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Old 04-25-2007, 08:54 PM
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Arrow Heaven And Hell -- San Jose, CA -- April 24th, 2007

Ever since the rumors started circulating that this monumental event would be happening (that event being the reuniting of the Dio-era Black Sabbath lineup), I've been eagerly anticipating its coming to fruition in the Bay Area, and we were treated with an absolute spectacle delivered last night by the gods of heavy music, performing 2 new songs and classics from Heaven & Hell, The Mob Rules, and Dehumanizer under the moniker of Heaven & Hell. Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice, not to mention Megadeth supporting......need more be said?

No, not really, but I'm going to anyways. My best friend, my brother, and his friend all piled into my mom's car to head down to the HP Pavilion (otherwise known as the Shark Tank, smoke the Red Wings baby!) in sunny San Jose to witness history in the making. We arrived shortly before 7 and waited in a long line chatting up a few old school thrashers who had commented on my Exodus shirt. After buying a $15 "Heaven & Hell" t-shirt, we finally got inside and eagerly made our way down to the floor, where Machine Head had already begun assailing the faithful few who were there early with their brand of metalcore/"half thrash". I downloaded their newest album The Blackening in preparation to get a sense of what they'd be like, and was not impressed. Their live set did not do the trick either, although they had a good sized pit going and people definitely were into them, shouting along in unison with the popular closing tune "Davidian". Rob Flynn needs to get his ass back in thrash-mode and reform Vio-lence, or at least Forbidden and stop this metalcore act he's currently pulling. I'm glad we only had to watch 2 of their songs, because otherwise I think I would've started to become agitated. It served as a decent transition I suppose, always takes a little bit to adjust to the volume and everything once entering a show so it was alright to get acclimated to the environment which we'd be inhabiting for the next 4 hours. Here's a partial setlist (we only saw the last 2 songs but I know they did "Aesthetics Of Hate" as well)

Machine Head

Aesthetics Of Hate
Now I Lay Thee Down
Davidian

*NOTE: partial setlist



After Machine Head wrapped up my buddy and I made our way up closer to the front to secure the best possible position from which to view the oncoming spectacle. My little brother and his friend decided to hang back in the middle, which turned out to be a good idea. Once they finished setting up and unveiled the awesome "United Abominations" banner, the lights went down and the time had come to fucking thrash. Megadeth came out to the deceivingly peaceful intro to upcoming album opener "Sleepwalker" and proceeded to launch into a full-on metal assault that I had not expected. Having heard "Sleepwalker" once on their MySpace page before I was not impressed by it, but damn if it didn't absolutely rip face live and whip the crowd into a frenzy. Instantly fists were flying, heads banging, pits erupting even in the dense chaos of the crush up front (we were roughly the row of people directly behind the ones on the rail), absolute insanity. The song reminded me a lot of "Blackmail The Universe" during the thrash parts, but I thought served as a much better opener than the aforementioned was during Gigantour. In fact, Megadeth absolutely outdid themselves tonight and were much better than when I saw them headlining last September. The crowd energy probably had a lot to do with it, it was just a fantastic atmosphere. I was worried about the sound coming into the gig because HP Pavilion is definitely not a great sounding arena for concerts (having seen Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Metallica there before), but everything sounded as good as any arena show I'd been to. Glen Drover shredded the living fuck out of that guitar, and Dave was Dave, some political comments between songs and stuff, but he gave a tremendous performance. The setlist was perfect, seriously it flowed fantastically. "Take No Prisoners" following "Sleepwalker" was a monster, and then hitting it with "Wake Up Dead", it was the very definition of relentless. I love how they focused on playing pretty much all fast thrashy tunes and didn't screw it up by throwing in something like "Trust" or even "In My Darkest Hour", which definitely would have disrupted the flow. Once you experience it for yourself you'll understand, the energy never stops, not even during "Washington Is Next", a new tune that people were far less familiar with. But how can you go wrong with 4 songs off Rust In Peace? You can't. I think I set a new personal standard for concert headbanging during "Holy Wars", and add that to the mania of the rest of theirs and Heaven & Hell sets and my neck is still brutally stiff even now. I almost caught one of Dave's wristbands too at the end but the big fat guy next to me got it. So it goes. Other highlights definitely were "Tornado Of Souls" and "Peace Sells" bigtime. One of the best sing-a-long songs out there in a live setting. Their set left me almost wanting them to keep playing and give the old guys the night off, and actually my little bro and his friend said they ended up liking Megadeth better at the end of the night. Undoubtedly an excellent performance and one of the highest energy sets I've experienced.

