Sabaton is Faster and Harder: special 20th anniversary show at Wacken 2019

Photo: Athanasios Kouklas / Festileaks

Yesterday evening, Sabaton played an extraordinary show at Wacken 2019. There were many reasons to celebrate: it was the 30th anniversary of the festival and also the 20th anniversary of the band. This was a call for a special show and Sabaton did go Faster and Harder for that!

Playing on two main stages

Yes, you read it right! Sabaton did play on the two main stages – Faster and Harder – at the same time! However, it was not just the performance on two stages that made this show unique and unforgettable, but also the guest appearances! Let’s take a look at how the show developed from beginning to end!

Sabaton Setlist Wacken Open Air 2019 2019, The Great Tour

Starting Faster

Photo: Wacken Press Portal

Sabaton’s 20th anniversary concert started on the first main stage, Faster. From the first song – till the end of the concert – there were endless waves of bodysurfers. The Wacken crowd responded really well to the energetic beginning of the show and even vocalist Joakim Brodén noted: “Sorry for my language, but what a fucking welcome!”

The first surprise of the special anniversary show was former guitarist Thobbe Englund joining for ‘Fields of Verdun’ and ‘Shiroyama’. After that, Joakim asked him if he wanted to stay for one more song. However, Thobbe left because apparently there “are plenty of beers backstage”. At every Sabaton song in Germany, the chant is “noch ein bier” (one more beer) and of course, how can you say no to your crowd? After Thobbe left, the chant was on, and Joakim dashed down his first beer on stage.

Getting Harder

Photo: Athanasios Kouklas / Festileaks

After playing Carolus Rex, Joakim started to talk again. We learned that the very first Sabaton show at Wacken was 11 years ago, in 2008. He continued that for the double anniversaries, they should do something special. He admitted that it was a bit problematic, but they found a solution! As soon as he said that, bass guitarist Pär Sundström appeared on the second main stage, Harder, all by himself !

Photo: Wacken Press Portal

Pär took over from Joakim and started to reflect a bit on the past. He recalled that many times, plenty of people questioned whether Sabaton was ever going to play at Wacken. These people said he should give up his dreams about playing at the legendary metal festival. The bassist continued, saying that they all laughed at him, but here they are now, playing on two main stages of Wacken at the same time and his dream came true.

However, according to Pär, it was not only him who dreamed about playing at Wacken. He had this dream with his childhood friends and then former Sabaton members all appeared on Harder next to him! They all started to play ‘40:1’, with the following double stage setup. Current Sabaton members and Joakim stayed on Faster. On Harder it was Pär, Rikard Sundén (guitars), Daniel Myhr (keyboard), Daniel Mullback (drums) and Thobbe Englund (guitars).

Final surprises

One would believe that no other surprises can happen, especially during the encore. After playing ‘Primo Victoria’, world-famous cellist Tina Guo joined Sabaton! Even Joakim noted it’s great to find out that such an internationally recognized artist, who even worked with Hans Zimmer before, is a metalhead! He let Tina choose the next song, then she started playing the melody of ‘Swedish Pagans’ on her electric cello.

Furthermore, it turned out that this concert was also the first Wacken show of their guitarist Tommy Johansson. Joakim gave him his last ‘“noch ein bier”, which Tommy finished in 2 seconds!

At the end of the show, they all said goodbye to fans on both stages, as well as throwing guitar picks and drum sticks into the crowd from both Faster and Harder.

How did you enjoy Wacken 2019?

Were you at Wacken 2019 too? We would like to know how you experienced the festival. Below, you can rate the festival in seven different categories. In September, we conclude which festivals were the best during the Festileaks Festival Awards. Participation is voluntary and anonymous.

[awards poll=”festileaks-festival-awards-2019″ festival=”wacken-open-air”]


Sabaton are a well-known power metal band within the metal community and what makes them special is that their main lyrical themes are inspired by history: wars, battles and heroes to remember. Being active since 1999, they have released eight studio albums, while their latest album The Last Stand came out in 2016. Moreover, Sabaton have been nominated as Best Live Band at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2018. Besides having performed at many festivals around the world, the band even have their own festival. Sabaton Open Air takes place every year during summer in their hometown.

Wacken Open Air 2019

Wacken Open Air

Wacken Open Air is one of the major metal festivals in Europe. It takes place in the village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Wacken first started as a small festival in 1990, but its popularity over the years increased so much that it is now considered the biggest metal festival in the world. It attracts around 80,000 metalheads every year and is always sold out. In 2019, Wacken is headlined by Sabaton, Slayer and more.

For more information, visit our festival page or the official website.

Over de auteur ✍️

András Melles

I am a concert and festival enthusiast from Hungary, living in the United Kingdom studying History and International Relations. I've been to various festivals in Europe, and my optimal number of festivals I need to visit a year is 3, but we all know that the more the merrier! My favourite genres are rock and metal, but I am open to all different kinds of music. Favourite bands? Name the sub-genre and I tell you my choice! ;)

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