Black Sabbath Concert Reviews
August 19, 2009

Chicago, IL
Charter One Pavilion


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


  1. Unknown

No pictures are available yet - email Joe if you have some to submit!


I just left Heaven and Hell in Chicago about six hours ago or so. I had to drive home to St.Louis. But anyway, here is my review:

Rain, rain, rain like a sob up until 7:00 then it stopped. Couldn't believe it.

Who the hell is Coheed & Cambria?? I talked with several people around me and they were in the same boat. NOBODY knew jack shit about them. I could not understand why a band like H&H would have them open. I have heard of Coheed & Cambria but don't know much about them. I was not impressed. I had second row to this show. I would say the they were a cross between Alex Winston and King Kong Brody. Why H&H would defile themselves with an opening act that no one could perceive is beyond me. And yu can bet the reaction has been the same all over the U.S.

H&H kicked. VERY good. I saw them in '07 from second row as well. From a fanpoint I think they are tighter now. Seemed a little more fluent then '07. I got some VERY good video of this. About half the show. From second row. My impression after seeing Dio this time and before and solo and Sabbath w/Ozzy many times, etc., is why would you want Ozzy?? He can't sing. He can't do anything. RJD is 6 or 7 years older and moved around the stage tonight real good. I was impressed! He sounded good too. I've got it on video. I sware I think he was trying at times to show how much better he is than Ozzy. No shit. The setlist is about the same as it has been.

Now I swear I could have heard RJD day something about another album after this tour is done but I was drinking and filming when he said this. So I could be mistaken.

The show was kick-ass!!! I don't know what else to say. It really was good. I was impressed. I don't like to bash my band but this is two years in a row they are using the same stage set. RJD sounded clear, and I don't know what else to say other than he was at his best! So was the band!

Special thanks to the guys who sat behind me and put up with my shit recording. Gave me a slap on the back and said good deal.

Joe where does your fat, lazy, disgusting ass get off asking for donations because you have a website?? How much is it worth?? You make me want to puke!! Stuck-up fuck!!

Posted by: butch at August 20, 2009 5:11 AM

Set list was the same as previous shows. Band was tight and thunderous. Dio's voice was soaring and powerful. The crowd was into it and H&H delivered the goods.

Posted by: Matt at August 20, 2009 7:01 AM

It rained and thundered and lightninged for about 2 hours before the show. Luckily I had a poncho on. It was actually cool because I love thunderstorms. Then it stopped just in time for the show to start. Maybe Heaven and Hell has some powers. The storm before the show actually made the night cooler and added to the atmosphere...I loved it. Anyway, the show was awesome. Judas Priest is my favorite band and I saw them last month at Charter One, but I have to admit this show was better. In fact Heaven and Hell was better on the Masters of Metal tour last summer. They are just awesome on stage. The set list was the same as from their first concert on this tour, which is listed on a 5/5/09 post in the latest news section on this site. I am glad it was that one too because that set list is superb and you couldn't ask for a better one. I'd pay to see that again and again. Ronnie sounded superb and Iommi was brilliant. Butler and Appice were at the top of their game too. There is absolutely nothing to complain about and it may be the best concert I've ever seen. Yes, it was that good and I don't say that after every concert. The thing I notice about the band, and I've seen them 3 times now, is that they enjoy themselves and each other up there more than any other band I've seen. I've never really felt that way at a concert before. But they joke around with each other (especially Iommi and Dio) and seem to really, genuinely respect and like each other. You can just see it. And I think that's what makes their shows so great all the time. Bible Black was amazing, as were all the songs they played off the new album. I think Bible Black and Follow the Tears are two of their best songs ever. And Fear is great too. The whole night was awesome and the weather made it that much cooler. I wouldn't change a thing about last night. I just want to tell anyone reading this if Heaven and Hell are coming to your town in the future, definitely go. It is worth every penny and more that you'll pay for your tickets. Thanks.

