Black Sabbath Concert Reviews
April 25, 2007
LA Forum
Los Angeles, CA


  • Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
  • Tony Iommi - Guitar
  • Geezer Butler - Bass
  • Vinny Appice - Drums
  • Scott Warren - Keyboards


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from Mark Olick <>
date Apr 26, 2007 4:53 PM
subject H & H review LA forum

Heaven & Hell at the Forum, Los Angeles

This show was simply incredible; what a Knight. The Heaven & Hell Tour finally rolled into Los Angeles bringing home many of metal’s finest denizens. Welcome home Ronnie, Vinny, Geezer and of course Dave Mustaine. Local Golden State boys Machine Head are also welcomed to Southern lands of the cross. Sorry I missed their set but tailgating is not what it used to be and they commenced at a punctual 7pm. Fortunately I adjusted my head enough and made like a machine, to get in the building that is the magnificent Forum, just in time to witness the sonic shock of Megadeth.

They were loud, aggressive, and impressive in their slightly increased tempo of atomic new and classic-deth favorites. What we got first was a taste of the new as the band opened with fresh track “Sleepwalker” off the yet to be released United Abominations album (due 5/17). The stage set featured a glorious backdrop of the new album art (inflicted soldier of fortune with bloodied burning angels and missiles pounding the UN building) and all band members sported the dress down look of jeans and T-shirts, Dave wore cool custom Megadeth wristbands. Their performance: absolutely awesome! They shifted into “Gears of War” and warned that “Washington is next!” two more exciting brand new tracks that displayed this band is still as heavy and politically active as they always have been. Dave happily pointed out that LA is ground zero for the Megadeth explosion. My favorite moments occurred when we visited the Rust in Peace album. Going to that bag four times to produce “Hanger 18, Take no Prisoners, Tornado of Souls.” After “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells…” nearly tore the place down they returned to Rust. When Dave said they could only do one more song I started to worry…then they ripped into Dave’s Presidential Campaign song “Holy Wars/Punishment Due,” excellent choice, like a two for one bonus.

I finally had redemption for the horrible Megadeth show I saw on the “…So what? Tour,” actually opening for Dio’s Dream Evil nightmare in Toronto. Back then Dave could barely stay on stage in a mess of technical difficulties and guitar glitches (probably sang only 1 or 2 songs that night while the band played in emptiness). Last night Dave was on fire when he took the rare lead from Canadiens Glen. Shawn Drover’s drumming excelled and even James Lomenzo (even with pick on bass) almost made us forget his White Lion daze. Dave dropped only one pick during the set (it landed on the stage); then at the end he took time to graciously toss out the rest to the crowd, what a gentleman. “You were great we were Megadeth!”

The arrival of Heaven & Hell in LA was another chance for redemption, for I was one of the fans that got Rob Halford instead of Dio during the Dehumanizer Tour the very eve of the original Black Sabbath reunion. Rob was amazing, as anyone can tell you, but Ozzy nearly killed me w/ his sub-par solo set. Driven from the concert by Ozzy’s lousiness (“Desire” or “Crazy Babies” ugh); I was forced to give up and missed the reunion because of my friend’s infamous one liner “I don’t care if Randy Rhoads himself rises from the grave tonight; I’ve had enough of this.” Yes we left too early that night (“Paranoid” w/ Zakk then Tony the same eve-yawn anyway), but I had found redemption at a later Ozzfest. Now I had the chance to redeem again with the Dio Black Sabbath.

The lights were doused and “E5I50” was played as the band took the stage in darkness. Then the spotlight shines on Tony as he stirs us into “After All (the Dead).” Geezer joins him in the intro riffs, Vinny crashes the beat! What a perfect opener. “What do you say to the dead?” Dio asks in song as he descends the steps of the drum riser (he also sang “It says in a book I just read; yes! There’s a chance of returning). The stage set provided a return to the epic arena concert days; so much more than a band just playing their music with their equipment dressed for street. These guys brought a crumbling gothic brick church set complete with massive wooden doors and burning lanterns. Cemetery gates covered the amps and arched window-screens danced with projections setting the mood for each song. While the rhythm section dressed basically, in black, Dio wore a silver mountain glittering tunic with elaborately patterned black pants and heeled elf boots. Tony had his blue-glass specs on, a long black jacket embroidered with a cross on each sleeve and silver cross dangling from his neck. Tony looked genuinely pleased to be playing these songs again in front of wiser fans as well as the next generation in need of some metal educating.

After the first song Ronnie said “Let me get a look at you, turn the house lights on.” He thanked everyone for coming and reminded us that “If you listen to fools…the Mob Rules!” The place went ballistic, everyone up on their feet. No one sat down as the band sailed into “Children of the Sea” and rocked out a tight witch’s valley version of “Lady Evil.” The set list followed closely what they were doing in Canada. My personal favorite “The Sign of the Southern Cross” killed in its fullest glory, extended with an extra bar before each verse. Unfortunately they skipped the new track “Ear in the Wall” but they did “The Devil Cried” and “Shadow of the Wind,” (off the Dio years disc); both were extremely well received. I heard these songs from downloads, but live they were very powerful and fit into the set nicely. You can tell the band loved playing these songs the most. Two more tracks from Dehumanizer, “I” and “Computer God” anchored with the classics and the new songs, achieving a heavy armada of a career retrospective. My only criticism, I have to dig deep for, but it seemed Ronnie did stagger some lyrics during “Falling off the Edge of the World,” at least he wasn’t relying on a teleprompter and his voice was superb, especially the high sustaining notes.

Vinny took a drum solo before “Computer God” while Tony did his introducing “Die Young.” Dio carefully set up the anticipated climax song of the evening. He said “the world is full of kings and queens that blind your eyes and steal your dreams it’s Heaven & Hell!” The song clocked in well over ten minutes with menacing jams and more of Tony’s solos and even a guitar/voice back and forth (like Zeppelin did so well). Dio got the crowd involved with the classic soccer-style stadium chanting ‘oooohhhhs’ over the main riff it sounded awe-inspiring. Of course the theatrical angel/devil shape staging never seemed better than it did this evening. No real pyro just projections of fire on the backdrop, but they had awesome smoke and cloud effects. A cool eerie tree projected for the “Shadow of the Wind” segment.

Sadly the boys only re-appeared for one encore song “Neon Knights” which bloomed into another finale with the stage lights dropping to form a triangle arch over the stage illuminated by blue neon light strips. We called for more and it seemed they had some time left, but that was it. No closing number of “Lonely is the Word” as some lucky Canucks can tell you (one of my favorite Iommi solos too). As I screamed “Nooooo!” like a young Darth Vader, the people in front of us laughed as the house lights popped on to the tune of “That’s Life” by Diamond David Lee Roth. Now that was fitting for a night of redemption in California.