I must admit to not being familiar with COHEED AND CAMBRIA, so I went in flying blind. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised in what I found. Plenty of retro-70’s tricks (talk-box, theremin) repackaged for a new generation that missed it the first time. Picture a heavy metal KANSAS? They went over well with the younger crowd and served as a more than competent stop-gap to the main event.
But it was HEAVEN & HELL that I was here to see. Now I think this is my third show in as many years, so I knew pretty much what to expect. And once again, they didn’t disappoint. Ronnie consistently delivers performances ranging from impressive to spectacular. (Only once have I ever seen him on an “off night” – that’s how rare an occurrence it is.) Tonight he was verging into the spectacular realm. You could see in his demeanor that he was feeling great about his voice; not only delivering 100% on the songs, but going above and beyond the original versions; ad-libbing extra melody lines and extending out phrasing. It was a complete joy witnessing him still in total command.
Opening with the ever-effective taped intro “E5-150” and launching straight into the shredding “Mob Rules”, the band came racing out of the gate. Devastating. In moments like this, there’s nobody better!
The classic “Children of the Sea” quickly followed, then onto the somewhat over-looked “Dehumanizer” gem (and a personal favorite of mine) “I”. At this point they could do no wrong. Tony’s chilling wall of doom spilling icy sonic sheets of power. Instantly, I’m 14 again.
Still using last summer’s Masters Of Metal staging but now with some new material to showcase, we were soon treated to the first single “Bible Black” off the latest CD, “The Devil You Know” . Though I’m still not in love with the disc, (a little sludgy for my tastes; more mid-70’s SABBATH than early 80’s?) the live setting definitely breathes energy into the new tracks. (We’d eventually hear two more, “Fear”, and the most recent single, “Follow The Tears”.) More deep classics followed (“Falling Of The Edge Of The World” and a possible show highlight, “Die Young”) before culminating in the epic journey that has become “Heaven and Hell”. By now this finale has grown into a living beast, writhing its tentacles around every twist and turn- it’s actually become a breathing entity! The band is so seasoned, it’s on total autopilot and just going along for the ride. Geezer proving once again why he’s such an influential master. Ozzy would never dare venture into such improvisation.
After a quick breather it’s on to the encore. An opening “Country Girl” verse devolves as only a quick tease and it’s straight into the more obvious “Neon Knights”, performed with all the class and majesty expected. Another triumphant evening. While it’s unknown how many more tours this band has in them, I implore you to check it out while you still can. So, what are you waiting for?