Posted by: Mark at August 20, 2009 11:00 AM

After seeing them at Red Rocks 4 nights before I kinda knew the set list, but I would not tell my sons so they were surprised. Does this band put on a bad show?? I would say not!! We snuck up to front row,(which no one seemed to mind) I gave my buddy my camera and he filmed the first hour, and I filmed the rest. Little digital camera, picture a little fuzzy, sound a bit muffled, but it's an awesome keepsake. This set list seems to be set in stone for this tour, which is fine. I have old Sabbath footage from 1980 with this line up and I honestly think they are better live now than they were in they're supposed prime. Toni rips thru these songs so easily it scares the common guitar player. He ranks up there with the best of all time hands down. Ronnie must be sipping from the fountain of youth. He sounded just as good as he did at Red Rocks a few nights before. I can't understand how a man of his mature age can still bring it like he does night after night, but he does. I agree with the previous post. I love Ozzy to death, but there is no way in hell Ozzy could deliver a concert performance this strong today. Heaven & Hell is a much heavier band with RJD leading the pack. Geezer's fingers move so freaking fast it makes your head swim, yet with hardly any effort. Vinnie, what can you say, pounding the crap out of the drums and sounding as good as ever. I hope they filmed a show somewhere on this tour, because from what I have witnessed twice in 5 days they are tighter and sounding better than on the Radio City dvd. Thank You H&H for another amazing performance!!

p.s. Butch, clean up your act a bit, you should be embarrassed at how you ended your post...

Posted by: Mike Becker at August 20, 2009 12:08 PM

I enjoyed wednesday night to the fullest except for the rain. I had 1st row seats in the bleacher part just behind the vips which was a pleasent suprise.The venue was probally 1/2 full in my estimation which was a little dissapointing. Coheed and Cambria was a capable opener in my eyes. They had good energy and the crowd was feeling them. The cover of the trooper was well recived by most of the pavilion.Heaven and Hell were just like a machine on stage. the three new songs(bible black, fear and follow the tears) sounded great. All of the classics were full of energy. A funny moment happened when a woman threw her bra on stage during the encore and ronnie was dancing with it, I was very suprised with that one. This being my 4th time seeing sabbath and my third with this line up I just felt like they have cemented their reputation of putting on stellar performances. Hope to see them in 2010.

Posted by: eric at August 21, 2009 4:01 AM

A week after the Black Sabbath show in Chicago I’m finally sitting down to write a review. I have been to dozens of concerts in my life. Some have been underwhelming and then again, some I just saw for the sake of seeing a live show. Black Sabbath has always been my favorite band and I kinda had a hunch that this may be the last time they tour with Dio so I made sure to get tickets despite their shitty price and my shitty financial situation.

I really don’t like outdoor shows and the last time I saw Sabbath with Dio (in Chicago in 2007) was a kinda crappy experience for reasons not related to the four awesome musicians on stage. I will review that concert separately and submit it to the site at some point.

With this show, I was nervous because I was taking my girlfriend who doesn’t like crowded situations and isn’t really a fan of Black Sabbath. I also was afraid some morons would ruin the show like drunk bastards tend to do (and I still can’t figure out why they bother going in the first place). On top of all of this the weather was TERRIBLE. The drive from Iowa was slow and through a downpour for half the way. Then it started to clear up as we outran it but figured it would catch up with us in Chicago. We were wrong and the weather was great. A nice cool breeze coming from the lake, some amazing clouds descending ominously on the Chicago skyline and the most beautiful and complete Rainbow I have ever seen over Lake Michigan. It was at this point a guy said, “Dude, they totally have to play Rainbow in the Dark now!” Um, all right dude…I guess I shouldn’t crap on his enthusiasm though (even though I never understood why people liked such a poppy song…I digress).

Coheed and Cambria opened. They were decent. My girlfriend kinda digs them but it was sort of an odd fit with Sabbath. I noticed security was pretty lax, especially compared to the assholes doing security at the All State Arena in 2007 (I was harassed about showing my 3rd row ticket 3 times by 3 different security guards within 15 feet of each incident).

So being 7 rows back this time I started planning on how I could get up close. I certainly didn’t want to risk pissing off some security guards and getting kicked out but I also didn’t want to risk getting stuck further back with some drunk morons that don’t even dig Sabbath.

