Black Sabbath Concert Reviews
August 30, 2008

Glen Helen Pavilion
San Bernardino, CA


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


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Just got back from the Metal Masters in Southern California. Unfortunately I got there just as Motorhead was ending but the guy behind me (I was seated dead center 8th row Orchestra) told me the mix was awful for Motorhead and all he heard was noise and only recognized 2 songs.

The sound and mix for Sabbath was awesome for the first four songs plus drum solo, then Ronnie's voice was often buried in the mix. Overall the Sabs were absolutely phenomenal - no surprises for the setlist and Ronnie's voice was strong and it soared on Children of the Sea, I and Southern Cross. Then the momentum was lost with the drum solo (which wasn't bad at all but just wasn't necessary either) and Time Machine was lost in the mix, but by the time they did FOTEOTW, Die Young and Heaven & Hell, things were solid again. There were at least 10,000 people there for Sabbath and the band owned the audience. Unfortunately, while I would love to believe that these 9 songs would be the backbone of their set next year with six new songs thrown in from the new album, I think we're all going to be disappointed. I think age has crept up on them (perhaps Ronnie's voice mostly) and I don't think we're going to be getting 110 minute or 2 hour shows like we did at the very beginning of the 2007 tour. They have now dropped 8 songs from that 2007 setlist (Lonely, Lady Evil, Voodoo, After ALl, Computer God, and the 3 Dio Years tracks) and added only Time Machine and I know this is a metal festival and they are not headlining, but I don't expect more than say 10-12 songs played next year. Oh well, they are still phenomenal with 9 songs. Geezer is just a madman on the bass and there were lots of smiles between Tony & Geezer, Tony & Ronnie, Tony & Vinnie and Ronnie & Geezer. Vinny I've become more and more impressed with over time - while his drum solos are not that exciting what he does in the middle of epics like Southern Cross and H&H is tremendous - I was always a Keith Moon, Bill Bruford, John Bonham, Neil Peart, Bill Ward, and Chad Smith fan, but I'm really thinking of placing Vinny up there as well. And of course, Tony, was masterful as always. The highlight for me was Southern Cross. I also enjoyed the fact that they had a new stage design for us - now I just wish they would have had a new setlist for us as well (Time Machine doesn't count when it's the only addition!). Final comment, as awesome as Neon Knights is as a song, for those of us who grew up with this era of Sabbath it seems anticlimatic placing the song at the end of the show b/c whenever I hear that song it reminds me of all the great songs taht followed it on side 1 and side 2 of the original LP.

Now, onto Judas Priest. I think the audience didn't get that much bigger for Priest meaning that although the show wasn't sold out it seemed pretty close to being so and I'd say 99% of ticketholders were there for Sabbath. I'll list the great things about Priest first:
1. The setlist is awesome - to give you an idea (you've all seen the setlist I'm sure, but try analyzing it this way): for the first 11 songs, the casual metal fan or someone who didn't grow up with Priest would only recognize 3 songs (Breaking the Law, Electric Eye, and Metal Gods). What this means is that for the first 11 songs, they played 8 songs that were not played on the last tour! Prophecy/Hell Patrol/Hamnmer & Anvil/Eat Me Alive/Devil's Child/Dissident Aggressor/Rock Hard, Ride Free/Angel - this includes 3 songs they've never played live (Angel and Hell Patrol and Prohpecy) and at least four songs that had only been played on the tours for the albums the songs came from (RHRF, BTHATA, DC, EMA). I think Dissident Aggressor was probably played on a tour other than Sin After Sin b/c it got some attention in the late 1980s/early 1990s when Slayer covered it. They also left out LAMN - thank God and reintroduced Green Manalishi which had been left out on the last tour. Fortunately Hell Bent for Leather and Another Thing Coming were in the set as was Painkiller, but I must admit I'm sorry to have to have seen Beyond the Realms, The Sinner, Death, and Victim being given a break. Overall a very brave and exciting setlist that the band played to perfection and Halfor sang his heart out on every song.

And speaking of Halford, here's the bad news:
Why the Hell can't he learn the lyrics to the songs? After all he wrote them and recorded their original versions (except for Manalishi). Seeing him doing the same thing he did on the last tour, hunched over the teleprompter and stalking the stage when he used to be so much more dynamic and interacted more with the crowd - he clearly has lost his confidence with the crowd b/c he only goes out there when he's singing a song he's done five million times (eg., BTL, MG, Electric Eye), but for Devil's Child, Hell Patrol, Prophecy, Angel, Between Hammer & Anvil, Rock Hard/Ride Free, Dissident Aggressor, Eat Me Alive, etc he hulks over the teleprompter which must have the words come in at different speeds or with indications of how to sing them b/c you can see him "conducting" the words as they come out with hand motions and then he'll back away and stalk but get right back into position to read the next verse - it's downright embarrassing and keeps him away from the audience, unlike Ronnie who is out at the edge of the stage on every song - what the hell is going on with Rob? Giving him dumb things to do like putting the flags up and literally popping up with elevators etc is just an excuse to keep him busy so he doesn't have to engage the audience directly unless he's doing a routing like in Breaking the Law and Another Thing Coming for which he doesn't need a teleprompter. I'll ask this again, why can't he just learn the lyrics - I mean wasn't it only 2004 when he replaced Ozzy at the last minute and sang a Sabbath setlist that he of course had been familiar with but had not really rehearsed? Anyways, KK, Glenn and Ian were solid as was Scott, but Heaven & Hell ruled the evening. Back to Priest, if Rob doesn't learn the lyrics how the hell is he going to pull off playing/singing the entire Nostradamus album (which is awesome!) without looking ridiculous with the teleprompter. His hair has gone, he's also got a bit of a gut - thank God his eyes haven'g given out yet or he wouldn't be able to read the teleprompter and we'd get no concert. I'm being very critical here because I care about Priest nd their legacy very much.


