Heaven and HellAVA at Casino Del Sol, Thursday, Oct. 4
Halloween came a little early at Casino del Sol's AVA, as the reunited Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath with second singer Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinny Appice) cast a dark spell over Tucson during its 90-minute set.
Metalheads young and old filled AVA as they witnessed not only one of the best heavy-metal tours in recent memory, but also the lineup that brought the true evil moniker to Black Sabbath.
As part of the celebration of the reunion, Heaven and Hell only played songs from the three albums of the Dio era of Sabbath (Heaven and Hell, The Mob Rules and Dehumanizer).
The stage was set up in a way that made it look like Heaven and Hell was performing inside of a medieval castle, with iron-cross bars covering the group's amplifiers.
Creeping out onstage while "E5150" played and the lights flickered like a lightning storm, guitar legend Tony Iommi ripped into the opening chords of "The Mob Rules." Dio then belted a blood-curdling scream as the band raged into its opening number.
"It's been a long time since we could say this, but how are you, Tucson?" Dio asked the crowd to a roaring response.
The devil horns were pounding in the air as the group played "Sign of the Southern Cross." Iommi's guitar was thick and heavy during the song's main riff, and the crowd ate it up with constant headbanging. Geezer Butler's bass was so powerful that those sitting in the lawn section could feel their heart about to rupture. Throughout the song, Dio sinisterly smirked and acknowledged the crowd by giving them the devil horns and thumbs-up.
"Computer God" proved why Iommi is the original riff master of heavy metal, while "Falling off the Edge of the World" not only mesmerized the crowd, but also gave the impression that everyone inside of AVA was going to die.
During "Heaven and Hell," the crowd competed with Dio to see who could sing louder, and Dio's vocals grew more mighty as the song progressed. Iommi also treated the crowd to an incredible solo during an extended jam of the song.
Although the band members are well into their 50s and 60s, you could have closed your eyes this evening and thought you were seeing this concert back in the 1970s.