So I wonder up the aisle and just sort of wait around 3 feet back from the barrier which was the only area security was trying to keep clear. We started to scoot a little closer as we could tell they were getting closer to coming on. A guy in a wheelchair and his cousin parked up front. I was asking them if they needed through or help with anything and I didn’t get very straight answers. Later I realize they had the same plan as us. The dude in the wheelchair took up the space of what two people would but I could tell there probably wasn’t any other place in the Charter One Pavilion that had a good view for those that can’t stand. This guy also chatted with me about Sabbath and knew his stuff so I could tell he was a hardcore fan.

When the lights went out I freaked out like a teenager. I’ve been listening to Sabb since I was 13, about 14 years ago and the feelings all of the sudden rushed back to me about how I felt when I first got into them. Sure I’ve seen Sabbath three other times (twice with Ozzy…VERY underwhelming) and once with Dio (with some crap distracting me on the side), and I kind of knew that this concert was going to be THE definitive experience for me. When Tony came out in front of us we all freaked out. The sound was great and LOUD (which some concerts don’t do anymore). Tony and Dio were extremely interactive with the crowd, even though Iommi stuck to his slow brooding stage presence, in every song he still made eye contact with the crowd several times and even started stomping his feet and practically jumping in the air (albeit barely an inch).
Ronnie always has had very unusual stage banter and dare I say kinda dumb (hey, not all the time…and the dude is one of the greatest front men of all time but you gotta admit it), but at this show Dio even laughed at his own comments. He made some comments about a tornado coming to get us (which was quite funny and quite possible given the weather and all the warnings) and he also rambled on about the world going to shit but we should worry because they’re here, we’re here, and they brought the music. After he said the last one he sorta looked at Iommi and they shared a laugh as Dio shrugged as if to say, “I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.”

Regardless of that extremely minor criticism, Dio was on fire! His voice isn’t the same as it was in the 70, 80, or even 90s, but he is still better than probably every other vocalist in metal. A few times I could hear it crack a bit but I think that’s because he got overconfident given the awesome energy the audience was sharing with him.

Sure the length of the set was a bit disappointing but it’s pretty kickass that they pulled out Time Machine as well as the new songs which went over pretty damn well. They had a screen which projected digitized images of some of the subject matter from album covers (such as the Mobsters from Mob Rules, the Neon Knight from Live Evil, and the Devil from The Devil You Know). While they were very cool, they played them on a loop which kinda broke the momentum. For instance the Knight would be swinging his sword from side to side and then it would cut back to the first position and do that for the entire song.

Anyway, my criticisms are so insignificant compared to the amazing show they put on. Tony seemed to be a tad frustrated with his hand and had to shake it off a few times but his frustrations were not reflected in his flawless performance. Without a doubt the best part came during Neon Knights when a girl up front that I may or may not know took her bra off and through it on stage. Dio saw this, and picked it up with the most hilarious look on his face. We looked over to see that Geezer was cracking up as well as Iommi. Dio decided to have some fun with it and swing it around for a while before throwing it back by the drums.

For the second time I caught a few picks by Iommi but ended up giving up one to a guy that offered me twenty bucks for it. I felt bad for doing that but hey, I have driven 3 hours each way every time I have seen Sabbath so I deserve a break. The guy in the wheelchair next to me was in awe of Iommi and expressed extreme frustration that he couldn’t stand. It was quite heartbreaking but we made sure to leave a space open so he had a good view. A few guys tried to cut in front of him but we put an end to that and surprisingly, they were very cool about it and apologized. By far the most respectful crowd I have seen in a while, though everyone still got into it by pumping their fists in the air and banging their head; the way it should be.

All in all, I could not have asked for a better show. The crowd was great, the band was AMAZING, and it was a truly magical experience starting with the rainbow over the lake and the fog over the city. I can only hope they continue to tour though I wonder if we will ever hear another non-Dio or Ozzy Sabbath song on stage. If not, it’s a shame, but its definitely better than never hearing another post-Ozzy song on stage at all. After seeing the creators of heavy metal, Geezer and Tony, and the Godfather of Metal, Dio, up so close and having such cool albeit minor interactions with them, I can say I have had the ultimate Sabbath experience. I can’t forget Vinny though who did great and honestly, people really dug his drum solo. THAT’S how energized everyone was.

Sabbath is truly the greatest band ever…live…in the studio…or even touring under an alias. Every concert from this point forward has a LOT to live up to.

Posted by: Madman at August 28, 2009 1:31 AM

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