Black Sabbath Concert Reviews
August 23, 2008

Cynthia Woods Pavilion
Houston, TX


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


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The Houston show (Woodlands, northern suburb) was fantastic -- large & vocal crowd. The set lists appeared to be the same as prior shows, but I didn't write them down. I purchased the VIP-Platinum package, which included a pre-party and meet & greet with H&H. Arrived at 3pm or so and was taken to a large, air-conditioned tent attached to the pavilion where tables for 10 were set up accomodating about hundred or so people. Hot/cold food with beer, wine, etc. Raffled off some posters, shirts, key chains, etc. Then, off to the show!

Testament (5:30-6:00) -- Started promptly at 5:30pm and rocked out. The crowd was sparse at this point, and it was still Texas HOT & HUMID. The sound seemed fine, although I would have liked a bit more guitar in the mix. Third row, stage left in the pit, so great spot to watch the action. The drummer for Testament really stood out -- he killed the skins.

Motorhead (6:30-7:15) -- After the standard 30 minute set change, Motorhead hit the stage with Lemmy's bass front & center. Lemmy was great -- "We are Motorhead, and we play Rock n' Roll!" Once again, the drummer was particularly good. Very loud -- standard 3-4 minute songs that began to sound awefully similar after a while. Ace of Spades was the highlight.

Heaven & Hell ((7:45-9:00) -- Heaven & Hell took the stage with E5150 playing, and Iommi rips into the Mob Rules riff -- sounded great! Then into Children of the Sea and the onslaught was on. The mix sounded great, and since the sun had gone down at this point, it was a lot cooler and the light show was effective. Dio was in fine form -- great voice that showed little strain on the high notes. Butler pounded away on the bass, banging his head from time to time but otherwise pretty stationary. Vinny really seemed to be into the show -- his solo wasn't as long as some have suggested, and I thought it was done well. Iommi was Iommi -- metal god. Great thick sound.

Ater the set, we were led back stage to meet the group. I was lucky to be fourth in line so that I could get back to see Priest without missing but just 2 songs. I had them sign the 2007 H&H Tour Program -- everybody was fantastic. Made a few comments to Dio and Iommi about how great the show was, and asked Dio if we were a better crowd than Dallas, and he said YES! (I heard from another guy who was at the previous night's show in Dallas that the crowd was dissapointing -- the Houston show at this point in the night was large, probably 10,000 or more). Shaking Iommi's hand was the highlight -- as a guitar player, just had to tell him how big an influence he had been. He thanked me and off I went to the Priest show.

Judas Priest (9:30-11:00)-- Priest had the slightly larger stage with steps on each side leading to the drum rise. Good light show. Tipton and Downing sounded great -- Downing was just a few feet in front of me and really jammed. Hard to see Ian Hill all the away across the stage, but he did his usual head banging throughout the show. Halford seemed to strain on many high notes, and as mentioned previously, he remained pretty hunched over most of the show as he paced around the stage. He was sweating profusely after the 3rd song. For me, the highlights were Electic Eye, Green Manalishi, and Hell Bent for Leather.

My friend and I agreed that H&H was the much better act -- sound/mix was crisper, and Dio hit the mark throughout with the rest of the band playing really tight.

Just a few more shows on this tour -- get out there!!

Posted by: John Edwards at August 24, 2008 12:15 PM

Great show. I missed Testament and arrived just in time for Motorhead. The guitars did not seem quite loud enough but they were awesome. Great drum solo by Mikkey Dee, and lots of enthusiasm in spite of the weather being very hot. H&H was on next and they sounded excellent. E5150 started off the show as it did on last year's U.S. jaunt, and it was followed by a "Mob Rules", then "Children of the Sea." Did not write the setlist down, but highlights included a "Sign of the Southern Cross" and "I" (great riff, very underrated track). Cool stage design. Two gargoyles, plenty of crystal balls and cool lights. The crowd was really into it, and so was the band. Tony seemed to be very enthusiastic. Priest followed and also was very good although Halford's voice has not held up as well as Dio's. Still, a very good bill and excellent H&H show.

Posted by: Mike at August 25, 2008 5:28 AM

Metal Masters - Living up to its Billing

It was labeled the heavy metal tour of the summer and all the hype. And if it weren't for Heaven & Hell, it could have been a lot less than we all expected.

I missed on Testament, those early starts are hard to make when you have other personal stuff going on and can't endure that many hours of heat and turbulence. Motorhead started the evening (actually it was daylight throughout their whole set about 45 min); Lemmy and his cohorts made good waves and set a mood for what was to come later, Ace of Spades rocks!

Heaven and Hell are the true macabre metal masters: the stage had a winged demon climbed on a spooky tree pedestal on each side, their eyes glowed red beams and breathed dry ice making them even more frightening. The backdrop was a simulated cemetary fence with columns crowned by a crystal sphere held by a demon hand and the light effects were awesome. No projections like last our but the band's cohesiveness and tight sound was amazing. Great set list mostly drawn from their debut album plus Mob Rules, "I" from Dehumanizer, of course, Heaven and Hell closed the evening. Dio as always in great singing shape and Tony Iommi's fire bursting guitar always a treat for fans.

Judas Priest had a hard act to follow for which they faired quite well actually. Kicking off with the Intro for Nostradamus, Rob Halford appeared covered in a silver shining cloak wailing his vocals throughout the night. Highlights included: Painkiller, Green Manalishi, Hellion/Electric Eye and Metal Godz. Great stage with lots of bannners and backdrops a la Iron Maiden, actually, they were the only ones missing but it was a true metal lovers dream. Hoping for another one next year.

Posted by: Leo Lopez at August 25, 2008 11:28 AM

we made the drive from new orleans to houston. stayed at the marriot hotel right next to the venue. my best friend his son and myself had the platinum packages. everything went off without a hitch. testament and motorhead rocked. then came on heaven and hell. we were third row center. sabbath sounded great. we have seen ronnie on every tour since 1983 till now. from areanas in the 80s to smallerclubs in between to last year in reno,nevada. he never ceases to amaze me. after heaven and hell finished their set, eveyone with platinum packages went backstage. one by one we all got to speak to the guys and get something autographed. all were very nice an truly made us feel welcome. got our pictures taken and back to the pit we went. finished off the night with priest. awsome show an awsome night. ronnie never disapoints!

Posted by: donny kliebert at August 25, 2008 2:23 PM

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