Monday, April 23, 2007 @ 10:16 PM
Somewhere between Heaven and H
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Yea, I know they are going by Heaven and Hell, but that is only so they don't ruffle Ozzy's feathers. I, personally, don't worry about ruffling Ozzy's feathers.
This show is the U.S. tour opener and if tonight is any indication, the tour is going to devastate anything in its path. The Dodge Theater in Phoenix was packed before Machine Head even hit the stage. Once there, they wasted no time in starting the night’s heavy direction. Hell, they couldn’t waste any time – their set time allotted only four songs! Hitting the stage with Imperium the crowd was quickly bitchslapped in to paying attention. Without hesitation, the band then followed with two new tracks from The Blackening - Now I Lay Thee Down and Aesthetics of Hate. Two totally brutal tracks that has reawakened long time Machine Head fans that have struck with them throughout their – dare I say it? – flirt with the nu-metal sounding Supercharger. Finishing their quick set was Davidian from 1994’s Burn My Eyes. This quick performance definitely started the night off full of aggression. I simply can’t wait for when they roll back through the valley with a lengthier set.
With smoke and the smell of sweat still in the air, the mighty Megadeth took full control of the stage. Starting off with Sleepwalker from the forthcoming United Abominations Dave Mustaine quickly showed that the band still has teeth.
I should be calling collect from jail
For the things I commit each night in my head
Like last night in my sleep I got to snuff you
But then I woke up again, safe in my little bed
No one is safe when I close my eyes; I come to take your life
Thank God Dave sounds pissed again! The riffage was plenty, and the new song steamrolled over the unsuspecting crowd. Dave sneered his way through the set opener, and he looked a lot healthier than when he was last in Phoenix, for 2006’s Gigantour. The band was tight as usual, with Glen Drover accompanying Dave’s dizzying riffs. Even James LoMenzo seemed to be coming out of his shell with animated ease. It did sound like Shawn Drover’s drums and the vocals were not well mixed for the first 30 – 60 seconds of the song, but someone quickly caught a clue and evened everything out. You damn well know some tech was getting his ass kicked tonight for that.
The band has shown no signs of slowing down, and the crowd had no intention of letting them. You would think they were the headliners tonight, as I didn’t find one seat empty during their performance. While this set was slightly shorter than what they are used to, refreshingly absent from the set list was the usual staples that seemed to always kill the momentum – tracks like In My Darkest Hour and A Tout Le Monde (even though I find myself digging the remake with Cristina Scabbia). Don’t get your panties in an uproar – YES they are good songs, but considering how well tonight’s show seemed to flow without them gave the entire performance a breath of fresh air.
Wake Up Dead
Take No Prisoners
Kick the Chair
Tornado of Souls
Washington is Next!
Symphony of Destruction
With barely enough time to grab an overpriced beer, the legendary Black Sabbath has descended upon the stage.
What do you say to the dead?
Will you forgive me for living?
Can't believe the things that they said
Wonderful day for a killing
Having never seen the band fronted by Ronnie James Dio before, I totally felt like I was being treated to something I never thought possible. The sincere musical dedication tonight showed through the performance the entire night. I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought that Ozzy is probably at home somewhere, fumbling with a pill bottle that has a child proof lid.
Ronnie’s vocals are as strong as ever. It’s simply amazing the show he still puts on. I hate to sound like I am pointing a finger and saying “You’re old!” but frankly the man is in his 60s, but he still has one of the strongest voices in metal today. He was also having a great time tonight, showing his gratitude to the Phoenix crowd. He was smiling ear to ear, hamming it up with both Geezer and Tony and even posing for fellow photographer Robert Tuozzo. The man was simply on cloud nine being on stage. Many times throughout the night I also caught Tony and Geezer smiling. Can’t say I have seen that before ….
When Ronnie yelled out “If you listen to fools …” the Arizona crowd roared back as the band launched in to Mob Rules, followed by Children of the Sea, Lady Evil and one that Ronnie stated “is one of the most requested songs we get” - Sign of the Southern Cross. The band ripped through each song with flawless ease. It was just amazing how well the band sounded and how much fun they were having.
Two highlights tonight were the inclusion of the new tunes The Devil Cried and Shadow of the Wind from their latest release. If you weren’t paying attention you very easily could have thought that these were just some old rare tunes they dug out as they blended within their set very well, slow and gothic.
If you have the chance to catch this bill, do it. Its probably going to be the most anticipated tour of the year.
After All (The Dead)
Children of the Sea
Sign of the Southern Cross
The Devil Cried
Falling Off the Edge of the World
Shadow of the Wind
Heaven and Hell
Click on the thumbnail shots for the full-size pictures.