Live Report - Heaven & Hell, Alice Cooper, & Queensryche
Metal Reviews
September 7, 2007 - Uncasville, Connecticut

Release year: 2007
Reviewed by Mike

Sometimes working a second job has its benefits, other than the extra income it provides. After basically wearing me down all summer, I finally reaped a very nice benefit from this side job. I scored a pair of free tickets to see Heaven and Hell, Alice Cooper, and Queensryche! It's always a good thing to make acquaintances with the promotions department of your local radio stations when you have the opportunity to meet them.

Friday finally arrived, and off to the Mohegan Sun Casino I was with a friend of mine. The show was scheduled to start at 6:30, which seemed strangely early to me. With most people working on Friday and then fighting weekend getaway traffic that evening, the start time seemed simply dumb in my mind. Luckily, the both of us were able to leave work early so that we arrived with plenty of time to spare. As it turns out, "technical difficulties" pushed the start of the show back 30 minutes, which surely allowed more people to arrive in time for the start of the show.

Just a few minutes after 7:00, the lights dimmed and Queensryche took to the stage. I must admit, Heaven and Hell and Alice Cooper are who I came to see this night. Don't get me wrong, I love jamming Queensryche material in my stereo up to and including the Empire album. However, I have little interest in anything beyond that. For me, the band did spark some interest with their latest opus, but not close to the level of excitement I used to get from their albums. Having said that, I was hoping for (but not expecting) a set full of early material. I'm not at all sure what song the band led off with, and neither was my friend. In fact, my friend asked me, "What are they doing? Playing Pink Floyd songs?" Geoff Tate played sax in between vocal lines, and this song truly did have a slow, psychedelic Floyd vibe to it. If it were a Pink Floyd cover, I wouldn't know it since I'm not a fan in the least. I still don't know what this mysterious opening track was. From there, the guys unleashed Queen of the Reich and I Don't Believe in Love. Queen of the Reich in particular sounded fantastic, and I only wish they'd incorporate more of that into their current sound. These guys can clearly still rock out as hard as they ever have. From there, the guys played Hostage and two other tracks (sorry, don't remember which ones, but I think Speed of Light was one) from the new album. That was it. Queensryche was only given a 30 minute time slot. Already doomed to a thin crowd with the early start, the band was further disadvantaged with such a short time slot! While the band's performance of the new material was strong, another 15 minutes to kick out some classic tracks shouldn't have been too much to ask. However, I guess the band accomplished what they wanted to with their brief time; generate interest in the new album. The crowd response was lukewarm at best. Of course, there were only about two thousand people present during their set, and I do believe most of them were waiting (and left waiting) for classic tracks.

During the set change, the arena really began to fill up. I would guess that Alice Cooper and Heaven and Hell were easily the main draws, but the early start time on a Friday night absolutely hurt Queensryche. Next, Alice burst on stage with No More Mr. Nice Guy. I must tell you that Alice Cooper put on a truly entertaining show. As he performed the opening track, he danced around the stage waving a sword. Each and every song was accompanied by backup actors or an over the top display be Alice himself. Alice ran through all the classics as well as some new numbers. I loved the irony of and aged Alice singing Eighteen and the many 50 and 60-somethings in the crowd rocking right along with him; gotta love it! Say what you will, but Alice moved around stage like he was eighteen. Alice threw fake money into the crowd during Billion Dollar Babies, wore patriotic clothing and toted "Alice for President" and "A Troubled Man for Troubled Times" signs during Elected, and had stage full of zombies and grim reaper like creatures chase him during Welcome to My Nightmare. Some doctors carried a body around on stage during Feed My Frankenstein and Alice tossed some fake necklaces into the crowd during Dirty Diamonds. Unfortunately, I don't remember the particular song, but the best stage prop was watching Alice led into the gallows, strung up into a noose, and hanged at the end of one song. I was so caught up in the acting that I don't remember much else about that moment at this point! Alice played for just over an hour, and these over the top theatrics accompanied each song. Alice was surprisingly energetic and seemed genuinely happy to be performing. Each song was turned into a well choreographed theatrical performance, and the musicians behind Alice delivered the goods as well. The crowd absolutely loved each song, and his performance drew by far the most applause of the night. The encore of School's Out and Poison left the crowd roaring in appreciation.

