A HEAVENly night of HELLish metal...

  • Chip and Todd...Heaven & Hell!

    To misquote Elton John, "Sab songs say so much..." LOL

    Last night's show at the Dodge Theater in Phoenix kicked off the US tour for Machine Head, Megadeth and Heaven & Hell. What a great show, and what a great opportunity to showcase bands from three distinct eras of the genre.

    Before we were even able to walk away from the car in the parking garage, we were approached by bootleggers hawking T-shirts for $20. Those prices had dropped to half of that by evening's end. Truth be told, they were pretty cool looking shirts, modeled almost exactly after one of the official shirts.

    Opening the show precisely at 7:00pm was Machine Head, formed in the mid-90's. This industrial strength combo dished out a thirty-minute set that I would swear was only four songs. I could be wrong. We found our seats halfway through the first song, just in time for "Aesthetics of Hate", my personal fave track from their new CD 'The Blackening'. Robb Flynn and co. bulldozed their way through their short set, taking time to pay tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell, and thank everyone for coming out to support the tour.

    Just fifteen short minutes later, Megadeth hit the stage. Founder and mouthpiece of the band Dave Mustaine didn't take too much time chatting between songs, instead letting the music speak for itself. The band played some great new material, as well as dug a little deeper for classics like "Wake Up Dead", "Hangar 18", "Peace Sells" and "Holy War". Mustaine is not only a formidable lead guitarist, but one of the tightest rhythm guitarists around, blasting out intricate riffs that would probably stump his former Metallica band mates. The crowd gave Megadeth rapturous applause, particularly when they reappeared onstage for a well-deserved encore. When the roar finally subsided, Dave said "I wish you could be up here where I am, and see how beautiful you people look...." Also worth noting - Dave was playing his new Dean signature model guitars all night. They looked and sounded great.

    Black Sabb- -um- Heaven & Hell came on right around 9:00pm, to the classic intro of "E5150", from the 'Mob Rules' album. The stage set was some sort of castle/cathedral courtyard, with nice lighting and video fx. But instead of wowing everyone with something like "Neon Knights" right off the bat, they opened with a plodding new number. Not that it wasn't a good song, but it was kind of an anti-climactic opening to the show. The rest of the set was a trip back to a golden era in the band's history, the band working their way through (by the way, these are not in any order...) "Falling Off the Edge of the World", "Sign of the Southern Cross", "Children of the Sea", "Lady Evil", "Die Young", "Heaven & Hell", my personal fave "Voodoo" and a few others which escape me right now. I believe they played all three of the new tracks from the 'Black Sabbath: The Dio Years' anthology were played. I know at least two of them were played, but since I'm not familiar with the 'Dehumanizer' material...nuff said. Ronnie James Dio looks pretty much the same as he has, except for thinner hair. But the man's voice is seemingly ageless. (He himself has got to be in his mid-sixties. Heck, I have photos and recordings of him that date from 1958!) Tony Iommi was all class, dressed in black overcoat and pants, pulling classic - and uber heavy - riffs out of his Gibson SG's all night. Go back and have a listen to Sabbath's first album - give "Black Sabbath" a spin and tell me Iommi did not single-handedly create heavy metal. Geezer Butler plucked away on his bass, fingers dancing all over and head bobbing in time to the music. Nice to see drummer Vinny Appice, as well. I love his drum style, and his solo was fine - actually somewhat pedestrian; I would have preferred another song in its place. If keyboardist Geoff Nicholls was there, he was tucked away backstage somewhere. LOL

    All in all, a great night - AND thankfully, the whole crowd was on its feet the WHOLE time! I hate going to a show where people sit for this song, stand for that one, sit for the next one, etc.

    Whoever gets a chance to see one of the dates for this tour is in for a great night. I'm anxious to hear what you think. Thanks for letting me ramble.


