- Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
- Tony Iommi - Guitar
- Geezer Butler - Bass
- Vinny Appice - Drums
- Scott Warren - Keyboards
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FAN SUBMITTED TOUR REVIEWS & REMARKS
Holy shite! My wife wanted to see Motorhead, as did I, so we brought the whole clan out there...our five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter in tow. Got there around showtime and tailgated it for a while in the parking lot, until Testament left the stage. The line was pretty long, so we got in there as soon as possible.
Found a great spot on the back of the lawn, got the kids into their headset-style ear protection(I work with machinery, so I know how important those things are), and settled in for the night. Motorhead were fantastic, as always. Could have been a bit louder, though. Loved the dancers that came out for "Overkill". I wonder if the girls were the inspiration for the two false endings!
Black Sabbath...I mean...um..Heaven & Hell, were 'kin brilliant! The kids were occupying themselves by running around us in circles the whole time. During the song "I", I took my son on my shoulders down to the rail on the lawn. He absolutely loved it, making the devil's horns salute, and shouting "Metal"!!!
These guys did more with 75 minutes on this tour than they did with two hours last year. They were jamming their asses off on every single song they played. They really brought it tonight. I hope to Hell that someone recorded this tonight.
Our Son decided he wanted to go home after Sabbath, so having read some reviews of Priest from this tour, I decided it wasn't such a bad thing. I didn't want to spoil the memory of such a fantastic Black Sabbath show by sitting through Judas lazy-ass Priest standing around the stage for 90 minutes. So, we were back into the North Bay by 10:30.
Dio was the gracious professional that he always is, and gave all he had. Tony and Geezer were absolutely on fire tonight. I've seen them on the Dehumanizer tour, two ozzfests, and last year's Heaven and Hell tour, and tonight was the best show I've ever seen from them. Vinny was busting his ass tonight, as well.
A good time was had by all, though I could have done with less of a security presence up at the back of the lawn. There was this roving mob of morbidly obese African American gentlemen who kept circling around us. I don't know if it was because we had our kids with us, or what, but it was Goddammed annoying. One of the guys looked so much like Fat Albert that every time he passed by, I yelled out "Hey, Hey, Hey"!
All in all, an awesome evening out, for the kids' first metal show. Couldn't be prouder.
Posted by: Rupert at September 1, 2008 2:22 AM
Was excited for this show in the Bay Area, but had some overall concerns about the show going into it. This was the last of the Masters of Metal shows and it sounded, from previous reviews that there were some consistent problems at many of the shows, ie.. Testaments sound, and Halfords voice. Well, no problems last night....
Testament opened and actualy sounded great, no problems with them at all. I had not seen them play in many years and they were just as good now as they were 15 years ago. Motorhead played a little gag on them by sending out someone on stage riding a donkey or something, pretty funny. Nice start to the show.
Twenty-five minute set change and then came Motorhead. Now, I have been a huge Motorhead fan since about 1983, and I have always been amazed at how long it took for them to get some sort of mainstream popularity, but now, they have reached that level. Motorhead always delivers. They ripped through their set at break-neck speed, I thought Phil Cambell's guitar was turned up a bit high, but oh well. Mikkey Dee's drum solo was sick !!! Testament got them back at the end of their set by placing a bunch of sex dolls and stuffed animals on their set and sending out some hot women to dance and writhe all over them while they were finishing their set.
Then came Black Sabbath (Heaven and Hell). The sound over all was really good, and the band was smokin'. I have seen Sabbath with every singer they have ever had except Glenn Hughes, and I last saw this line-up on the Dehumanizer tour in the early ninties in Oakland, and they were great then. But last night, they were killer, and Tony Iommi was on fire. He got a lot of solo time and it was really cool to hear him play. Appice's drum solo was not too long like others had suggested, and it was very creative and well orchestrated. The band played very tight I could have listened to them for hours.
Thirty five minute set change, and out came Judas Priest. They sounded just as clear and solid as Sabbath and Rob Halfords voice was fine. He used every facet of his vocal range
and hit all his notes. Priest was very solid, and the highlight of this set for me was hearing "Dissident Aggressor," great song, solid set.
