Thing In The Cage
  5. Blood Red Sandman
  6. Lucyfer Prime Evil
  7. Devil Is A Loser
  8. Who’s Your Daddy
  9. Hard Rock Hallelujah