THERE are times when the hallowed turf that is the beer-soaked floor of many a venue comes close to an almost existential experience; when the roar of the crowd, and the passion of the audience raises the temperature of even an impartial observer rises to almost unbearable levels.
When Sabaton, Korpiklaani and Tyr appeared in Belfast a significant number of the audience had been recovering from a hangover from Saxon the night before in the same venue [Limelight1] - nevertheless it was a triumphant night for the trio of acts.
There was no doubt that many were there solely for Sabaton, egged on by the excitement of seeing Sabaton's tour bus emblazoned by the 'Heroes' artwork.
It is a significant tribute to Tyr that they attracted a sizeable early audience, and by the powers of Odin they rose to the occasion. Evolutionary songs rose from the mythos of Nordic legends.
From 'Blood of My Heroes' they engaged everyone, with the heavy melodies of the likes of 'Mare of My Night' and 'Sinklars' showcasing Tyr's ability to take the template and raise it to new levels; the Faroese five-piece producing a fantastic set.
On the flip side the promise of a party Korpiklaani fell flat. Their anthems and rousing drinking chants seemed ailing; the audience seemingly exhausted after Tyr's set.
But there was significant time to recover....
In fact a screw-up with their sound kit meant a lengthy delay before Sabaton took to the stage...which ironically saw a lot of Tyr t-shirts sold
But then again Sabaton can be a force of nature...
Drawing on both older material and newer songs such as the '7734' come across as old friends...
And, what Sabaton provide is a show - music and stagecraft in synergy, from the moment that the strains of 'The Final Countdown' and 'March to War' herald their arrival Joakim and his troubadours of terror raise the temperature in the Limelight.
Despite the liveried tour bus and lorry, the serious attire, the well-researched lyrics and on-stage professionalism, Sabaton are determined - throughout the tour, not just in Belfast - to provide a little fun for all.
For every historical ode such as 'Carolus Rex' or 'Soldier of Three Armies' the band equally toss a bucket of fun as the evening progresses: from a quick burst of 'YMCA' through to a medley of snippets from 'Smoke On the Water' and 'Master of Puppets'.
What oozes from Sabaton is the sheer class of the band on stage. Like Tyr they rise above the mundane tour schedules that see the same songs performed by them on each night to perform, not like marionettes, but like the 'Heroes' that they celebrate on this tour.