Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Black Sabbath Heaven and Hell @ Casino de Paris, Paris (duh) - June 23rd, 2009

Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice might be touring under the name Heaven and Hell, and they might only be playing songs from Ronnie's tenure in the band, but let's not kid ourselves: this is Black Sabbath.

Last time this line-up played Paris was at the Élysée-Montmartre in 1992, with Testament opening. And I didn't go, because I was a Black Sabbath snob: if it wasn't the original Ozzy line-up, I didn't want to hear about. Because of this I didn't get into Dehumanizer until a few months later, but by that time it was too late: this iteration of the band had once again imploded and I've been kicking myself ever since.

I also skipped the Sabbath shows in 94 and 95 with Tony Martin, but I did get to see Ronnie with his Dio band three times but I never thought I'd get the chance to make it right.

But then the unthinkable happened: amidst a silly lawsuit with Ozzy for the rights of the Sabbath name, Ronnie, Tony, Geezer and Vinny regrouped under a new moniker, and even released a new album. With the exception of the first single Bible Black, The Devil You Know was somewhat of a disappointment. But the concert wasn't: finally, I got to see an acceptable version of Black Sabbath. Finally I got to see Tony Iommi up close, and what an exquisite player he is. As for Ronnie James Dio, he is pushing 70 (!) and his voice is as impressive as ever.

There were many highlights, from the opener E5150/Mob Rules to Children Of The Sea, Die Young, Heaven And Hell... They could call themselves Pépé Ronnie and the Butt Plugs, and it wouldn't change the fact that they are for ever legends of Heavy Metal and Rock n' Roll.

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