It was at Moe's South, which is a BBQ place and bowling alley. Oh, and there's a stage way at the back of a long narrow bar space. So it's not an especially great venue. (I'm thinking that maybe everything else was already booked.) But the show was EXCELLENT.
I got there early (more on that later), so I was able to get way up near the front. About 5 feet / three people from the edge of the stage. Which is why I like seeing medium-popular acts in small venues so much. Of course, once things filled up, there was really no chance of leaving and having a hope of getting back to the same spot, so I was glad that I, um. Brought a book. ("Good book?" asked a guy near me, with a little bit of eyebrow, as we were waiting for the openers to clear the stage. "It's alright," I replied. "Better than staring off into space bored." Which he seemed to regard as a reasonable answer.)
The opening act was a local Denver power metal band named Vacant Throne. They wore facepaint and what I would describe as larping gear and the lead singer had a sword and they played a song titled "Arthur, King of
So then we had half an hour of teardown and set up, because it was a tiny TINY stage, way too small to have more than one set of instruments on it. And then the lights went down and they played The Final Countdown, by Europe, because that's what this band likes to do. And all these metalheads sang along in this sort of "yeah, it's cheesy, but so what" way, which I love. And then we got to see the band we all came to see!
We got a great setlist. I'm not sure if it was because this was the last show of the North American tour, or whether they've been doing this all along, but it was long and had new stuff and old stuff and lots of favorites and several times they let the audience pick whether we wanted Song A or Song B. And when one of the picks was pretty much even? They played both.
Here's the setlist. I think I've got all the songs, though I'm sure my ordering is off in a couple spots:
Into the Fire
Poltava (unless it was Talvisota? But I think it was Poltava.)
Lion from the North
White Death (audience pick)
Cliffs of Gallipoli
Caroleans Prayer (in Swedish!)
Midway (boys' pick)
Attero Dominatus *and* Primo Victoria (girls' pick)
The Art of War
Metal Crüe (which is a pretty excellent closer)
And the band clearly had a blast, which is I think why I keep going to these shows. They just, like, radiate joy while they're playing. I mean, aggressive joy, sure, but they're very obviously having a really good time while everyone in the audience is screaming along and pumping their fists in the air, is what I'm saying. It's loud and it's rough but it's also lots of fun.
Oh, and there was a kid there with his dad, and at the end, when they were throwing drumsticks and guitar picks into the crowd, the lead singer made a point of having him come up to the front so he could get a wristband, and all the black-clad headbangers cheered and clapped, and it was lovely.