  • Thanks Todd. Will be looking forward to the gig on Saturday night here. Am really fired up for Megadeath, and your review has stoked the fire moreso :thumbup:

    "if only we'd turn around and notice the door to the cell is open"

  • Great review, Todd! :thumbup:
    Any pics of the stage set? ;) :D
    And... is Marty Friedman still in Megadeth or does Mustaine handle all the guitar parts by himself now? :huh:



  • As Todd and I were in line to enter the venue, security was yelling out that if you had a camera....take it back to your car.

    As it turned out, it would have been the easiest thing in the world to get a small camera in the venue last night. The proof in that is, everybody in the crowd had one !!! :lol:

    Here are a couple of links I've found in the couple minutes of looking, that gives you an idea of the stage set up. They're not the best.

    I believe this one is from last night's show in Phoenix.

    This one has several galleries of photos. These must be from the Canadian tour.



  • I'm looking forward to seeing them later in the year at Wembley. I wonder who'll be supporting them there? Megadeth would be kool indeed...

  • Christian, Megadeth is still a four-piece, but Marty Friedman hasn't been in the band for a number of years now. Al Pitrelli took his place for a while, and the newest guitarist is Glen Drover, whose brother Shawn plays drums in the band. Mustaine could easily play all of the guitars for the band, but having two fills out the sound. Bassist is James Lomenzo, formerly of White Lion, Black Label Society and Rondinelli.

    Glen Drover is quite good, by the way. I really enjoyed his playing!


  • Wow - thanks for the review guys - I can't wait to see them now! :D :) :D :) :D

    I don't like seated gigs either (unless it's Steve Vai or similar - then perhaps you need it a bit more comfy!! :D )- luckily we've got standing tickets for November - Yippee!!:bouncer:

  • Thanks indeed for the review! I just can't wait to see this magical line up again!

    Is there a tourbook available??

    Im actually surpirsed they play these big arena's. Didn't Sabbath play smaller venues during their first reunion in 92? I guess it was the Grunge period which made them play on a smaller scale.... I'm glad they're doing way better now.

    Although I can't judge it from here, but there isn't very much attention in the US mainstream press on this reunion is there?

    Heaven and Hell should be on the cover of Rolling Stone if you ask me ;)

  • Many thanks guys for your review :thumbup:

    We are going to see them in July at the Montreux Jazz (lol) Festival, and in November (Birmingham + Notthingham).

    In Montreux, the "special guest" will be Motorhead :clapper:

    In the UK, it seems that there will be 2 supporting acts : Iced Earth and Lamb of God.


  • Is there a tourbook available??..........

    Although I can't judge it from here, but there isn't very much attention in the US mainstream press on this reunion is there?


    No there wasn't a tour book available.

    I agree, I haven't seen much in the way of press about this tour.
    I guess they think if it doesn't involve Ozzy, it's not relevant to anyone. Which is of course utter b.s.

    Although, I was just told today by someone at work, that in this past Saturday's paper, they saw Glenn mentioned in an article on H&H. The article included a (incomplete) list of different singers Sabbath has had over the years. Since I missed it, I had to go digging through my recycle bin to find it :)

    If you're interested, here's the link for the article.............




  • Wow!!! What a great night!!!!! Just walked in the door from the show at the Fabulous Forum. The sound was great, the light show was great, the backdrops were really interesting and fit the songs, cool stage set, Tony, Vinnie and Geezer played fantastic, I did not hear one mistake, and of course the star, Ronnie James Dio was in fine voice. Yes Todd, Ronnie is allegedly 64, but could be as old as 66-67, I've seen reports of him being in his senior year in high school in early 1958! Missing in action were Turn up the night, TV Crimes and Time Machine, Rats!!! The only downer was seeing some dumbass hit a guy in front of me when I was walking in the hall right after I got to the show, I later asked the victim, he didn't know the guy and he sure as heck didn't do anything to deserve that from my viewpoint. I was pretty scared after that, there were sure some characters there that were looking for a fight, (there was another brief one on the floor near me) I think I will go back to going to shows like GH, Jeff Beck and Toto where there is no worries about metal losers, I'm glad I only got there just before Sabbath. Sabbath were totally amazing though and onstage almost two hours, the show was a real bargain for the money. (And I was home 30 minutes after the show ended!!!) I love that 105 Freeway :claphands :bouncer: :bow:


  • Thanks for the comments John. Glad you had a good time.

