Definitive Paris 1992 (Zodiac 467)
Elysee Montmartre, Paris, France – September 15, 1992
Disc 1 (54:03) E5150, The Mob Rules, Computer God, Children Of The Sea, Time Machine, War Pigs, I, Die Young, Guitar Solo, Black Sabbath
Disc 2 (41:24) Master Of Insanity, After All (The Dead), Drums Solo, Iron Man, Heaven And Hell, Neon Knights, Paranoid / Heaven And Hell (reprise)
Of the three studio albums Ronnie James Dio made under the Black Sabbath banner, Dehumanizer is certainly the dark horse. Released in June 1992 the record provided enough press to put the band back into the spotlight and the addition of the song Time Machine from the movie Wayne’s World certainly helped, as did the video for TV Crimes which received air time on MTV’s Headbangers Ball. Old problems soon resurfaced and Dio’s time with the band was unfortunately too short, thankfully the line up would get another chance under the moniker Heaven and Hell, a project that would be the final chapter in Ronnie’s life.
There is precious live material circulating for the tour to support Dehumanizer, the Boston August 9, 1992 broadcast has made up the majority of the silver releases, needless to say I was quite surprised and very excited when I saw this new title queued up in the new release announcements. The recording used for this exciting new title from Zodiac is an excellent audience source. The taper was close to the action and picked up a well balanced detailed capture of the performance. The intimate venue has a capacity of 1,400 people, the crowd are perfect in the mix of this recording. Thankfully, between the songs they are quite vocal and their cheers provide the perfect ambiance with the atmosphere and energy of the concert being perfectly captured.
The recording begins with E5150 intro being played over the PA system, halfway through chants of “Sabbath…Sabbath…Sabbath” are begun by the audience, Black Sabbath take the stage with the perfectly apt The Mob Rules and firing on all cylinders. Dio spews the lyrics of Computer God like venom much like his vocals on the Dehumanizer record. Vinnie Appice’s drums are perfectly captured in the recording, his fills are perfectly intertwined with the steady beat. Ronnie greets the audience with “Hello Paris Yeah! …thank you” and proceeds to introduce Children Of The Sea. His vocals, “In the misty morning on the edge of time” at the quiet beginning of the song is sung beautifully and quite powerful, follow control of his massive range giving the majestic feel. One also gets a feel of the venue acoustics during the quiet parts, the sense of its size is evident, one could dream of seeing Black Sabbath in such a small theatre.
Ronnie introduces Time Machine as being from the Wayne’s World movie, the song is perfect for the stage, very Rock and Roll fast and furious. The Ozzy era Sabbath tunes are the same from the previous tours from this line up, War Pigs is the first one of the set introduced as something “A little bit more from the past…”, the audience helps Ronnie with the vocals, the popularity of the song has become part of our culture, the 50 year old lyrics still ring true. One punter is so inspired by the music he screams uncontrollably, sounding maniacal, finally sounding in tune with the band towards the “oh, oh, oh” scat vocals at the end of the song. The brutal I is next, one of my favorite songs on Dehumanizer, aggressive riff and an even more aggressive vocal from Ronnie. Father Iommi’s guitar playing is absolute genius, running his wah pedal through some other effect pedal gives it its own voice, part protagonist, part aggressor.
Always excited to hear the glorious Die Young, such a powerful song with Tony’s superb riff and Ronnie’s passionate vocals, a barn burner in every sense of the word. The song segues into Tony’s guitar solo accompanied by Geoff Nichols’ ambient soundscape over the top. The band join in for a bit of fun and take an instrumental take on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath before eventually heading into Black Sabbath, the song, heralded by some ominous cracks of thunder. Love the Dio versions of this song, always giving the lyrics a different feel with his mastery of vocal delivery. Master Of Insanity is a riff-a-thon is every sense, it’s like a Prog epic with abrupt changes giving it motion. Great to hear a few of the hardcore fans singing along just prior to the transition to the incredibly heavy After All (The Dead), an absolute Sabbath classic in riff and lyric, a monster of a track. Sadly, both songs are abbreviated versions, the latter gives way to a Vinnie Appice drum solo that gives way, as expected, into Iron Man.
Like War Pigs, the audience lends the chants to the song as expected, Iron Man is a monolithic song, Geezer’s bass lines expand upon Iommi’s riff giving the main theme depth, his fingers are flying during the fast part at the songs end, brilliant playing. The culmination of the set is Heaven And Hell, Ronnie gets right into the lyrics and one can easily detect his passion for performing this song, the audience response to the music is tremendous, singing and cheering throughout in total reverence to the piece. By the time they get into the “Life is like a carousel” part the song is so thunderous it will topple the listener, ten minutes of pure musical bliss. The chants for more come right after the band leave the stage at Hell’s conclusion, their singing chants are calling for their heroes return.
Tony comes back onstage and teases the crowd with a few notes, a quick drum check and Ronnie introduces “Thank you, check this one out…here’s an oldie for ya, this is called Neon Knights”, listener hang on, as soon as the band begins this one will level you with pure Metallic force! This is a take no prisoners version of the song, the band firing on all cylinders, the audience in total sync, a glorious unification. Tony plays a brief snippet with a Western feel that quickly evolves into Paranoid, like Neon Knights the version is a burner, the audience sing along, certainly headbanging as well. Of course the song contains the excellent Heaven And Hell reprise, ending the concert in superb fashion, the crowd cheers and exhales, a brilliantly played concert.
The packaging features Dehumanizer era live and posed shots with official graphics, a thing of beauty. The CD’s have Computer God style graphics as does the bonus numbered sticker, all of this housed in a slim lined jewel case. This is an excellent release by Zodiac, the performance is superb, the sound quality is excellent, an essential release for fans of Black Sabbath and Heavy Metal music alike.