Overall this show was even better than I expected. I thought Black Sabbath played great and I am really looking forward to the upcoming Heaven and Hell studio album.
Posted by: Wyatt. at September 1, 2008 9:51 AM
Testament was great, but it seemed like they started a little early, so we had to race to our seats. Their set was very short, which was odd considering that they are hometown heroes and had a lot of friends in the audience. Hopefully they will play the Independent again soon.
Motorhead was great and "Going to Brazil" was unexpected. 1916 is a great album and came out right went when I, and many of the others in the crowd, was in high school. Good times.
Obviously, I went to the show to see the true Metal Masters, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi. They both sounded great and played about as good a set list as could be expected given the amount of time they had to play. I've always really liked Dehumanizer, so hearing I and Time Machine were probably the highlights.
I'm not sure if I was having auditory hallucinations, but I could have sworn that Tony snuck a few riffs from the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath days while he was soloing and especially during the extended Heaven and Hell. Razor sharp.
Geezer Butler has never sounded better.
They should have spent a few bucks for better looking gargoyle statues though.
I stayed for about half of Judas Priest's set and while I respect their legacy, some of the stagecraft was a little over the top. Electric Eye was pretty sick though.
Posted by: Turtle276 at September 1, 2008 1:37 PM
Metal Masters 2008
My impression, beforehand, was that the Metal Masters tour this past summer would essentially be a showcase for top-billed Judas Priest, who had recently released their epic, double-CD album, Nostradamus. However, while I definitely appreciate The Priest, I am first and foremost a Black Sabbath fan, and would not have considered going to a MM concert if Sabbath hadn’t been on the ticket. For various reasons I missed seeing Sabbath during their 2007 tour, but went considerably out of my way to see them this time around, even though they were “second-billed” on this tour.
From direct personal experience attending Black Sabbath concerts over the years, I know things have to be right for a live show to “work.” Sabbath on an off night is just another forgettable hard-rock band. On the other hand, when Sabbath is ON, for me it becomes a transcendental spiritual experience like nothing else.
Okay, go ahead and roll your eyes. Heck, when I think about it “rationally,” it does sound a bit silly. After all, they’re just a rock-n-roll band -– four guys making a lot of noise -– and I listen to lots of other music that also really takes me places. All I know is that, though I don’t feel even remotely capable of articulating just what the phenomenon is, Black Sabbath live, and only Black Sabbath (in its various forms) live, has this particular affect on me.
Of course, Iommi is the key to it all, but he can’t pull it off by himself. Not only does the rest of the group have to be in sync, the Sound has to be right, the crowd has to be in tune, and I guess I have to be in the right frame of mind as well. (Of course, in general, the crowd and I can be brought around if the group and Sound are right; not so much the other way around.) I knew this and decided that one concert probably wouldn’t be enough to assure I got my fix.
For example, I saw Sabbath five times during the Reunion Tour in ’99, because, not only did I believe it might never happen again, I knew the chances that Ozzy would have a bad night were really high. And I was right, at least about the latter possibility; the first show in Las Vegas was so bad –- Ozzy was in his walking-death mode and barely functional -- I actually dreaded having to endure the next four shows. But two nights later at the Forum in Los Angeles, he was ON, the group was tight, the crowd was in sync, and the show was amazing. Ditto the next two shows –- San Jose was take-to-the-grave phenomenal -- then Oz got sick and the Portland gig was a wash. I got what I went for though. (Unfortunately, The Last Supper DVD, recorded later in the tour, does not even remotely capture the essence of those three shows.)
So I made it to two shows on this tour. The first show I attended in Devore was the former forgettable. The second show in Mountain View was phenomenal. Absolutely, mind-blowing phenomenal.