    Yeah, there are some real losers in the world. After the show here in Phoenix, as we were walking along the side of the parking garage, some a-holes were dropping beer bottles off the top of the parking garage onto the sidewalk.

    During the show, someone threw a drink on RJD. He stopped what he was doing and had a few choice words for them.



  • As for who that mystery keyboard player was, it was Scott Warren, from Dio's solo band. He looked to be really enjoying himself, because I was on Iommi's side of the stage, I could actually see behind the mains on Geezer's side, where Warren was ensconsed and visible to me with his Kurzweil keyboard. I think it's a shame they have put the guy out of sight, he was fun to watch and he looks like Tony Kaye from Yes. Geoff Nichols is busy doing soundtracks these days.


  • A couple of notes from the show I forgot to mention. This was my first Sabbath show and the Dio era was really my era and I'm more into the later stuff including Gillan, Hughes and Martin than the Ozzy years, although after Wed, I would love to see them with Ozzy. I never realized how much Iommi smiled at the crowd after looking at all those serious pictures for decades. Geezer, NEVER looks at the crowd. Ronnie was filled with smiles and appreciation for the band and audience and the vibe onstage was very very good. A fellow musician said he hadn't seen Ronnie so fired up in his recent solo gigs like he was at the Forum, a sold out arena will do that for you eh? Vinnie had a really cool tom set up to his left, it would rock back and forth and he would grab it and slam his stick into it, and the tom would appear to almost tip over as it rocked back and forth. I've never seen anything like that. That was totally cool!!!! The show got a good review in today's LA Times, it's rare to see metal mentioned in our paper.


  • Well, I have recovered my hearing from Saturday night's show in Albuquerque, finally, so I will write a short review of the show. We got there early since my wife is always afraid we will be late. The Journal Pavillion has ONE road in/out, and it is a three mile long winding road. So the Pavilion itself is truly in the middle of nowhere, and therefore has no noise constraints. Pretty cool, and they had Disney-esque parking arrangements, so travel was quite good.

    When you walk into the gates you are first patted down, for what I do not know, since everyone there was hammered. Plus there was ONE place to eat and 44 places to buy beer and booze. There were a few people with their kids eating, and the lines were immense for Jagermeister shots and Tequilla. Which leads to the dumbest person ever, who got tossed from the event BEFORE the first band had even finished their first song !! As you all say, every crowd has its nit-wit, but this guy took the cake. He got about 60 seconds of live music before he had knocked over a row of seats, three people and gave the Security Chief the finger, which was not a very good idea. Bye-Bye.

    Now Machine Head came out to do their set....this was quite possibly the single WORST act I have EVER seen live, and that includes off-key karaoke singers :mad: Four guys with about 600 tattoos and four bottles of Clairol hair coloring shouting F**k this and that into a microphone with the vocal dexterity of a wretching wildebeast that had pretty guitars they had no ability to play :mad: Absolute crap and 30 minutes of my life I will never get back :mad:

    Next, Megadeth played a seering set of awesome metal. As Todd and Chip and John have pointed out, Dave Mustain can REALLY play :thumbup: I was impressed with the band from beginning to end, and I think the crowd would have liked even more from Mustain and clan. He had a fine rhythm guitarist with him and a bass/drum rhythm section that gave Dave the freedom to do whatever he wanted with his Flying Vee. What he did was outstanding, and even his vocals, which were audible and decipherable were solid. I am not one who knows too many song names, but whatever the titles of the tunes, they were played with aplomb. A four star show from Megadeth :bow:

    Then came H & H. The stage scenery reminded me of a High School theater production, but it could have been worse :rolleyes: Finally, out came Dio , Iommi, Butler and Appice...and they were as tight as can be. Iommi still has a sound no one can match. He is so unique even 35 years later. Plus, he looked as if he was absolutely thrilled to be on stage :thumbup: Geezer was doing his thing off to the side, yet playing like he was 25 again. In all the years of Sabbath, he never got the credit for being a really powerful musician :bow: Appice is a pedestrian drummer, but more than adequate for the band :confused: When Dio came out, the crowd went nutty...and RJD looked truly excited to be there also. Of course, me the eternal critic could not take him seriously. He had on a velvet sleep shirt for crying out loud :huh: So I had to look at a balding munchkin in his bed clothes. Granted, the guy can sing like hell, but he looked like he just stayed in his Holiday Inn Express.

    Highlights though were many, but Mob Rules has always been a fave of mine, and Sign of the Southern Cross was brilliant. The close of Heaven and Hell, which was extended by a really awesome piece of playing by Iommi was riveting. The encore of Neon Nights was rockin'. Overall they were a good listen, but at my age and attitude, this will probably be my last "Metal" show in a large venue...I think the people around me now make my night more of a chore than being there for the show...

    Now I can look forward to GLENN HUGHES in NYC, which is what every other show is a warmer for !!! :thumbup: :D

    "if only we'd turn around and notice the door to the cell is open"

  • A little harsh there, Frank - the worst band you've ever seen live? :eek: I've seen some real stinkers in the past, but I liked Machine Head. Being the opening band, they obviously had the worst mixed sound of the three. And with time being of the essence, Robb Flynn should have simply let the music do the talking instead of dropping a bunch of F-bombs in his stage raps. He didn't come across as the veteran frontman he is - he's been recording and touring since his 1988 debut with the band Vio-lence.

    I think a good deal of the band's appeal lies in whether or not you are a fan of that particularly caustic brand of metal, or the 80's bands like Exodus, Possessed, Overkill and Sepultura who inspired it.


  • Hey Todd,

    C'mon..give it up!! Who were some of the alleged stinkers you have seen / heard? Speaking for myself, I can't say that I have seen a real dog act....but I have seen a few badly placed opening acts....Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five opening for The Clash at Bond's Casino in 1981; the hot, tightly packed and mostly white crowd didn't want to know and loudly booed the hapless rappers who left the stage after about 10 minutes. But the prize goes to the hapless opening act for the Dregs at My Fathers Place back in the summer of 1981. The venue was a former bowling alley with rows of picnic tables....You can imagine the makeup of the crowd;progsters and Southern rockers liquored up and ready to party down with the Dregs! At one point, the guitarist stepped to the mike and said something like; "We need a little positive energy for the audience.." His plea was met with a lusty round of boos, and bellowed requests to get off the F*%ing stage! I imagine as he stood in the spotlight, he was wondering why he hadn't run away from home at fourteen and joined the circus....:confused:

    Yours In The Funk
    Bill "Capt. Midnite" Redford



    "Cause if you fake the FUNK..your nose got to grow!" Bootsy Collins

  • A little harsh there, Frank - the worst band you've ever seen live? :eek: I've seen some real stinkers in the past, but I liked Machine Head.

    I think a good deal of the band's appeal lies in whether or not you are a fan of that particularly caustic brand of metal, or the 80's bands like Exodus, Possessed, Overkill and Sepultura who inspired it.


    They actually out-badded a band calle Meatjack from Baltimore who I saw open for Nik Turner's Hawkwind in '94. They were so awful, even Nik, who is one of the nicest people I know, mentioned that they would no longer be opening for him on the remainder of the tour...they were only noise, and not good noise. This band out did themselves (Machine Head) between the horrendous music, crap vocals and I am really over hearing F-bombs being blurted out as if they were ordering a Big Mac. This may be the first time we have not agreed on a band...oh well... And, just for clarity, Overkill, Et al are not my cup of tea at all...

    "if only we'd turn around and notice the door to the cell is open"

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