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Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Music Hall (Blu-ray Review)

To commemorate the one year anniversary of legendary frontman Ronny James Dio’s death Why So Blu has gone ahead and prioritized this Blu-ray review of Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Music Hall to be be posted as soon as possible.  When Ozzy Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath back in the late 70’s the remaining members re-formed as Black Sabbath with Ronny James Dio as the new lead singer.   Heaven & Hell was their first album together and nearly thirty years later they would tour under the name Heaven & Hell. This is a review of their 2007 concert in New York at Radio City Music Hall.  Please take note that this will not be one of those reviews where we start picking sides on which line up was the best.  Regardless of who you prefer let’s all agree that Dio was an awesome singer and musician.   

Film 

It had been nearly fifteen years since the band we all know now as Heaven & Hell played together live.  It was time to rectify that.  The boys reunited for a tour which also paved the way for their newest album entitled The Devil You Know. Lots of special projects were to follow from both Heaven & Hell and Dio’s own band.  This of course would never come to fruition due to Ronny James Dio’s untimely death on May 16th, 2011 due to stomach cancer.

Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Hall is the perfect testament and tribute to the legendary hard rock heavy metal vocalist.  The band line up consists of: Tony Iommi on guitar, Geezer Butler on the bass, and Vinny Appice on the drums.  The boys are all in form I must say.  For such a little guy Dio belts out these impressive lyrics which such force, energy, and enthusiasm.  I got chills.  In fact when the band performed Children of the Sea I almost lost it.  It was so freakin’ cool!

Besides the obvious force of Dio’s vocals the band sounds tight and seem to have it all together.  From Iommi’s sinister guitar riffs, to Butler’s thunderous bass notes, to  Appice and his cannons  for arms, etc.  I thought he was going to topple his drum set a few times.  It also helps that all of these songs are smart, clever, and just plain well written.  Black Sabbath was never known for being a band that wrote “stupid” or “childish” lyrics.  Not in the Ozzy days and not in Dio’s days.  I think that’s why people connect with both incarnations of the band.  They’ve got something for everybody.

Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Music Hall on Blu-ray runs at nearly three hours and that’s just the concert itself.  Yes, you will get pummeled by their musical fury.  Heaven & Hell are a force to be reckoned with no doubt.  I can go ahead and say with confidence that I have become more of a fan than I was before.  I used to be a casual fan here and there, but the Blu-ray has seen to that and my impulses have gotten the best of me.  I’m on a mission to track down all of Heaven & Hell’s material.

If you’re just getting into the band or need an ample kick in the behind I would highly suggest you get in on what will possibly be  Heaven & Hell’s final show on the high definition format.  Metal fans, you know I don’t need to tell you what you need to do, right?  LOOK OUT! the sky is falling down!  LOOK OUT! The world is spinning round and round and round!  LOOK OUT! The sun is going black, black! LOOK OUT! It’s never never never coming back, LOOK OUT! 

Track Listing:

1. E5150/After All

2. Mob Rules

3. Children of the Sea

4. Lady Evil

5. I

6. Sign of the Southern Cross

7. Voodoo

8. The Devil Cried/Vinny Drum Solo

9. Computer God

10. Falling Off The Edge Of The World

11. Shadow of the Wind

12. Die Young

13. Heaven and Hell

14. Lonely is the Word

15. Neon Knights

Video

Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Music Hall is presented in 1080i 16X9 widescreen 1.85:1.  Here’s another winner from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  They know what’s up when it comes to video encoding.  When shooting a live show in HD (along with sporting events) the optimal resolution is 1080i.  This is all due to motion and how the camera captures it, but that’s a dfferent post altogether.

Heaven & Hell looks terrific.  Flesh tones look nice and healthy, the stage design really lends itself to high definition really well.  With just a minor bit of some banding and a miniscule amount of crush I would say that this is one of the best looking live concert Blu-rays out there.

Audio 

Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Music Hall is presented in DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM Stereo.  I watched it in the DTS lossless 5.1 and  LPCM (1.5 mbps), and I think the lossless soundtrack sounds the best.  The center channel is the workhorse, because it has to handle Dio’s magnificent vocals, and does so without a problem.  Iommi’s guitar creeps in from the right, and Butler’s bass from the left with Appice’s drums handled by the LFE.  Once the band gets into the groove of things (30 seconds in) the music envelops the room.  The surrounds never echo and handle the crowd cheers without distraction.  The Devil would be proud of this display of sonic bombast, in my opinion.  I know I was.

Special Features 

Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Music Hall has just under an hour of special features, but contains an EXCLUSIVE 11 minute interview(s) that can now be considered somewhat haunting.  It’s very cool, though.  The rest of the features contain interviews with the band, the crew, and the fans.  It’s your backstage pass to Heaven and Hell.

  • “Road Movie” – is a revealing behind-the-scenes look at the 2007 tour originally planned as a one-off that was so spectacularly successful, it not only solidified the lineup but spawned a new album, 2009’s The Devil You Know.
  • “Hail The Gods Of Metal” – takes the viewer into the inner sanctum of the Dio/Iommi/Butler/Appice chemistry.
  • “Meet The Mob” – shows just how beloved these musicians are to their fans.
  • “Radio City” takes us on a tour of this most hallowed hall.
  • “The Wisdom Of Dio” – speaks for itself. These never-before-seen additional interviews are only available in the Blu-ray format.

Final Thoughts 

Whether a you’re fan of Black Sabbath, Dio, or heavy metal in general, Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Hall on Blu-ray is the perfect way to relive the joy that these men have brought the world for over thirty years.  Ronny James Dio may be gone, but his voice will never be silenced.  It has been immortalized on this Blu-ray for all time.  RIP RJD \m/.

 

Order Heaven & Hell: Live Radio City Hall on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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