Back in 1992, news that Ronnie James Dio had rejoined Black Sabbath was a buzz around my circle of friends. The internet wasn’t even anything we could imagine that could exist so this kind of rumor was spread word of mouth and in metal rags all over the. When the band release “Dehumanizer” and announced that they would be touring, I threw my fist in the air in excitement. I would finally get my chance to not only see Black Sabbath but with Dio on vocals.
As the date arrived, my friends and I were eager with anticipation. What would they play? Would they suck? The opening acts for this show were Love/Hate and Danzig. Love/Hate ended up canceling which worked out fine because we thought they sucked. Danzig was a band we were looking forward to seeing. While I wasn’t a huge fan, I did dig songs like “Her Black Wings”, “Mother” and “She Rides” so this was going to be cool. Danzig was touring for their 3rd album “How The Gods Kill.” They hit the stage opening with “Godless” from the new album and right away the place was nuts. You could tell that there were a lot of Danzig fans here this night. The band played a tight 45 minute set featuring favorites like “Mother” and “Twist of Cain” and I was impressed. I felt like this was a great choice for an opening act. They were full of energy and you could just tell that they were giving 110% to this performance. Again, color me impressed.
We waited patiently as we tried to see who could call the opener. “Paranoid!” one of my buddies said. “Dumb ass! This is Dio! He would NEVER open with an Ozzy Sabbath tune!” I called “Neon Knights” since that was what they opened the “Live Evil” tour with back in ’81. The intro music of E5150 filled the hall as the Atlanta Civic Center roared to welcome Sabbath. Tony Iommi took the stage and right away slammed into the opening riff of “Mob Rules.” We just looked at each other, screamed and head banged with excitement. They looked and sounded absolutely amazing and proceeded to melt us down to nothing. Black Sabbath performed a blistering set featuring a mix of Ozzy era songs like “Black Sabbath” and “War Pigs but it was really the Dio songs like “I”, “Computer God” and “Die Young” that really had me floored. It was at this point that I realized that in my opinion, Dio era Sabbath was superior to Ozzy era Sabbath. Aw, you don’t agree? Well, I don’t care.
“Children of the Sea” was a moment I will always remember as Dio warned us all of impending danger to “LOOK OUT!” as the sky was turning BLACK BLACK!” Sabbath closed out the set with an epic call and response for “Heaven and Hell” but we just know they had to come back. My buddy looked to me and says, “What are they gonna do now?” and I said, “Neon Knights!” The band came back on launching into “Neon Knights” and I about fainted like a 15 year old girl and a Beatles concert. They proceeded to finish what they started and slay us to nothing with a reprise of “Heaven and Hell.”
Just by looking at the crowd that night, I could tell that everyone was totally aware of just what they saw. So many times I’ve heard people say (or said it myself) that they can think back to a concert and wonder if they knew just what an amazing thing they were seeing. Well people, on this night I (along with everyone else) knew just what we had seen. We had seen the triumphant and strong return of a legendary band that proved that they still had plenty of life left in them. After this tour, it would all come to an end not to happen again for nearly 20 years. This night was a piece of metal history that I was there for and trust me, it was as sweet and awesome as I said it was.
Black Sabbath Set List
E5150, The Mob Rules, Computer God, Children Of The Sea, Time Machine, War Pigs, I, Die Young, Guitar Solo, Black Sabbath, Master of Insanity, After All (The Dead), Drum Solo, Iron Man, Heaven And Hell
Encore: Neon Knights, Paranoid, Heaven And Hell (reprise)