Night of the Living Priest
Saturday, August 30, San Manuel Amphitheater, Devore, CA
This was a bit of a nostalgic reunion for me. My “childhood best friend,” Jim, and I had been out of touch for close to 15 years and had recently reconnected. We saw Judas Priest together during their first American tour in 1978, when they opened for Mahogany Rush at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Southern California. (Coincidentally enough, at the Devore show a young fellow in the seat right in front of me was wearing a ‘77-‘78 Priest tour t-shirt that listed the dates and venues of the tour on the back.) Jim still lives in Southern California. I drove down from Eugene, Oregon, and got together with him a day before the show.
We made it into the venue halfway through Motorhead and met up with my brother, who’d arrived a bit earlier. Earplugs went in immediately. Motorhead does absolutely nothing for me. (My entire previous exposure to Motorhead was seeing them a couple of times when they opened for Sabbath in ‘95.) For me they’re simply hard-driving rock with no soul.
Sabbath came on at dusk. Earplugs out. Simply put, the show was a disappointment. Though the rest of the group generally sounded okay, Tony’s guitar was too far back in the mix for most of the show. During some of his leads it would get right out in front in your face, then drop back, even before the lead was finished. A couple of times it dropped out to where his stage monitors were louder than the main speakers. We were about 40 rows back, just in front of the box seats, so no way should that have occurred.
Black Sabbath has a tendency to have either quite cool or really hokey stage props and effects. Unfortunately, this tour was the latter. The gargoyles would’ve been a perfectly fine backdrop to the performance if they had been left alone as backdrops. But somewhere in the middle of the show their eyes lit up red and they spewed fog from their equally red-lit mouths. I simply wanted to leave. Talk about Spinal Tap.
Somewhere around the time Sabbath came on, someone started a bonfire in the back on the grass. Initially it was kinda cool –- a coven of “witches and warlocks” dancing around the fire, writhing to the Sabbath Sound. But occasionally the wind brought the stench of burning plastic into the crowd and reality kicked in –- just a bunch of idiots burning trash.
Perhaps that or the sound glitches affected the group, perhaps it was just an off night, perhaps it was just me, but they more-or-less just seemed to be going through the motions.
In stark contrast, Judas Priest was amazingly tight and on top of their game. Right from the start, everything was louder than everything else –- searing guitars, scorching vocals, thunderous bass, heart stopping drums, and all crystal clear. I thought that perhaps this was to be expected –- with a few notable exceptions over the years, it has been my observation that opening acts get substandard sound, so that the headliner blows everyone away. On the other hand, this was really a double-headlining show, so Sabbath should’ve had the same potential as Priest.
After the opening songs from Nostradamus, the earplugs went back in. I appreciate Judas Priest, and was a diehard fan in the late ‘70s, but lost interest when they moved into their “leather clad adolescent pop metal” phase they became so popular for in the ‘80s. I really like Nostradamus though, probably because it diverges from “adolescent pop metal,” with a breadth, depth and nuance reminiscent of (but much better than) an earlier era. Nonetheless, Priest was tight, the crowd was ON, and they stole the show, hands-down.
Night of the Darkest Sabbath (or, Experiencing the Larger Sound)
Sunday, August 31, Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA
This was another bit of a nostalgic reunion for me (the sequel...). My “early-adult best friend and fellow hard-core Sabbath-head,” Scott, and I saw Black Sabbath together at my very first rock concert at the Long Beach Arena in 1975. He was also present at the Mahogany Rush/Priest show in ‘78. He flew in from Casper, Wyoming. I drove up from So. Cal.
We made it into the venue right after Testament finished. I heard snippets of their songs while in line. I liked what I heard and would’ve liked to have seen them perform. We settled in for Motorhead. Earplugs in. They put on a rousing performance, replete with gorgeous young women gyrating around Lemmy and Phil during the encore. (That was actually kinda gross –- seductive beauty around those two ugly old beasts...)
