Heaven and Hell
Allstate Arena - May 5, 2007
by Jackie Lee King with photos by Rob Grabowski
Dave Mustaine brought forth Megadeth with band members Glen Drover (Lead Guitar), James Lomenzo (Bass Guitar) and Shawn Drover (Percussion) touring in support of the band's current release, United Abominations (Roadrunner Records 2007).
If there was any doubt to weather Mustaine had fully recovered from his arm injury back in 2002 the proof was jack hammered into the banging heads of the crowd. During the official two-year break, Mustaine had time for introspection. He returned to his Christian upbringing, but still keeps the social and political commentary, including religion, alive in his music.
The continual theme of Megadeth's music challenges politicians and profits in their need to dominate the world, by any means necessary. Songs with ironic themes of destruction are interwoven with angry guitar thrashings with the hope of bringing on social change, or at least bringing it to the attention of the masses. Mustaine is nevermore so eloquent in his rage against the machine when he performed the band's new single "Washington is Next".
"Attack the church dynamic, attack the family Keep the public undisciplined till nothing left is sacred and the "have-nots" get hooked and have to go to the "haves" just to cop a fix"
Although quite calm in his movement about the stage, Mustaine channels the intensity of his lyrics into facial expressions of pain and vengeance that are covered up by his lion-esque hair. Just because he isn't jumping around doesn't mean that it's not present at the show.
The demonstration of defiance at a Megadeth concert comes from the riotous fans. Several mad topless "musical conductors", male and female, took turns in standing on chairs to rouse an already frenzied audience; no doubt fueled by booze and bud. If you fail to flail at a Megadeth show, you must be dead.
It wouldn't take more than a Megadeth guitar riff to open up the gates of Hell beneath the solid rock (and roll) ground. The band's speed-of-sound tempo and crunchy instrumental interludes has made Megadeth one of the most successful metal acts still out there.
With Mustaine's renewed outlook on life, he paused momentarily to thank the audience for coming out to support him and the band. Upon the announcement that the band had only one more song for crowd, the audience retaliated with boos. Mustaine calmed the masses by saying that he would be back soon and then launched into the band's closer "Holy Wars."
HEAVEN AND HELL
Heaven and Hell (HAH), previously known as Black Sabbath (the second coming), made a return to the stage in reprising the lineup they had back in 1980. The 2007 HAH lineup of Tony Iommi (Guitars), Geezer Butler (Bass), Ronnie James Dio (Vocals), Vinny Appice (Drums) are out touring in support of the new Black Sabbath Box Set: The Dio Years. Although technically this group can't be called Black Sabbath (in performing live), because the original incarnation that includes Ozzy Osbourne is on hiatus, it was a show for hard core fans of the band that dare not speak it's name.
This incarnation of the band, which was only together for a couple of years, amassed an impressive catalogue of rock anthems that were performed to a sold out show at the Allstate Arena just outside of Chicago. This is the second time that this lineup has reunited, the previous time being for 1992 Black Sabbath release Dehumanizer.
The band debuted the three new tracks, 'Shadow Of The Wind', 'The Devil Cried' and 'Ear In The Wall', but it was the black catalogue that brought the masses out to worship at the alter of Heavy Metal.
The stage show is an impressive castle set with unearthly characters projected on the back wall of the dungeon. Gothic crosses and cemetery bars housed stacks of Marshall amps that pummeled the ears of adoring fans. It was operatic in scale, befitting of Dio's lyrics during his tenure with the band.
This is a dark and brooding concert befitting of a graveyard caretaker's musings of the destruction of the soul and humanity. Some of the darker songs played were taken from the 1992 release included nihilistically and intense songs like, "I," "Computer God" and their opener "After All (the Dead)." The usual opener "The Mob Rules," which was featured on the Heavy Metal soundtrack quickly followed.
Dio was sedate with stage banter between songs, but it was his wild gestures, as if he were entertaining a royal court in medieval times, that roused the audience. The 'horns', an ancient cult gesture that he made popular back in the day, was flying feely about the stage and the audience. Though larger than life, in set and personnel, the rest of the band remained mostly stoic; digging deeply into the music.
These horsemen of the apocalypse escorted the audience on to their own destruction with wave after wave of sinister songs that can weigh heavy on the mind. These songs are nightmares that live in your subconscious; it just took this concert to bring them out for you to battle with in a public forum. By the end of the night everyone had their ass sonically kicked. This is a show that you have to go to at least once in your life; after all we are the last in line. Metal is such catharsis.
Set List for Heaven and Hell
1. After All (The Dead)
2. The Mob Rules
3. Children of the Sea
4. Lady Evil
6. The Sign of the Southern Cross
8. The Devil Cried
9. Computer God
10. Falling off the Edge of the World
11. Shadow of the Wind
12. Die Young
13. Heaven and Hell
14. Ear in the Wall
15. Neon Knights