With a tough act to follow, headliners Heaven & Hell finally hit the stage. The set was very appropriate for Dio; a castle! The stone walled castle had a set of medieval, flickering lights the dimmed and brightened along with the music. An iron fence stood in front of the castle wall. The half oval windows of the castle were used to project images of album covers, and video of the guys playing. The only thing that dimmed my excitement was the extremely fat, sweaty guy who moved down and sat in the row in front of me. Not that I have anything against fat people, but the dude kept farting during the set! This combination of nauseating smells was absolutely disgusting, but it did provide fodder for a long list of jokes. Also, my hunger disappeared quicker than a prostitute from a church, which is a good thing. At least I was no longer tempted to spend ridiculous amounts of money on overpriced, trashy, and stale venue food. Anywho…. The band opened with Mob Rules, and it sounded just like the album. Ronnie James Dio has somehow managed to preserve his voice into his 60's, and the rest of the band was right there along with him. It was so great to finally hear this track live. While not as loud as Alice Cooper, the band's sound was a bit more tight and crisp. The bass was just pounding my ribcage the entire time, giving the sound the dark and heavy feel that you expect from the Geezer Butler / Tony Iommi duo. The band went through classic tracks from the Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules, and Dehumanizer albums. Included in the set list (again, I can't remember every track) are Mob Rules, Children of the Sea, Heaven & Hell, Die Young, Voodoo, The Sign of the Southern Cross, Falling Off the Edge of the World, and Computer God. The soloing during Computer God was simply awesome. What a great and often overlooked album Dehumanizer is. Vinnie Appice laid down one helluva drum solo, which was actually worthwhile instead of just buying time for the rest of the band to grab a quick drink. The guys extended many of the songs with extra soloing and maybe an extra verse / chorus. Most notably, Heaven & Hell was given the theatric treatment, as it had to clock in at nearly 15 minutes. Some extra guitar soloing and Dio's interaction with the crowd were on tap during this cut. After about 80 minutes total playing time, the guys left stage after the super extended version of Heaven and Hell. Some people left the venue thinking the show was over, though. However, the lights were still dim, indicating that the expected encore was next. After a couple minutes, the lights came on, and the canned music began playing. Fittingly, the oldie "That's Life" played over the in house stereo. What??! No encore?! No Turn Up The Night or the obligatory Neon Knights?! No. Denied. Go home, Dio has left the building. This led to a smattering of boos and "Dio sucks!" heckles from the crowd. Everyone around me just looked at each other saying, "What the fuck?!" while others shouted "Neon Kights!!!!!" to no avail. Heaven and Hell had called it a night prematurely. Perhaps they noted folks leaving after Heaven and Hell and / or the noticeably louder reception for Alice Cooper and decided to bag the encore. At any rate, those left in anticipation took this as a low blow as we left. Shouts of "Fuck you Dio" and "Dio sucks!" were very prevalent in the concourse on the way out. Honestly, I'm surprised that nothing was thrown at the stage or other acts of retaliation. There were A LOT of very pissed off people in the arena. Unceremoniously, the show was over, and everyone just left Despite the very bad vibes, no violence erupted, just plenty of expletive laden tirades.

Without a doubt, Alice Cooper stole the show on this night. I have a renewed respect for this man and all the music he has delivered over the past 35+ years. Still, after all these years, the man still delivers his music was passion and the exuberance of a man half his age. Even though Alice has a couple down albums in his catalog (Dragontown being the chief offender), there is no doubt that the treasure chest full of gems outweighs the minimal bad material. Furthermore, he is able to deliver those classics in a live setting that completely captivates his audience. Not to take away from the songs that Heaven and Hell DID play, but what basically amounts to their bitch slapping of fans at the end of their performance left a VERY bad taste in a lot of mouths. Although I thoroughly enjoyed their show, I felt slighted by not hearing at least Neon Nights and being able to properly applaud the band after their encore. From talking to people on the way out and on the shuttle bus back to the parking lot, the general consensus was that Alice Cooper was by far the best performer of the night. Also, each person I talked to strongly felt that Heaven and Hell badly shit on their fans on this night. All in all, I was very happy with my experience. I've always been a huge fan of Dio and Black Sabbath, but I simply cannot defend how they treated their fans at the end of the night. This is a shame since these guys have been a part of metal for nearly 40 years, and are looked upon as Gods of the genre by many. Truly sad. However, I cannot ignore the nearly 3 hours of awesome music that I did hear.

Killing Songs :
Neon Knights
Mike quoted no quote
Other albums by Live Report that we have reviewed:
Live Report - Mgla, Lvcifyre, Wode - 15th March 2019 - Rebellion, Manchester, UK reviewed by Goat and quoted
Live Report - Pestilence, Grimaze, Damim, Cryptic Shift - 23rd February 2019 - Rebellion, Manchester, UK reviewed by Goat and quoted
Live Report - King Crimson - Uncertain Times Tour - 9th November 2018 - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, UK reviewed by Goat and quoted
Live Report - Voivod & Bio-Cancer - 6th October 2018 - Rebellion, Manchester, UK reviewed by Goat and quoted
Live Report - Xandria, Kobra and The Lotus, Once Human and Bullet To The Heart reviewed by Joel and quoted No Score
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