& Hell – Live Radio City Music Hall 2007
(SPV – 2007)
They aint played together for 14 years and you’d never tell from witness from watching this performance that was captured on film from the prestigious New York Venue that opened back in 1932. Did They had any idea back then what they let themselves in for? I think not. This was a building built for theatre and wasn’t intended to house one of the greatest set of Heavy Metal musicians known to man – ladies and gentlemen – this is ‘Heaven & Hell’ – Messrs Dio, Butler, Appice and Iommi who due to legal reasons could not use the name Black Sabbath – what the hell – scuse the pun – we get the classic Dio era of the band.
A totally sold out event where the band are as excited as the crowd to be gracing the stage again – we get a large handful of classics here that were culled from the 3 albums that Ronnie was part of and of course later drummer Vinny Appice – we are talking Heaven & Hell, Mob Rules and Dehumanizer with every one of these songs standing up with the power of the devil in their own right.
It’s a dark night in here with a backdrop of a castle with some cracking (scuse the pun) stained glass windows (well it looks like that anyway), with wrought iron graveyard gates at either side of the stage and Vinny planted in the middle at the back - stage left stands Guitarist Tony Iommi, stage right stands Bassist Geezer Bulter and of course on shining singing throat and devil horns is the sad sounding master of disaster tenor that is Ronnie James Dio.
All the classics can be heard that include knockout performances of ‘The Mob Rules’; ‘The Sign Of The Southern Cross’ (that was requested earlier that day); ‘Die Young’ (that Ronnie doesn’t want us to do); the song that made it all happen in the 1st place ‘Heaven And Hell’; ‘Computer God’; ‘Children Of The Sea’; E5150/After All (The Dead) and of course ‘Neon Knights’.
It’s really great to see Ronnie going down to greet members of the audiences with handshakes, handslaps, hi’s and hello’s. He thanks the audience for being there for the band on as many occasions as he can and is one of the true ringmasters of the heavy metal ceremony – notice I didn’t say ‘Black Mass’ (back to hell again, Glenn for even mentioning the words). Mr. D’s voice is as exceptional as it ever was back in the early days. All of the band are on top form throughout even including that loved or hated drum solo section which sounds great when Vinny plays to the music towards the end. It’s thunderously loud as can be expected but the sound is phenomenally good throughout where every note of Geezer and Tony’s can be heard perfectly.
Nice touches on the DVD to feature input from the fans outside the Hall – who are completely OTT at times – well they are buzzing with excitement so it’s no surprise really. There’s insights with the band members and their crew and even a section about Radio City itself from the venues Production Manager who tells us all about the lifts and lights that make the venue so special – but of course not as special as the band who played there that night – give it up for ‘Heaven & Hell’ and be sure to check them out when play at a city near you.
It has since been re-vamped and now includes interviews with all the members of the band who give their own interpretation of it all and also later interviews with Tony, Vinnie and Geezer about what Ronnie James Dio meant to them in both a personal and proffesional way - touching stuff.