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Heaven & Hell Fulfills their Destiny in Chicago: Fantastic set by Dio-led group overcomes weather, opening act.

There is something fitting that the day of Heaven and Hell’s show in Chicago the sky darkened with brooding clouds in the middle of the afternoon. It finally opened as an avalanche of rain on the innocent countryside toward sundown time. The onslaught ended, however, about a quarter hour before the show began, as if the Metal Gods had convinced Zeus himself to end the torrent.

Coheed and Cambria took the stage promptly at 7:00 PM and played 50 minutes with no encore. Their songs were executed well, but the show as a whole didn’t have much take on the crowd. The easy highlight was the cover of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” - It is never a good sign when the most popular song played is a cover. A few folks were fans, most politely listened. Even though this was Coheed & Cambria’s second concert in Chicago in two weeks, they played at the Lollapalooza Festival as well, they did not seem to have a well received second act in the city.

By the time Heaven and Hell took the stage at 8:20 PM, the pavilion was only half full and the band would not get many more followers once the set started, despite the show being practically sold out. Even though capacity was washed-out by the midday rain, the true believers were rewarded for their faith. The band ripped into “Mob Rules” and the flock went predictably frothy. “Children of the Sea” was a tour de force. The brooding guitar melody and Dio’s falsetto rose eerily into the night; on one side of the séance was the Chicago skyline at dusk, on the other Lake Michigan slowly sank into inky sleep, and above tombstone gray clouds drifted slowly by, covering the stars and sky to the earthbound dreamers.

Dio was effusive and charismatic, dressed in leather pants and a loose black shirt with sequined web-style creases. He chatted with the crown between every song, providing rambling but friendly commentary on the recording of band’s albums, the state of the world, the songs’ lyrical content, and the weather. He genuinely thanked the crowd for coming despite the weather at every turn.

The rest of Heaven and Hell also seemed quite comfortable. Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi were dressed in their traditional all black with leather overcoats, while Vinny Appice’s tree-trunk arms flailed from the sides of a sleeveless shirt, buried in his tremendous drum kit. Dio and Iommi smiled and joked to each other all night, while Appice got the crowd enthusiastically involved in a call-and-response section during his solo.

The band’s sound is based on heavy blues and hard rock, not the extreme metal of modern times. Even so, when played live the music is as heavy and crushing as any modern metal band. “I” and “Falling Off the Edge of the World” were monoliths built at the height of their power, while “Bible Black” and “Time Machine” rolled crushing riffs across the Lake Michigan shallows. As the band played song after song, the crowd got more and more animated. There was an initial degree of unfamiliarity, as many fans commented they were not familiar with much, or any, of the Dio-fronted Black Sabbath catalog. But as the band ground out each brutal song, even the new converts became convinced. By the time Iommi took his extended solo toward the end of the set, the disciples were cheering constantly.

The triptych to finish the show was one of the most powerful three song collections ever played live. “Die Young,” “Heaven and Hell” and the encore of “Neon Knights” blew away even the most seasoned fans or long-term worshippers. Iommi’s solo in “Heaven and Hell” was another long draw and it extended the song’s slow crescendo out even further than normal, so that by the time Dio blasted through the final chorus the crowd was ready to storm the castle, crusading to save any non-believers. By the time “Neon Knights” has ended and the band departed, it took a while for the crowd to disperse, still in awe of the triumph they had just witnessed.

Side note: Your correspondent was lucky enough to encounter Ronnie James Dio the morning of the concert. Both were eating lunch in the food court of Chicago’s Water Tower, a large downtown mall. While Dio was not in much of a situation to greet well-wishers at that particular moment, it was amusing to overhear the cashier thank “Mr. Dio” for coming, and she hoped he would come again soon. Your correspondent can also confirm that the rumors of Dio’s diminutive state are true, if not even under-stated. He is an impressively small man, making his vocal exploits even more amazing.

