Heaven & Hell – Live At Clarkston (Tarantura TCDH&H-1)

Live At Clarkston (Tarantura TCDH&H-1)

DTE Energy Music Theatre Clarkston, Mi. USA Monday August 18, 2008

(71:24) E5150, The Mob Rules, Children Of The Sea, I, The Sign Of The Southern Cross, Drum Solo, Time Machine, Falling Off The Edge Of The World, Die Young, Heaven And Hell, Encore Neon Knights

With the help of Led Tattoo, Tarantura has recently showcased the Fresno Rock N Roll Archives featuring two Rainbow shows from the late seventies and a mid eighties Dio show. This time he is back showcasing a recording done by Mo-T of Heaven And Hell during the Metal Masters Tour co headlined with Judas Priest that hit American “sheds” during the summer of 2008.

Clarkston is just North of Detroit Michigan and DTE used to be called Pine Knob (still is to regular concert goers in the area) and is an amphitheater that holds crowds of 15,000 people.

With most outside recordings you can hear a little phasing at times caused by winds and this recording is no different, obviously captured in the lower pavilion the sound is near excellent with all instruments clearly heard and well defined and has a nice bottom end.

The reunion of Heaven And Hell in early 2007 sparked the imagination of metal fans throughout the world and the band toured America, Canada and Europe extensively, the momentum generated carried over into 2008 and the document featured here. The band, older and wiser, put the music first and it shows. The versions of the material can be considered definitive and its fitting that Ronnie was to end his illustrious career with his most profound work.

The recording starts with the opening strains of the instrumental E5150 (trivia time; 5, 1 and 50 represented as Roman numerals render V, I, and L, put it all together and you get EVIL) and the band hits the stage swinging with Mob Rules, fast paced, heavy and a great opener and gets the crowd going. Ronnie shares a great story of playing the venue years ago where a fan jumps onstage and Ronnie’s security guy ran onstage to handle the fan and knocked Ronnie of the stage…..He says they would like to try it again but he needs no help falling off, he could do it himself.

The song that started it all is next, Children Of The Sea has the band playing methodically, slow and heavy and Vinnie’s drumming stands out as he hits with great but not over bearing fills that seem to punctuate the song. I is next, Tony plays a great riff through his wah petal to start the song probably the most aggressive song in the set, live it spews venom and Ronnie is at his best during lyrics like “I’m a virgin….I’M A WHORE” .

The first of two set center pieces is next and gets a huge response from the crowd, The Sign Of The Southern Cross finally got the live treatment it deserved when Heaven And Hell toured, not the edited version done during the 1981 tour.

Ronnie has the crowd laughing during his intro remarking “It’s hard to be evil in all this sunlight” and the opening strains echo over the audience then the main riff goes over you like a huge wave. Geezer accents the quiet parts with some tasty bass playing with some kind of wah on it that gives the song a different feel, great stuff.

The song ends and segues into a three minute drum sol by Vinnie Appice that rolls into a “new” song in the set, Time Machine from Dehuminizer and also for the Wayne’s World soundtrack and is just a prelude for what comes next.

Taken from side two of the Mob Rules this song for me is THE highlight of the set, the mournful intro has Dio sound likes he is weeping an is accented with some violin sounding notes that add that right feeling. Iommi plays a heavy chord before smoking the riff that takes your head off, the song is simply majestic and each band member puts their all into the song.

No time is wasted, as Falling ends the opening keyboards of Die Young begin as Ronnie introduces Tony for his solo interlude. I never tire of hearing Die Young live it delivers every time and listening to this version brings back memories of head banging frenzy, the ending part is so good, Ronnie hitting the vocals over Tony’s riff.

The crowd loudly gives its approval. Heaven And Hell is now and epic at fourteen minutes it hits all the classic parts beginning with Ronnie and crowd doing the OOHH part that starts the journey. There is no need to hurry, in fact they slow it down to give the song an even heavier feel. The crowd is right there as Ronnie sings “Its goes on and on its…..(crowd) Heaven And Hell”.

The group gets a chance for a little improvisation that lets Tony stretch out before Ronnie takes the stage for his theatrics…who can forget the red light from underneath as he says “A big black shape look up at me”, not this reviewer. The band turns it up a notch as they fly into the Life’s a carousel section and Iommi unleashes his brilliant solo just spot on.

The band returns for the obligatory encore as Ronnie states “We can’t go away without doing this one” and they launch into a fast version of Neon Knights with the crowd singing along, a great finale to a great show.

The packaging is a gatefold cover, a group shot on the front and a great shot of Ronnie connecting with a fan in the front row both doing his signature devils horns that was taken at the concert, very cool indeed. The inside has a live band shot and the same Ronnie picture as the back with a snippet of a newspaper review of the gig and is limited to 200 numbered copies. Tarantura has done a great job showcasing the live legacy of Ronnie James Dio and this is a nice add to that collection.

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