Posted by: Krish at August 31, 2008 2:56 AM

Well let me start by saying I have so been looking forward to this show. And the bands did not dissapoint. Saying that I have to tell you Testament sounded good from what I could tell as the venue was so disorganized I was outside with about 90% of the audience trying to get in because they didn't have nearly enough security or staff for this event. By the time I finally got in, and my wife and I were in about the middle of the crowd, Motorhead was starting there set. When we first drove in to the venue we were actually pretty happy becuase the sea of cars you normally see there for Ozzfest was not present. So we thought it would be a smooth transition getting in to the venue...NOT! The venue had worse lines, crowd control and security then almost any of the Ozzfests I have seen there. Its unfortunate they have to use this venue, because its a pretty crappy venue!
Ok, enough about the venue, I was there to see Heaven and Hell!

Motorhead put on an awesome set as always, this is my fifth or sixth time seeing them and Lemmy knows how to get the crowd going, and with Mikey Dee on drums you get a great experience, he can truly wail on those skins!

Up next the highlight for me Heaven and Hell! You could see right as they were setting up the stage we were in for a special treat! The back drop had an eerie castle vibe going complete with chains and almost an appearance of a mote as well as two huge gargoyles perched in each corner. It was truly a Sabbath expereince and the band hadn't even hit the stage yet!

Once they hit the stage the crowd went nuts! This is my third time seeing the line up and and each time they seem to gel well with each other just a little more! Ronnie seemed in an exceptional mood and shared this with the crowd. Geezer, Tony and Vinny played a very tight set. Vinny had an amazing drum solo right before they launched in to Time Machine! Tony did a killer solo opening up Die Young. These guys have always, always been some of the most talented musicians in my book! While I am a huge Ozzy and Dio fan, I would pay to go see Sabbath with NO vocalist just to hear those 3 guys play together, there musicianship is amazing and never gets old!

One hell of a show guys! THANK YOU!

Set List:
1. E5150 / Mob Rules
2. Children of the sea
3. I
4. Sign of the southern cross
5. Appice Drum Solo
6. Time machine
7. Falling off the edge of the world
8. Iommi Guitar Solo / Die Young
9. Heaven and Hell
10. Neon nights

Now lets not forget that Halford, the Metal God, and Judas Priest hadn't even hit the stage yet! Another amazing set from the Metal god and the Priest. The back drop of Nostradamus, the opening of the set with Rob coming out all in costume to support the theme! Rob can still sing! I have seen Priest a few times to and they never dissappoint.

But my favorite Rob performance is still seeing him front Black Sabbath in 1992 as he filled in for Ronnie at Ozzys (cough, cough, cough) retirement show! Rob can sing anything! I hope he does a few more shows with the Halford band or the Fight band! I was also lucky enough to catch what I think was one of the very first Fight shows at the Whisky in Hollywood! Amazing vocalist! Priest rocks!

All in all the Metal Masters Tour was one not to forget, despite the venue issues, lack of security, the bands pulled it all together and left the fans wanting more! Can't wait til next time!

Posted by: Bill Roxx at August 31, 2008 1:56 PM

i went to this gig.
started partying the day before the show.
needless to say i was pretty trashed bythe time i got in.
i was up in the lawn.
testament-i love them and they kick major ass, but in the lawn i could not even hear them.
motorhead-i could hear then a bit better and louder than testament, and lemmy killed as usual.
ronnie can still nail the scream at the beginning of "the mob rules", except this night he hit a note so high i though his balls were in a vice grip.
blew my fucking mind away!
ronnie,tony,geezer and vinnie fucking killed!
and the were so loud it was wonderful!
trying to follow the mighty sabbath was a severe mistake this night.
priest kicked ass, i have always loved my priested out heavy fucking metal, but rob's voice was cracking badly,he forgot the fucking words(pulling an '83 us fest DLR joke. us fest 1983 heavy metal day was my 1st time with the priest)
there were some nice surprises in the priest setlist,(rock hard,ride free,green mamlishi with the two pronged crown,between the hammer and the anvil), but it was too short of a show.
also, living after midnight was not performed at all.
what a real letdown.
i hate to say this because i love priest a ton, but they really let me down for the first time ever.priest dropped the ball.

Posted by: ace diamond at September 18, 2008 7:40 PM

Please see my review of the Mountain View show on August 31, which is about this show as well (I attended both shows, and wrote a "compare and contrast" piece) Richard

Posted by: Richard Leach at October 24, 2008 1:01 PM

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