at Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway, Sunday December 4, 2005

DIO (Live at Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway, Sunday December 4, 2005)
Photo: Per Olav Heimstad


Unlike Uriah Heep and Dio, Asia had never played in Norway before, and were therefore responsible for the sale of a large part of the tickets for this evening. On a three band bill, the first band, given the shortest stage time, is normally and naturally the less attractive one, but this wasn’t too obvious this time around. Asia’s fan base was significant as the show started, but the number of Asia t-shirts was notably reduced by the end of Dio’s set.

Asia, the band which Geoff Downes and Steve Howe started after Yes ceased in the early eighties, has existed over three periods. Steve Howe was the first key member to disappear, then John Wetton left, succeeded by John Payne who took the responsibilities for the bass and vocal duties.

The present lineup only holds Downes and Payne as long term members, but the present band’s incredible guitar player, Guthrie Gowan, has been around since the late nineties. The drum nomad Chris Slade (ex-The Firm, AC/DC, Manfred Mann, and Uriah Heep) has recently left, replaced by the very skilled skinsman Jay Scheller.

Guthrie Govan’s huge instrumental calibre was thoroughly proved during the set. His guitar runs were breathtaking, and as Downes and Payne exercised great skills and enthusiasm too, witnessing Asia was nothing but a joy.

Their 45-minutes time limit gave room for only seven songs, but these were indeed wisely chosen. Three new songs, “Long Way From Home,” “Silent Nation,” and “What About Love?” (the latter two from their last album Silent Nation), fit in with their older material nicely. The four old songs were picked from their 23-year old debut album, Asia — “Time Again,” “Only Time Will Tell,” “Sole Survivor,” and the mega-hit “Heat Of The Moment.” They were all stunningly performed.

(Odd Inge “The Abyss” Rand/Per Olav Heimstad)


Uriah Heep has been playing a lot in Scandinavia over the last years. The set list this evening was therefore carefully put together to provide a certain variation.

Still, a few obligatory standards were played, of course. The opener, “So Tired,” was picked from the more than 30-year old Wonderworld, while “Cry Freedom” (Raging Silence) and “Between Two Worlds” (Sonic Origami) represented, in comparison, newer material. However, their latest studio album, Sonic Origami, has already turned 7 years old …

From this, one could assume that Bernie Shaw, Mick Box, Trevor Bolder, Phil Lanzon, and Lee Kerslake prefer the road to the studio. Anyway, they might not be the best musicians around any longer, but as a live band unit, they still rock big time.

“Sunrise” and “Return To Fantasy” were great, while the older numbers like “Gypsy,” “Easy Living,” and the closure “Lady In Black” lifted the roof even further at the end of the show. As the hardworking and ever-smiling Bernie Shaw led the crowd through the big sing-along chorus of “Lady In Black,” Uriah Heep proved that the audience this night belonged just as much to them as any other band on the bill.

(Odd Inge “The Nemesis” Rand/Per Olav Heimstad)


This fall, Ronnie James Dio, the little man with the huge voice, has been touring the concept An Evening With Ronnie James Dio, where he has played his legendary Holy Diver album in its entirety.

Since this evening he had to share the bill with two other bands, the Oslo crowd did not get the full live version of the stunning 1983 Dio debut. Still, the set list was interesting enough.

Just as Ronnie entered the stage, everybody already knew the evening would be perfect. Asia’s and Uriah Heep’s thrilling sets had assured this, and all fans know that Ronnie James Dio always delivers the goods. Always. (It is hard to believe the man was born during the Second World War …)

Just like the classic Rainbow Rising album starts, Dio’s set also opened with “Tarot Woman” –- an exiting and powerful choice, even though the keyboard intro of the original was missing. Dio had also, despite what one could have expected, picked the old The Mob Rules track “Voodoo” as the set’s second number. “The Eyes” was next, the only track that would be played from Dio’s latest studio album, Master Of The Moon. Three songs, three epochs.

There have been quite a few guitar players in Dio throughout the years. Dough Aldrich (Whitesnake, Hurricane, House Of Lords) has to be the one who handles the Vivian Campbell material the best. Aldrich has now replaced Craig Goldy, who without any given explanation, disappeared from the band earlier this year. However, Aldrich plays and looks a whole lot better than many other guitarists around, holding a pretty boy look matching the likes of John Sykes and Zakk Wylde in their younger days.

However, Aldrich played disciplined, and stayed true to the original Gibson Les Paul sound while playing the classic Dio tracks. On the other hand, he used the Fender Stratocaster to approach the right Blackmore effect for the Rainbow numbers.

Dio 2005 is the finest version of the band in twenty years. In addition to the already mentioned Doug Aldrich, on bass, Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne, Manic Eden) did more than he is asked to do (including a whole lot of strange and hyperactive exercises with his instrument), and with Simon Wright (AC/DC, UFO) doing the skin duties, and Scott Warren (Warrant, Keel) on keyboards, there was not much left for the audience to do but enjoy thrilling versions of “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” “Stand Up And Shout,” plus the less used Holy Diver tracks “Gypsy” and “Caught In The Middle.” “Rainbow In The Dark” closed out the Holy Diver section.

Dio brought the evening to an end with the Rainbow medley “Man On The Silver Mountain” / ”Catch The Rainbow (very short excerpt) / ”Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll.” The encore “We Rock” put a triumphant period on an absolutely splendid evening.

(Odd Inge “The Animal” Rand/Per Olav Heimstad)

Dio Setlist:
Tarot Woman
Stand Up And Shout
Holy Diver
Caught In The Middle
Don’t Talk To Strangers
Rainbow In The Dark
Gates Of Babylon
Heaven And Hell
Man On The Silver Mountain / Catch The Rainbow / Long Love Rock ‘N’ Roll
Encore: We Rock


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