Again, dusk, earplugs out, Sabbath hit the stage, and blew me away. I keep telling myself that this surely can’t be the loudest concert I’ve ever been to, or the best performance, but unHoly Fuck! Not only was the sound incredibly clear and wonderfully, overwhelmingly, inescapably LOUD, this was the last show of the tour and Sabbath was UP! Tony blew my mind once again. His guitar couldn’t be subdued –- the power chords were devastating, his leads more fluid and slightly more complex than on the ‘07 DVD. And, he’s just so fuckin’ cool... Ronnie’s vocals were soaring to the heavens (hells...?); he sounded better than I’ve ever heard him (and he’s 66 years old fer christ’s sake!). Geezer was a Precision Machine. And Vinny’s drums felt like a team of meth-freaked Clydesdales doing a tap-dance on my chest. It was obvious they knew they were in command and were all thoroughly enjoying themselves.
The control they had over the crowd was something to... Behold, I stand at the door and knock POUND YOU INTO SUBMISSION!!!
It was absolutely beautiful...
So beautiful, in fact, that the gargoyles didn’t bother me at all.
Afterwards, Scott kept saying, “How does a person prepare for that? I thought I knew what to expect, but it was still beyond any expectation. How does a person prepare for that?”
The Priest were equally up that night, but they are just a heavy-metal band. I left the earplugs out this time around and had a great time rocking out with them... but stayed in my body the entire time.
Stating the obvious –- speaking of old, with the exception of the drummers, who are in their mid- to late-forties, all the members of Sabbath and Priest are in their late-fifties to 60, with Dio the old fart at 66. And although the ravages of age are settling in on some of the guys more than others, they all seemed surprisingly fit. And they can out-rock anyone half their age. Hands-down.
Well, that little excursion set me back a pretty penny –- I purchased the tickets for everyone and spent almost $500 on gas to and from LA. I did it as much for the bonding experience with the guys as for the concerts, and I spent some time with my dad as well, so I don’t view it as only for Sabbath. On the other hand, I doubt I’ll pay everyone’s way again.
I’ll definitely journey to see Sabbath though...
Posted by: Richard Leach at October 24, 2008 12:55 PM
From: Tom Aartman
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 9:18 AM
Subject: Mountain View, CA show
As requested I will send a subsequent email with a photo attached. My buddy Rob and I attended the 8-31-08 tour finale in Mountain View, CA and did the VIP meet and greet. What a treat that was!! We arrived at the posted time of 3:15 for the pre-party meal…and that was also a huge treat. BBQ chicken and ribs and other choice items, not the standard tailgate-type faire most would expect. The party was well hosted with plenty of raffle items given out. We went in at 5:30 to see the show and, I'm not sure if it was because we sat too close (5th row center stage) or if it's just typical, but Testament's sound quality left a lot to be desired. It sounded like a lot of mixed noise. They performed well and everyone enjoyed them. Motorhead came on and performed as expected…awesome!! I saw them in 1995 opening for Black Sabbath at the Warfield in SF. Anyway they paved the way for the best of the evening….Bla…er….Heaven & Hell!! They played their standard stuff…in no particular order…….Mob Rules, Children of the Sea, Voodoo, I, Time Machine, Die Young, Sign of the Southern Cross, Falling of the Edge of the World, etc…. I was hoping to hear one of the new songs knowing they had already played "Ear In The Wall" earlier on this tour but to no avail. No disappointment though, for honestly their sound quality and crispness easily outdistanced the other bands, including the "headliner". After the show we were whisked away for the Meet & Greet. We were closer to the end of the line, but the wait was worth it. We bought programs and each member signed them. Geezer, Vinnie, Ronnie, and Tony were very accommodating. I got to ask Geezer about the song "Junior's Eyes" with Dave Walker and he said "yes that was when Ozzy left the first time" and I asked where might I find the lyrics to that version and he said "That's an interesting question. I'm not sure." I said "you should know, most likely you wrote it." Just greeted Vinnie with a "good show" and he was excellent as usual. I told Ronnie I could only hope I could sing half as good as he does when I get to be a 1/4 of his age. Told him also I have enjoyed his voice for a long time. He then presented me to Tony and we mused briefly. He showed me his finger nubs. All in all it was an experience I will remember forever In the picture my buddy Rob is with Ronnie and I am standing next to the legend Tony himself. Feel free to use or post the picture as you wish. Use this letter as a review as well.
Posted by: Joe Siegler at February 11, 2009 4:46 PM
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