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Heaven and Hell

Live at Tinley Park, IL, August, 2008

Review by Mike Korn

I have seen more rock n roll shows than Dick Cheney has had heart attacks but very, very few of them would I describe as “flawless.” Heaven and Hell's set tonight was one of those rare shows.
What a privilege it is to see a band at the absolute top of its game...it's something to be savored as one of life's rare pleasures. In 1980, I saw this version of Black Sabbath (and it is Black Sabbath, no matter what Sharon Osbourne says) play a flawed and troubled set at a mudcaked Rockford Speedway. 28 years later, redemption comes.

Gary Hill
 
Gary Hill
   

On a beautiful looking stage festooned with giant gargoyles and candelabras, these four men created metal magic that held a huge crowd in a hypnotic spell. Opening with the crashing rage of "The Mob Rules,” we knew we were in for a treat, but with "Children of the Sea,” it became apparent that this was going to be a very special show indeed. The sound troubles that marred Motorhead's set were nowhere in evidence. I hate to keep beating the word to death, but “flawless” is the best way to describe this experience. They played "I" and "Time Machine" from Dehumanizer, an album that Dio described as "the most underrated record I have ever been associated with," and they were brilliant. Geezer Butler's bass was booming and Tony Iommi's razorsharp solos would bring a tear to the eye of every true metalhead.


Gary Hill
 
Gary Hill
   

They reached deep into the past to pull out two of the best Sabbath cuts, "The Sign of the Southern Cross" and "Falling Off The Edge of the World.” The former was a slow paced doom metal classic that held all of us in a cobra-like gaze while the latter kicked up the pace in furious fashion. Vinny Appice kicked in a powerful drum solo...again, his talent is awesome but I would have liked them to try "Lady Evil" or "Country Girl" in place of this solo. Even the Spinal Tap-like malfunctioning of one of the gargoyles (it failed to spit a cloud of fog) couldn't derail the power of the moment.


Gary Hill
 
Gary Hill
   

As one might predict, the band brought their tremendous set to a close with an extra long version of "Heaven and Hell" where the crowd joined in enthusiastically and the rousing "Neon Knights,” one of my favorite Sabbath songs ever. I have seen Dio many times and he never sounded better than he did on this night. He is truly a vocal giant. If no other band than Heaven and Hell played tonight, I still would have been satisfied with this masterpiece.


Gary Hill
 
Gary Hill
   
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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