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A couple of Saturdays ago I had the pleasure of seeing the newly reconstituted Black Sabbath, long considered the godfathers of heavy metal, play at the local outdoor amphitheater. Now calling themselves Heaven and Hell, the group is Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice. And their singer is Ronnie James Dio, who fronted Black Sabbath in the early 90s. He was responsible for classics such as “Heaven and Hell”, “The Mob Rules” and “Sign of the Southern Cross” and at 60+, he can still belt out those songs like it was just yesterday.

The evening starts at around 700pm with an appearance by the thrash band Machine Head. I have to admit, I didn’t know a single one of their songs, but they sounded ok. At first, when I heard the vocalist, I thought, hey this is the guy from Sepultura, he sounds exactly like him. But then, he starts talking in between songs, and he’s speaking perfect English. Of course, I was thinking of Soulfly. The singer of Machine Head was actually the singer from Vio-lence (Rob Flynn), the (in) famous thrash band from the 90s. Anyway, one highlight is when they play a song dedicated to “Dimebag” Darrell (the MoshPitguitarist of Pantera that was shot on stage a few years ago). That’s when the mosh pit starts up! I managed to get out of the way just in time.

So, after Machine Head finishes up, we get a dose of Megadeth. This is their umpteenth line-up, so I’m not even going to go into the ins and outs of it. They played well, I’ve seen them a couple of times before, and I have to say that they are as intense on stage as ever. Saying that, I can never get used to Dave Mustaine’s slightly whiny voice, he sounds much better on CD than he does live. Their guitarist and bassist are both good, but their drummer (the guitarist’s brother, I believe), is a huge step down from Jimmy Degrasso, who played on their “Rude Awakening” DVD.
Megadeth Setlist
Take No Prisoners
The System Has Failed
Wake up Dead
Hanger 18
Washington Is Next
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying
Holy Wars, The Punishment Due

Finally, we get to the main event, Heaven and Hell. The notes of the song E5150 ring out, and the stage is bathed in a blue light. Everyone’s expecting “Mob Rules”, but instead they start off with “After All (The Dead). Then they play “Mob Rules”! After that its one classic after another. The stage set is the interior of a medieval castle, with iron bars and stained glass (small video screens) above, and another window that let light shine in on Toni Iommi. The 60s/70s influences are still strong in their music, most notably on the new songs they played that are going to be released on a compilation disc of the great songs from the Dio era of Black Sabbath. All in all, it was a fantastic show, everyone was in top form and classy besides. Dio is a great frontman, he doesn’t go out there and curse up a blue streak just to get everyone worked up. By the end the crowd was getting a little tired, but they still showed some energy with the encore of “Neon Knights” that closed the show. Personally, they probably should just ditch Ozzy and go with Dio for the rest of their career.

Heaven and Hell Setlist
After All (The Dead)
The Mob Rules
Children of the Sea
Lady Evil
The Sign of the Southern Cross
The Devil Cried
Drum Solo
Computer God
Falling Off The Edge of the World
Shadow of the Wind
Guitar Solo/Die Young
Heaven and Hell
Neon Knights