Set Lists

Coheed & Cambria
1. No World For Tomorrow
2. Gravemakers & Gunslingers
3. In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
4. Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial)
5. The End Complete III / The Trooper Medley
6. Al the Killer
7. Welcome Home
8. The Final Cut

Heaven & Hell
1. Mob Rules
2. Children of the Sea
3. I
4. Bible Black
5. Time Machine
6. Drum Solo
7. Fear
8. Falling Off the Edge of the World
9. Follow the Tears
10. Guitar Solo
11. Die Young
12. Heaven and Hell
13. Neon Knights (encore)

bloodofheroes's avatar

Joel is indebted to his high school friend Joe B. for giving him "Kill 'Em All," "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets" for his 16th birthday. Now that he works from home for his day job at a small ad agency in Chicago, he can play those albums, and Meshuggah, as much as he wants.

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12 Comments on "Heaven & Hell Fulfills their Destiny in Chicago"

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Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

1. Blindgreed1 writes:

bloodofheroes: Nicely written. There's a few typos here and there but; all in all, very well developed and fluid. Cheers!!!

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 11:47 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
bloodofheroes's avatar

Senior Reviewer

2. bloodofheroes writes:

Thanks Blindgreed, I appreciate it!

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 12:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rychemn's avatar

Member

3. Rychemn writes:

Great story on a great band.......very well written.....seems as though somewhere in my life, this has happened before......hmmmm

NP....Black Sabbath......Children of the Sea.

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 1:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. huh? writes:

here's something to ponder... did heaven & hell release their 4th album with The Devil You Know, or did Black Sabbath release their 19th album with The Devil You Know? I've just started referring to the entire BS catalogue with Dio as "Heaven & Hell," becuz it sounds almost nothing like the Ozzy Sabbath.

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 3:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. spiral_architect writes:

now iommi is apparently eager to play ozzy-era sabbath material. why did they ever change the name of the band from black sabbath to heaven and hell to begin with then?

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 5:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
ElHefe's avatar

Member

6. ElHefe writes:

Awesome band, great show every time.


Children of the Sea is one of the greatest songs ever played live.

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 5:45 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

Member

7. Blindgreed1 writes:

spiral_architect: The simple answer to your question is... SHARON! I guess you were unaware of the fact that Ozzy (or shall I say Sharon), has filed a suit against Tony for using the name Black Sabbath while he and Bill weren't in the band? After their reunion with Ozzy and Bill they were forbidden to use the name Black Sabbath (SHARON). Thus Heaven and Hell were born. BTW, before anyone starts to think that Ozzy and Sharon were sticking up for Bill - He's not mentioned in the suit other than mentioning he was the drummer, and Ozzy's suit asks for 50% of royalties incurred while he and Bill were doing their own things. Bill stands to receive $0.00 if the Osbourne's win in court. You do the math.

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 6:19 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
JohnK43's avatar

Member

8. JohnK43 writes:

Great review! Can't wait to see them the 29th. Just one question, re the "Both were eating lunch in the food court of Chicago’s Water Tower", who was the other person? Appice? And what was wrong with RJD that he wasn't able to greet anyone at the moment? Hope the food didn't ...make him sick. You never know with these food court places. :-)

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 6:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
bloodofheroes's avatar

Senior Reviewer

9. bloodofheroes writes:

Yeah, Sharon is something else, but it'd still be cool if they played some older songs. Iommi is right that some of the old ones are gold.

It was me & Dio eating lunch, but separately. And he was in the process of leaving and paying as I was as well, and it seemed like he had somewhere to go, so it didn't seem like the best time to bug him.

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 6:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
wilco's avatar

Member

10. wilco writes:

brother a good artical
dont worry about the typo
you do beter than me
hornsup

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 7:32 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. duncan hills writes:

that's hilarious, h&h kick ass, but coheed and cambria let the crowd down at sonisphere in knebworth too (by not turning up) and then it p***ed it down (to quote dio) when h&h came on!

# Aug 26, 2009 @ 8:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianSD's avatar

Member

12. BrianSD writes:

how and why do Coheed and Cambria end up on the tours like this? weren't they on tour with slipknot and trivium, and now heaven and hell?? aren't there 1000 more fitting bands for these tours. they (c&c) should be touring with queens of the stoneage or something similar. get heavier bands for these tours.

# Aug 27, 2009 @ 1:25 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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