I just got home from the Heaven & Hell concert at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, what a show! I flew solo again because nothing was going to stop me from seeing the Dio-era Black Sabbath live again. The last time I saw them perform together was Summer ’92 in Boston, MA at the Orpheum Theater for the Dehumanizer Tour. Mohegan Sun is an hour drive from my house but it was 45 minutes longer due to construction. I ended up backtracking 20 minutes to get there without traffic.
The arena was sold-out and the crowd was a mix of old diehards (like myself) and young kids that are probably skipping school in the morning. Actually, there were a lot of young kids at the show. It just seemed odd to see that many underage fans at an arena inside a major casino. There’s not a bad seat in the house at Mohegan so I was pleased to be just above floor level and first seat on the aisle.
On to the show…..
First up was Machine Head. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard a Machine Head song until the show tonight, so I had no idea what to expect. I got 30 minutes of hard driving Thrash! Not a bad thing at all. The vocals put me off a little because I’m not a fan of the “growl” but I thought the band was pretty good. Good enough for me to track down a CD or two.
Thunderous applause greeted Dave Mustaine and company when Megadeth hit the stage. Another set of Thrash, can’t beat that! I don’t have the full set but some of the highlights were: ‘Peace Sells’, ‘Symphony Of Destruction’, ‘Holy Wars’, and a couple of new songs from the newly released UNITED ABOMINATIONS. Unfortunately, I’m not as familiar with the entire Megadeth catalog as I had thought because there were a few songs I didn’t recognize. Either way, the band played an hour and played great. The crowd’s reaction to ‘Peace Sells’ was just an explosion of energy, one that wasn’t seen throughout Heaven & Hell’s set.
My only reason for going was to see Sabbath. No matter what they have changed the name to, it is still Black Sabbath. Here’s the setlist:
- After All (The Dead)
- Mob Rules
- Children Of The Sea
- Lady Evil
- The Sign Of The Southern Cross
- The Devil Cried
- drum solo
- Computer God
- Falling Off The Edge Of The World
- Shadow Of The Wind
- Die Young
- Heaven And Hell (with guitar solo)
- Neon Knights
This is a pretty straight forward set for the band, my only criticism being that ‘Turn Up The Night’ was excluded. A minor detail because the show was fabulous. The band was tight and RJD was in fine voice. The real treat was the three songs from DEHUMANIZER. I knew that they would do at least two songs but to get ‘Computer God’ as well was fantastic. I’ve always enjoyed DEHUMANIZER and I tend to rate it higher than most Sabbath fans do. The two new songs from BLACK SABBATH – THE DIO YEARS went over well live but they were the low point of the night, the crowd wasn’t as into those songs as the classics. Understandable.
Dio was in fine form but I did notice that he was singing lower. If you’ve seen the Dio band live in the last few years, or you watched the HOLY DIVER LIVE DVD, then you know what I’m talking about. RJD gets a pass though because the man is 65 years old and he still sings better than singers half his age or younger. He might not be able to sing in his upper register all night long but he did when it counted (‘Heaven And Hell’, ‘Neon Knights’). Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice were extremely tight on the back end but it was Tony Iommi that stole the show. Iommi is the master of Heavy Metal guitar and he put on an absolute clinic onstage tonight. I don’t think he missed a single lick and he improvised a few details into his solos that added more to the songs. What impressed me was the ease in which he performed. The man is pounding out on his guitar and he is smiling the whole time, walking back and forth a little, and not using any “guitar acrobatics”. The man just stood there and played, not needing any extras to capture the crowd.
After the show, the band was setup at a table in the middle of the casino shopping area and they were having a “meet & greet”. The line was so long that the estimated time to actually get up to he stage was around 90 minutes. I figured that by the time my turn rolled around, the band would call it a night. I decided to skip it and head to the parking garage. All in all, I witnessed another excellent concert and added another Heavy Metal memory. If you get the chance to see this tour, go!