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Heaven and Hell

Live in Hoffman Estates, IL, September, 2007

Review by Greg Olma

For those of you who don’t know who Heaven and Hell is, it is basically Black Sabbath Mk III. Although the original lineup is considered the best (not by this writer), this version definitely has a high regard among all heavy metal fans. The reason for the name change is to prevent any confusion over who is singing and this version will only cover the Dio era material. For my money, this is the more musical version of Black Sabbath.

This was Heaven and Hell’s second trip through on this tour and even though it was a slightly shorter set, the performance was still top notch. While “E5150” was piped in through the PA, the curtains dropped to reveal a castle-like stage set up. And just like the record, the monstrous chords of “Mob Rules” kicked off proceedings. The band sounded really good and the acoustic at the Sears Centre gave the show a heavy but clear sound. “Children Of The Sea” was next followed by “I” and by this point; they touched on each of the Dio fronted albums. After a quick “hello” from Ronnie James Dio, the band launched into the plodding classic “Sign Of The Southern Cross.” Tony Iommi put in a note perfect performance and Geezer Butler showed off his bass skills by finger picking all over the fret board. That song is a monster live. Another Mob Rules tune, “Voodoo,” was next and just as it finished, Vinny Appice went into his solo. Although there are a lot of drummers out there, somehow I can’t imagine anyone other than Vinny Appice manning the drum kit on this set of tunes.

The underrated Dehumanizer got another piece of the live action with “Computer God.” I was amazed at the crowd response to the song. Of all the tunes played, it was definitely the most obscure of the set. I saw Black Sabbath on the Mob Rules tour back in 1981 but back then, they didn’t play “Falling Off The Edge Of The World.” That song made the whole show for me. They pulled it off perfectly. Tony Iommi then got his solo spot that really just bled into the intro for “Die Young.” I’m glad they decided to play the whole song because on previous tours, they just performed a truncated version. The song “Heaven and Hell” drew the set to a close but not before they came back for the encore of “Neon Knights.”

The fate of Heaven and Hell is up in the air at this time. Ronnie James Dio is going back to Dio to record Magica 2 & 3 and Black Sabbath are nearing another milestone so who knows when these 4 musos will get back together again. Do yourself a favor and catch them while you still can. There might not be a second chance after 2007.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at
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