HEAVEN & HELL – Back in 1982, an elite group of musicians known as Black Sabbath released a double live, molasses heavy album titled: Live Evil. In 1982 those two vinyl disks were like gold, to a then sixteen year old who knew a whole lot about nothing. Going on three decades later, that Live Evil album still is gold to this same dude, who knows a little about something. Fast forward to 2007, the legendary lineup of Ronnie James Dio (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Vinny Appice (drums) returned to public view known as Heaven & Hell, with their Live From Radio City Music Hall double live album, released on Rhino Records. This legendary foursome was back… albeit a name change. Taking on the name of one of the most prolific Heavy Metal albums ever to be recorded, Heaven & Hell was now this bands identity.
Yes, Bill Ward was the amazing drummer on that phenomenal Heaven And Hell album from 1980, a legend without discussion. However, Vinny Appice is one quarter of Heaven & Hell and always will be. I won’t dare compare the Live Evil album of ’82 to this newly released Heaven & Hell: Neon Nights, 30 Years Of Heaven & Hell, Live In Europe, (released November 16, 2010, on Armoury Records for Niji Productions). There is nothing to gain by comparing this band to itself, some three decades prior. I am not the same person I was three decades ago… the past is a memory and the future is today.
This historic Heaven & Hell concert was recorded at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany, back in 2009. Yes, the late and ultra-legendary Ronnie James Dio does sound older on this newly released live album, only his vocals still gives me the same euphoric chills now as he did so many years ago. While listening to Neon Nights-Live In Europe, I realize I’m listening to a man who was a fighter, a man who was not going to back down to any illness that may invade his body. I think of my father, who is currently battling cancer, I think of his strength and will to live as well. I could only hope and pray that I can be as strong and courageous as these two amazing men.
It is the human factor that comes across so strong and vividly on this new Heaven & Hell album, I’m listening to a band that was with me all those years when I was lost and now listening to a band when I was found. The images and memories just come alive for me, as I keenly listen to this Heaven & Hell album… memories of seeing DIO on the Dream Evil tour of 1987, remembering holding, listening to and staring at my Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll album, while being introduced to real Rock ‘N’ Roll at an age where it was most important. I reflect on that first time I heard the opening riff from Tony Iommi, clearing the path for Voodoo and how it made me a believer in what Heavy Metal does for my soul.
No, this is not going to be a standardized album review of this new live Heaven & Hell album. I can’t find it appropriate in my heart or soul to give one. Instead, this album is a celebration of what these four men, these musicians, have given to me and an untold number of other fans for three decades plus… their music speaks louder to me now than it did in 1982. I’ve found my new piece of gold that I’m holding, listening to and staring at in 2010, the only difference now it being a CD, the one constant is… it’s Heaven & Hell.
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Track Listing For Neon Nights – 30 Years Of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe:
Children Of The Sea
Falling Off The Edge Of The World
Follow The Tears
Heaven And Hell
LONG LIVE THE MUSIC OF HEAVEN & HELL.
REST IN PEACE, RONNIE JAMES DIO.