Heaven and Hell in New York City With Photo Gallery

By Lisa Sharken, New York Contributor
Tuesday, April 10, 2007 @ 9:40 PM

At Radio City Music Hall (From 2007)

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Few bands can reunite and be even better the second time around. In this case, it’s actually the third reunion of the second incarnation of Black Sabbath’s lineup, which includes guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, frontman Ronnie James Dio, and drummer Vinny Appice, who are touring again after 14 years apart, calling the group Heaven And Hell. Whatever it’s billed as, the title of the newly-released anthology confirms without question that this is indeed Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. The songs this lineup created are monumental, and as potent today as when originally released.

It was no surprise when tickets for the one-off New York City show had sold out in only a few minutes, and those left in the dust were willing to pay big bucks for any seat through resellers. This was a truly rare event that people were aching to see, and to do so in such a historical venue. For me, the last time I had been to Radio City was as a young child seeing a movie with my great grandmother. No doubt, it was a Disney classic and the famous Rockettes dance troupe had opened the show. What a treat it was to return so many years later to see one of my all-time favorite bands! However, this time there would be no Rockettes opening, although that could certainly have been quite a sight at this show… I can just imagine the Rockettes sporting all-black outfits adorned with crosses while doing their trademark kick line. Instead, KNAC.COM personality and New York’s own Eddie Trunk came out to proudly introduce the band (which appeared on his radio show following the performance…heard here).

I was fortunate to have seen the group on its first two treks supporting Heaven And Hell and The Mob Rules. I remembered how great the band was live, so I was elated by the announcement of this reunion and marked time until the New York show, like a kid anxiously awaiting Christmas. What a gift this turned out to be!

When the stage lights came on, the band appeared on a set designed like the outside of a castle with a large archway and tall iron gates. From the intro of “E5150” leading into “After All (The Dead),“ the audience was captivated and the band was blazing! Dio’s robust pipes were absolutely spot on. Iommi swapped between a few trusty SG guitars for different tones, while Butler stuck to a Lakland Bob Glaub Signature model bass, and Appice was perched behind a DW drum kit surrounded by an array of Sabian cymbals. Everyone was at his absolute best, musically. In fact, the band was playing so well that most people in the audience hadn’t even noticed that there were technical problems with the sound onstage [which the group later explained on Eddie Trunk’s show had resulted from union workers at Radio City not permitting a proper sound check to dial in settings for the monitors and PA ahead of time. One would assume these provisions would be made, particularly for a sold-out show being filmed for a DVD!]. Regardless, the guys handled themselves like the true pros they are, and for the fans, all that mattered was seeing the performers and hearing this music live after decades. Despite any technical problems the band experienced onstage, and a slightly out-of-tune guitar on “Children Of The Sea” (which few people even noticed), the performance came off sounding super tight. The intensity and excitement emanated throughout the theater. The band totally kicked ass!

The set list was comprised solely of material from the group’s three Dio-era studio albums — Heaven And Hell, The Mob Rules, and Dehumanizer. These are the tunes that define this lineup. Anyone who expected to hear the old classics that we’ve heard year after year on Sabbath tours with Ozzy clearly missed the point of this tour. No disrespect whatsoever to the legendary Ozzman. He rocks, and his legacy with Sabbath continues. But even with the same core members, this is essentially a different band with a unique sound and style that stands on its own merit, and hearing this material live after so many years was incredibly refreshing — just as it was for the musicians performing, too. The band ripped through a well-chosen set of their classics, enhanced with two of the three new tracks written and recorded exclusively for the anthology — “The Devil Cried” and “Shadow Of The Wind.” These new songs fit seamlessly into the catalog, and are quickly becoming radio staples. [Check out the complete set list below.]

This was a show that fans had been waiting years for, and they savored every note. Those who were there will not soon forget this experience. Heaven And Hell indubitably delivered the goods and left the audience craving more. With an extensive list of songs that were rehearsed, we’re likely to hear a changing set list throughout this tour. So those calling out for “Country Girl” or “Slipping Away” (neither of which are on the anthology) will have to catch another show. I know I will!

From the start, it’s been firmly established that there are no set boundaries or promises for the future of Heaven And Hell. But with the overwhelming positive response the group has received and all members thoroughly enjoying the experience of collaborating again, there is a glimmer of hope that fans might possibly be honored with a full-length album of new material in the future, and perhaps another tour. For now, don’t miss out when this tour comes through your town, and be sure to grab Black Sabbath: The Dio Years, as well as the forthcoming disc from the band’s 1981 tour, Live At The Hammersmith Odeon.

For more info and tour dates:


Set List:

  • E5150
  • After All (The Dead)
  • The Mob Rules
  • Children Of The Sea
  • Lady Evil
  • I
  • The Sign Of The Southern Cross
  • Voodoo
  • The Devil Cried
  • Vinny Appice Drum Solo
  • Computer God
  • Falling Off The Edge Of The World
  • Shadow of the Wind
  • Tony Iommi Guitar Solo
  • Die Young
  • Heaven and Hell

  • Lonely Is The Word
  • Neon Knights
Click on the thumbnail shots for the full-size pictures.

Photos © 2007 by Lisa Sharken

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