HEAVEN & HELL – Live From Radio City Music Hall

HEAVEN & HELL - Live From Radio City Music Hall
  • 9/10
    HEAVEN & HELL - Live From Radio City Music Hall - 9/10


Release date: August 27, 2007

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What started out as a simple compilation album of vocalist Ronnie James Dio’s tenure in Black Sabbath resulted in recording three new songs for the album, and from this a few promotional dates snowballed into a full scale worldwide tour encompassing The United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia… such was the interest in these veritable Rock legends.

Dio’s links with Sabbath originally date back to 1980’s Heaven and Hell album where he replaced an increasing erratic Ozzy Osbourne and helped to rejuvenate the dying embers of a band well past its sell by date, and in doing so produced one of the all time classic Hard Rock albums. Mob Rules followed a year later and reinforced Sabbath’s position at Rock’s top table. However, after a somewhat unsatisfactory live album in the form of Live Evil, Dio left to form his own band as Sabbath soldiered on with a revolving door of sidemen.

Dio returned briefly for the disappointing Dehumanizer in 1992 only to leave following a dispute over supporting Ozzy Osbourne at Costa Mesa. Sabbath themselves reunited with original singer Ozzy Osbourne in 1997 and continued to be a successful draw on the concert circuit for nigh on a decade.

With a lull in their respective schedules and following the interest created by the Dio Years compilation, a reunion became inevitability. Original drummer, Bill Ward, quickly dropped out to be replaced by Vinnie Appice, resulting in the reuniting of the Mob Rules/Dehumanizer incarnation of the band.

In a masterstroke, the band decided to adopt the moniker “Heaven & Hell” to avoid any confusion with Ozzy-era Black Sabbath and also enabled the band to concentrate purely on Dio-era material. This gave guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler the chance to play material they had not touched in years and allowed Ronnie James Dio to sing material more suited to his incredible voice.

One of the biggest gripes of this line-up was the lack of a really great live document of the band. Live Evil fulfilled this in part, but the overall sound and lack of crowd atmosphere did not quite meet the standards that the band deserved. The visual side was even more poorly served with the erratic Black and Blue double header with Blue Oyster Cult long deleted on video.

The long yearning for a high quality document of this band in the live arena has now arrived. Recorded at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York, this DVD and double CD serves as a fitting record of Heaven & Hell in full flight.

After the brief intro of “E5150,” the band launch into “After All (The Dead),” an unexpected selection to open the show with the ensuing “The Mob Rules” being a more obvious choice.

The classics come thick and fast. The sublime “Children Of The Sea” shows the depth and sense of melody of Dio’s voice to perfection, and encapsulates the innate sense of dynamics within the band.

The lesser known and rarely played songs such as “Lady Evil” and “Lonely Is The Word” receive welcomed airings much to the delight of the crowd. It is perhaps the featured songs from Dehumanizer that benefit the most from these recordings as the performances, particularly on the rifftastic “I,” really bring these songs to life with a new found energy and aggression, as well as a simply gargantuan heavyweight production that adds power and depth that was maybe lacking from the original recordings.

The new recordings, “The Devil Cried,” announced by Dio with a chucklesome “Boo bloody hoo!!” and “Shadow Of The Wind” are of such a uniformly high quality that they could quite easily have been long lost outtakes from the Mob Rules recording sessions.

The real centre piece of the whole album is the triple attack of “The Sign Of The Southern Cross,” which shows the band at their most majestic with a towering riff that lays waste to all in its path; the thunderous riffing of “Falling Of The Edge Of The World” and the timeless “Heaven And Hell.” Each track showing why Dio, Iommi, Butler, and Appice are considered masters of their respective crafts.

A rampaging “Neon Knights” brings the show to a close and what a way to end the set!

Dio’s voice throughout is stunning, displaying the power and range of someone a fraction of his age; Iommi and Butler combine to create riffs so darned heavy, yet so memorable, that nobody can come within a mile of matching them, and Appice welds it all together with a thunderous, driving beat.

The DVD footage really brings the show into your living room, capturing the scintillating atmosphere of the occasion to full effect. The picture quality is sharp and the camera work top notch with plenty of full stage shots and some excellent close up images too without jumping from scene to scene in a migraine-inducing haze like some DVD’s. In fact, the camera work is so clear you can pick out the Aston Villa logo on the tape on Geezer Butlers thumb!!!

DVD extras which include a Road Movie, band and fan interviews together with a look backstage at Radio City are interesting, if not essential.

Live From Radio City Music Hall finally provides a compelling document of this line-up on stage and regardless if you go for the double CD, DVD or special edition DVD/Double CD box set, you can be assured that you will possess a classic performance by a classic band.

Heaven & Hell commence an 11 date UK tour on Sunday 4th November at Newcastle Metro Arena.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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