Thursday, March 29, 2007

Heaven & Hell, March 18, 2007

Image Hosted by

1971 was the last time Black Sabbath played Winnipeg. Their 1983 show was cancelled due to a conflict with the Shrine Circus. Now, almost three decades from their peak with Ozzy Osbourne, I wondered how many people would show up to see the Dio-era Sabbath, now renamed Heaven & Hell. When Dio recorded two albums with Sabbath, Heaven & Hell (1980) and The Mob Rules (1981), he easily breathed desperately needed life into the floundering metal band, the founding band in metal. Dio left on bitter terms with the band and was often quoted as citing the credits on the 1982 live album, Live Evil, which named him as Ronnie Dio, rather than Ronnie James Dio.

Image Hosted by

A couple of days before the show, I noticed an advertisement which indicated that the floor seats would general admission. For those who had really good seats on the floor, they now would have to show up early to get close to the stage.

Image Hosted by

Opening act Down were terrible and quite forgettable, and had no memorable songs. Still, quite a few people in the audience wore Down t-shirts. Down are essentially a "supergroup" comprised of former members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar and Superjoint Ritual. Their three albums are NOLA (1995), Down II (2001) and Down III (2007.) Singer Phil Anselmo had vocal problems and referred to them throughout the set, but the fans on the floor didn't seem to mind at all. I have read other fan reviews of the show and the Down fans thought Heaven & Hell and Megadeth were dreadfully boring while Down ruled!

Megadeth were surprisingly good. Compared to Down, Dave Mustaine and company sounded like a classic rock group. They had a clearer sound and their songs have the right balance of melody and aggression and for the most part, are memorable. Highlights for me included Wake Up Dead, Symphony of Destruction and Peace Sells. They are about to release their 11th studio album, United Abominations and have sold over 20 million albums over their 25 year career. Joining Dave in the band were Canadians Glen (guitar) and Shawn Drover (drums)and bassist James Lomenzo (White Lion.) If Dave had a $1 for every line-up change in the band's history, he'd be richer than he is already. I was quite impressed with this version of Megadeth and I would go see them again.

Heaven & Hell. There's some great material from the Dio years, but so much of the other songs sound alike, including the new songs. Instead of opening with a new track or an old favorite, they opened with After All(The Dead), the second track from the third Dio Sabbath album, 1992's Dehumanizer. Honestly, the three songs from Dehumanizer, including I and Computer God, are second rate material. The three new tracks, Ear In the Wall, The Devil Cried, and Shadow of the Wind, also failed to get the crowd going. ost bands play more than one song in their encores, but these guys only offered up Neon Knight.

I was hoping that guitarist Tony Iommi would say something, but the only one who addressed the crowd was the man with the mike, the diminutive Dio. I was a bit surprised by how close to the studio album was Geezer Butler's bass guitar. Butler and Iommi didn't move around the stage, leaving Dio as the focal point. Vinnie Appice is a well-known drummer, however, I was really disappointed with his drum solo. It was one of the most boring, unimaginative solos that I've ever seen.

The most effective songs for me were the rousing Mob Rules, Children of the Sea, Lady Evil, Sign of the Southern Cross, Die Young, Heaven & Hell and Neon Knights. They are on tour in support of the new compilation album, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years and played everything from that album save for Lonely Is The Word, Turn Up The Night, Falling Off The Edge Of The World and TV Crimes. The show would have been better if they played a longer encore, left out some of the weaker songs in favour of Country Girl, Falling Off The Edge Of The World and Turn Up The Night.

Heaven & Hell: Ronnie James Dio - Vocals, Tony Iommi - Guitar, Geezer Butler - Bass, Vinny Appice - Drums, Scott Warren - Keyboards
After All (The Dead)
Mob Rules
Children of the Sea
Lady Evil
Ear in the Wall
Sign of the Southern Cross
The Devil Cried
Computer God
Shadow of the Wind
Die Young
Heaven and Hell
Neon Knights

Megadeth (45-minute set)

1. Sleepwalker
2. Wake Up Dead
3. She Wolf
4. A Tout Le Monde
5. Washington Is Next
6. Symphony of Destruction
7. Peace Sells/Mechanix
8. Hangar 18
9. Holy Wars (encore)

1. Lysergik Funeral Procession
2. Lifer
3. Hail The Leaf
4. New Orleans is a Dying Whore
5. Losing All
6. Bury Me In Smoke

"Black Sabbath: The Dio Years" track listing:

01. Neon Knights
02. Lady Evil
03. Heaven And Hell
04. Die Young
05. Lonely Is The Word
06. The Mob Rules
07. Turn Up The Night
08. Voodoo
09. Falling Off The Edge Of The World
10. After All (The Dead)
11. TV Crimes
12. I
13. Children Of The Sea - Live
14. The Devil Cried*
15. Shadow Of The Wind*
16. Ear In The Wall*

* Newly recorded tracks

Audience: 7,500.

My rating for this show is 3/5.

website page counter