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ConcertsHeaven and Hell at Jones Beach Ampitheater 9/8/2007

Posted on Friday, November 23 2007 @ 08:34:07 CST by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal I honestly felt that I was present when Heavy Metal history was being made as Heaven and Hell first toured earlier this year and stopped at New York City's own famed Radio City Music Hall. The show sold out in minutes and the entire event would be captured and released on individual DVD and CD's and since then each of these items has become quite the blockbuster seller. The band then made sure to hit as many regions as possible and after NYC they would visit New Jersey with both Megadeth and Machinehead as tour support but soon each of those bands would need to adventure out on their own tours so if you caught one of those shows you were a lucky Metal head. This change in opener allowed HAH to set up an end of Summer appearance with the legendary Alice Cooper and the mighty Queensryche, and for this particular show we would travel out to the Jones Beach Amphitheatre in Wantagh, NY (or Long Island to many readers) to see what was happening. Ken Pierce brings shares his thoughts on how the night went down for those who were not present.

Queensryche: It has certainly been a busy couple of years for the guys in Queensryche who really haven't stopped rocking yet since their formation in the early 80's. They had been releasing albums on a regular basis but the momentum seemed to pick up once again with their release of "Operation: Mindcrime 2". The album set up specialized tours and more appearances and products than one could imagine. Suddenly there was a lot more Ryche to pick up at your music shop in the way of video and live recording along with new studio efforts. The band during this tour was celebrating two accomplishments actually and the first was the release of their comprehensive "Best Of" entitled "Sign Of The Times" which while very similar to an older Greatest Hits package would include a second CD of legacy material that made this all the more special. They would also be close to completing their own album of cover material. It was daylight when the band came onstage and while that took away some of the lighting dramatics it surely didn't affect their sound and impact on the audience that was already mostly in place. Tate has managed to keep much of his voice over the years as well and still can hit most of his notes with the exception of the occasional screeching note from some twenty years ago. It's never a problem live as the audience always seems willing to chime in during them. Tonight their set would include a nice sample of everything and it seemed that they touched upon most of their albums as well which was great. Geoff stopped to speak to the crowd about their forthcoming covers release (which would eventually be revealed as being called "Take Cover") and this commentary would lead us into "Welcome To The Machine" by Pink Floyd. It was weird to hear The Ryche doing this but I had to admit that it sounded great live. During the middle section Tate even pulled out a saxophone and played a little bit. Since they were first up their set was over far quicker than I would have liked but it has already been announced that headlining dates were set for early 2008 so you best start planning to get your tickets.

Alice Cooper: Before Alice came on a giant curtain was draped across the stage and this just added to the level of mystery that the legendary performer was going to bring to us tonight. When the intro music blasted through the speakers we saw the shadow of Cooper very visible on the curtain and suddenly he was brutally cut down by……Alice!!! From there it fell and found the singer standing atop the drum riser while an imposter lay dead in front of him. What a way to begin a show. Metal fans everywhere owe this man a world of thanks, or more properly considered a universe of thanks as he is one of the most visually entertaining figures in Hard Rock music history. Without his experiments and actions much of the labeled "Shock Rock" would not exist in the fashion that we have come to know. I last caught him on a solo appearance around Halloween in 2006, and that's always a perfect time to catch the singer and his band. Tonight he would be heavy on the theatrical aspect which was wonderful to witness given its vivid display of Horror Gore meets Rock & Roll power. His band would be a little different this time around as well and feature Keri Kelli and Jason Hook on guitars, along with Chuck Garric (bass) and Eric Singer (drums). I always enjoy seeing Eric Singer play and think that based on the amount of bands that he has done work with that he is quite possible the drummer I have seen perform most in my life. The set that Alice would deliver tonight was probably the best I have seen him do in recent memory as he included almost every one of his biggest hits. Clearly Alice knows that the audience wants more classics mixed in with a couple of new songs and not the other way around. He would flash his sword tonight and perform with a baby doll on top of it as he threw money during "Billion Dollar Babies" and bring you to new worlds of fear with "Welcome To My Nightmare" and "Dead Babies". His daughter Calico Cooper is now part of the stage ensemble and goes through many costume and character changes to suit the particular song or storyline that is happening in the background. I was surprised at how the set would draw to a close as opposed to the guillotine execution where the singer literally loses his head; he would instead be hanged and brought off the stage to the tune of "I Love The Dead". Of course a little thing like death could never keep a man like Alice down and he soon returned for show stopping encores of "School's Out", "Poison", and "Elected". For a band that was only the direct support Alice and Company surely played this like they were the headliners and not the H&H guys. I had to admit that my energy level was close to spent by the time Alice went off and I would quickly need to recoup what I could as it was time for Tony, Ronnie, Geezer and Vinny to take the stage.

