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Heaven & Hell: Live From Radio City Music Hall

It's one thing to hear a live recording from a band you have been enamored with practically half your life, but it's another to have actually been on hand at the gig that the CD was recorded at. Such was the case for this writer on March 30th, 2007, when the reunited Dio/Iommi/Butler/Appice version of Black Sabbath, under the guise of Heaven & Hell, took New York and Radio City Music Hall by storm for a sold out show. Recorded for CD and DVD, this show was historical for many reasons, mostly it was a chance for fans to see this line-up for the first time on stage in over 15 years. For some it might have been for the first time ever, and for this writer, the first time since 1982 on the Mob Rules tour. Seeing as the Sabbath line-up with Ozzy has been relegated to playing Ozzfest the last few years and playing just the classics that the Ozzman can still sing, the thought of hearing Dio with the band again and seeing them perform songs like "Neon Knights", "Children of the Sea", "I", "The Mob Rules", "Die Young", and of course "Heaven and Hell" was a dream come true.

The CD is exactly as I remember it that night (I'm sure it will be even more so after viewing the DVD), with all four members at the top of their game and really impressing the audience, and having a blast doing it. Iommi's massive power riffs crush, Appice's pounding drums simply thunderous, Geezer's bass rumbling with menace, and Dio's vocals right on target, singing like a man half his 65+ years. In fact, Ronnie sounds more at home vocally singing these songs than he has with his own solo material the last decade. You get the whole concert on this 2CD set-in addition to the above classics already mentioned, there's a brilliant version of "The Sign of the Southern Cross", a steamrolling "Computer God", and two of the new songs, "The Devil Cried" (which includes a tasty Appice drum solo) and the doomy "Shadow of the Wind". One of the biggest surprises is "Lonely Is the Word", the underrated track from the Heaven and Hell album, which features a particularly bluesy Iommi.

Soundwise, this set is just fantastic, and the booklet comes with commentary from Dio, Iommi, and Butler (what, no Vinnie guys?), plus photographs from the show. Let's only hope that this is not the last time we see these guys come around, and that future tours and studio recordings are in the works.

Track Listing
CD 1
1) E5150/After All (The Dead)
2) The Mob Rules
3) Children of the Sea
4) Lady Evil
5) I
6) The Sign of the Southern Cross
7) Voodoo
8) The Devil Cried
CD 2
1) Computer God
2) Falling Off the Edge of the World
3) Shadow of the Wind
4) Die Young
5) Heaven and Hell
6) Lonely Is the Word
7) Neon Knights

Added: October 4th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Rhino Records
Hits: 3316
Language: english

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Heaven & Hell: Live From Radio City Music Hall
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-10-04 09:09:25
My Score:

The reunion of Black Sabbath's lineup from the time that Ronnie James Dio held the microphone would be an event that was nothing less than a Metal Media Blockbuster. Tony Iommi's original plan was to simply release a compilation of the era's best material which would go under the title Black Sabbath: The Dio Years but this idea would expand and set the gears in motion as once again Ronnie James Dio found himself working with the legends. The three would begin writing new material that worked along the lines of that which was done in their past and then a tour became the topic of discussion. The puzzle was completed by making sure drummer Vinny Appice was available and then the music on this release would be supported in the live sense. The issue of the compilation CD was a great idea in the first place for many people describe these songs as some of the best music that Black Sabbath had ever recorded. There are even those who state that this was their own introduction to the band since they were too young to be a part of the Ozzy Osbourne years when they were in full force. Consisting of numbers from Heaven And Hell, Mob Rules and Dehumanizer the CD itself was met with an incredible reception by the Metal Legions and resultant of the tour announcement the coming shows would be rallied for like no other show in recent memory. This brings us to the recording we are reviewing here from New York City's own Radio City Music Hall as the group who now called themselves Heaven & Hell would find that this particular appearance sold out in about fifteen minutes. It was quickly decided that the RCMH show would be recorded and released as a live performance CD and companion DVD. Do I even need to say anymore? Probably not, but let me continue along for good measure.
For those who were lucky enough to catch this concert when it happened this CD is the perfect audio memento of the evening and these fans who attended will attest that it was one magical Metal moment after another the entire night. New listeners are not cheated out of any songs either since the whole performance is presented on the two CD's and they shouldn't be looking for any of the classic Black Sabbath like "Iron Man" or "Paranoid" since those aren't here. Instead get ready to relive some truly incredible Metal songs that still hold a unique freshness despite having been absent from the concert stage for many years. Luckily, Dio still performed "Heaven And Hell" from time to time, but what a treat to hear the full compliment of members who originally did the songs do them once again. As a whole the group sounds great from beginning to end and one immediately understands why they are considered legends. Dio still has the pipes that dominate the scene and Iommi is one of the first Metal guitar Gods, having set the whole genre in motion so long ago. There isn't a bad song on the release and even the new stuff that was presented on "The Dio Years" is pretty cool when it's performed live. Of course the greatness has highlights but most of them are based on personal preference and my own would fall to "Sign Of The Southern Cross", "Mob Rules" and "Neon Knights". I'm sure that while many agree with me, there are those who prefer entirely different numbers. The whole package is delivered in a slip-cased jewel case and includes a twelve page booklet that is loaded with commentary from Dio, Iommi and Geezer but nothing from drummer Vinny Appice. He seems to prefer to let the drums do his talking I guess, and talk they do. I really enjoyed reliving this night care of the CD, as I was one of the screaming audience members, but now the real treat would be sitting and observing the DVD. I can hardly wait to see how it all came out and if this CD is any sign of the quality then the Metal world is really going to flip for it.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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