Megadeth

Sleepwalker
Take No Prisoners
Wake Up Dead
Kick the Chair
Washington Is Next
Hangar 18
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

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Holy Wars...The Punishment Due



After a predictably long and claustrophobic wait for the gods to get their shit ready, the lights came down and the eerie sounds of "E5150" came through the PA. I was practically shaking with anticipation to finally see, right up close, the man who as far as I'm concerned single-handedly birthed heavy metal with the opening riff of the seminal epic "Black Sabbath" way back in 1970 that started it all.......Tony Iommi. Having already seen another legend in Ronnie James Dio live twice before with his solo act I knew what to expect, but was again completely astonished at what this little 65 year-old man can do. A true stage performer as well as one of the greatest singers ever. And let's not forget the king of the heavy metal rhythm section himself, Geezer Butler on bass. His unique playing style immediately struck me as the crushing doom of the opener "After All (The Dead)" launched the crowd into a roar. Vinny Appice made great use of his surprisingly extensive kit as well, keeping everything tight whilst being rightfully taken out of the spotlight by Iommi and Dio. Such a great charisma between them and the whole band was just such a delight to see, and Ronnie in typically congenial fashion held up a couple of signs that people had made and also playfully threw a bra that some fan had thrown on stage at one of the soundmen, who then proceeded to actually put it on and wear it. The whole show had a fantastic atmosphere, and the song performances themselves were riveting. "The Mob Rules" and "The Sign Of The Southern Cross" both got massive reactions, and if you thought that riffage in "I" sounds heavy on record, wait till you hear it live. Massive doesn't even do it justice. "Computer God" was another surprising highlight, Ronnie on that chorus is just ace, as he was during another crowd-pleaser in the monumental "Children Of The Sea." I should mention the stage set was very cool as well, and there are plenty of pictures that will divulge it in better detail than I could describe here. Vinny's drum solo served as a nice break in the action, and I liked how they sped up "Voodoo" a bit too which gave it more punch especially during that main riff. Of the new songs I liked "Shadow Of The Wind" better, but neither was super impressive, though they were each decent. The highlight though was absolutely the ending tri-fecta of Tony's guitar solo followed by the blistering "Die Young" and one of the greatest live song performances I've seen, "Heaven & Hell." Before I go on about that epic performance that solidified its position as perhaps the quintessential metal song (to me at least), I just have to go on more about Iommi. Watching him during that guitar solo just summed up everything. It was completely inspirational to me, this man who with mangled fingers created the heavy metal riff, watching him shred all alone up there was just fuckin it. Then of course "Die Young" kicks in and next thing you know fists are pumping, necks are snapping, and everybody is singing to the words of that undeniable classic. But all that almost paled in comparison to the track of their namesake "Heaven & Hell." I've been fortunate enough to have seen this song performed live 3 times, and this one honestly blew the others away. If I were to show someone a song that sums up what metal really is to me, I'd probably show them this one, which is something I've felt for a long time. There's an aspect of it that is transcending, and it's clear other people feel that way too because this song clearly got the biggest reaction of the night. Of note was the fact that they extended the solo section quite a bit (not to their disadvantage at all), and especially of note was how they added an entire new section. Now, those who have seen Dio recently or have any of the new DVD's know about the whole "There's a big black shape looking up at me" part with the red light and Ronnie's growl and everything. But this time there was another part before that....something that went like "There's a great white light shining down on me". Yes, heaven and hell indeed. I wish I could get the lyrics to that part, because they were just killer, something about paradise and then Ronnie in effect saying he'd rather "burn down here with you, you, you, you" as he pointed out across the crowd, really fucking great addition to the song making it even more spectacular than it already was. And of course, the ending as always, sensational. Couldn't have screamed those verses any louder I think, one of the most moving sections of any song I've ever heard. They had some cool explosions going too, not pyro but something to a similar effect. They closed the show with an encore of "Neon Knights", but I was quite disappointed they didn't do "Lonely Is The Word", which seems like they only do at some shows and not at others (curfew limitations perhaps). They also didn't play the other new one "Ear In The Wall", but that didn't matter much to me. I can't complain in any way about the show, even if it did cause me to get home at 1 AM and oversleep the next morning and miss my big history test (which I get to come to school extra early to make up tomorrow, yay ). Also gave me the biggest bangover ever (yes I am gonna adopt that phrase because it works dammit!), so I guess no headbanging tomorrow night at DLF This show was truely an experience of a lifetime though, one that cannot under any circumstance be missed if you are a fan of metal music. Indeed, this is how it ought to be done.


Heaven & Hell

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 w/drum solo
Computer God
Falling Off The Edge Of The World
Shadow Of The Wind
Die Young w/guitar solo
Heaven & Hell

-----------------
Neon Knights

Last edited by ADD; 04-26-2007 at 10:54 PM.
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