Heaven and Hell: Given that this was my second time in seeing the guys in Heaven & Hell during this tour I was actually curious as to how different or similar the performance tonight would be. It would begin similar to the Radio City Music Hall show that I attended with the instrumental gloomy track of "EM5150" and then it was right into "Mob Rules" which still sounds as fresh and exciting as I remember it sounded when I first purchased the record. The band themselves were tight as I had expected and since I had better seats this time around my vantage point to the crushing volume and power in each of their notes was staggering to partake in. This was Heavy Metal in the truest sense of the word and who better to preach it to the faithful than Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi. Being closer this time also allowed me to better enjoy the visual majesty that was their stage set up, and if you had not seen the video yet let me clue you in that the whole thing looks like a giant Gothic church of some kind. It's quite detailed and a little bit creepy when you look at it but I think that it was the effect that the guys were going for. Given there were three bands on the bill tonight the guys would keep a shorter set list than the one I caught and this one would omit all of the new numbers that were recorded for "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years". I was ok with that since I was more interested in their older tunes and while they would also cut one or two of those they managed to get to everything that I wanted to hear. Judging by the fan reaction around me there was little argument coming from them either. Geezer was thundering on his bass and along with Iommi's interesting style and sound it is very easy to see how they formed the genre in the first place. They still "got it" when it comes down to it and now with this tour are able to school new legions of Metal heads in how it actually is to be done. Yes, the Ozzy stuff was the stuff of legend but you cannot discount these Dio years either when it comes to immediate Metal satisfaction. Vinny Appice would do a drum solo which he used to get the crowd riled up even more and as he often is apt to do during shows the shows we found a very engaging Dio speaking to us as each number was to begin. He is quite clever and sincere as he said that "the title of the next song is not something we want any one to do, this is called "Die Young". Highlights were many and this was also my expectation as favored tunes like "Sign Of The Southern Cross" and "Children Of The Sea" were delivered. It would end with the throttling number "Neon Knights" and that was it. When the show was over it seemed as though there was a rush to the stage to get closer to the band as the members remained onstage to wave goodbye's and shake hands.

I might have said this about the last time that I saw them but I think that this was perhaps the smartest thing that they could have done because all of these songs had been shut away in the archives for far too long and it was high time they stood tall once again for the Metal community to enjoy. If you have yet to catch them in concert I highly recommend the DVD "Live At Radio City Music Hall" as it's the entire show from the March 2007 concert and will leave you awestruck. Tonight's show was definitely one for the books and I really liked the fact that Dio and the guys brought a pair of solid support acts as opposed to just some half-assed band that miss on purpose.

Ken Pierce

Queensryche Set List
1. Voices
2. Justified
3. Speak
4. I'm American
5. NM 156
6. Screaming In Digital
7. Empire
8. Welcome To The Machine
9. Take Hold Of The Flame

Alice Cooper Set List
1. It's Hot Tonight
2. Mr. Nice Guy
3. Under My Wheels
4. Eighteen
5. Is It My Body
6. Billion Dollar Babies
7. Halo Flies
8. Eric Singer Drum Solo
9. Welcome To My Nightmare
10. Only Women Bleed
11. Steven
12. Dead Babies
13. Dwight Fry
14. Devil's Food/Killer/I Love The Dead
15. Schools Out
16. Poison
17. Elected

Heaven and Hell Set List
1. EM5150
2. Mob Rules
3. Children Of The Sea
4. I
5. Sign Of The Southern Cross
6. Voodoo
7. Vinny Appice Drum Solo
8. Computer God
9. Falling Off The Edge Of The World
10. Die Young
11. Heaven And Hell
12. Neon Knights

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