DIO – Holy Diver Live

DIO - Holy Diver Live


Eagle Records
Release date: April 17, 2006

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Ronnie James Dio is justifiably considered to be one of the finest singers in the business, and has been involved in two of Hard Rock’s most influential and best-loved bands: Rainbow and Black Sabbath, and has along the way produced some of the finest music in the genre with the incredible Rainbow Rising and Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell being arguably his crowning glories.

After his acrimonious departure from the Sabbath camp way back in 1983, Dio wasted little time in assembling a new band, recruiting former Rainbow bass man Jimmy Bain, ex- Sabbath drummer Vinnie Appice, and young gun Sweet Savage guitarist Vivian Campbell to help him with his new venture. The ensuing debut release, Holy Diver was met with almost universal acclaim as Dio forged his vision of Metal for the 80’s. Holy Diver is still to this day considered by many as Dio’s (the band) finest moment.

It has become increasingly common over the past couple of years to play a classic album from start to finish in a sort of tribute to a golden era for a band. Deep Purple reprised their Machine Head album for a USA tour, while Queensrÿche reignited their career by playing Operation: Mindcrime in its entirety, and Magnum celebrated 20 years of On A Storyteller’s Night in a similar fashion.

It is only right that Dio decided to follow the lead and celebrate his landmark debut in such a fitting way. With a band that now bears little resemblance to the one that cut the classic disc, with Doug Aldritch standing in for the injured Craig Goldy, long-time drummer Simon Wright on drums, Rudy Sarzo on bass, and Scott Warren on the keyboards, Dio took his band on tour to packed houses nationwide. Now over two decades since the release of Holy Diver, the results from the Holy Diver tribute show from the Astoria (London) are captured on CD for all to hear.

On the actual tour, Dio kicked off with a mesmerising rendition of the Rainbow classic “Tarot Woman” before thundering into a bombastic rendition of Sabbath’s “Sign Of The Southern Cross,” and Dio’s own “One Night In The City” before heading off into the featured Holy Diver set list. For the purposes of this double CD, the entire Holy Diver section is featured on disc one with the Rainbow/Sabbath/Dio material making up the second disc.

What is immediately noticeable on this album is how well Dio is singing these days. Whereas the likes of Coverdale and Gillan may be struggling to reach their former glories, Dio still sounds as amazing today as he did all those years ago. From the frantic riffing of album opener “Stand Up and Shout,” through the majestic stomp of the title track, right through to the wolf howls of “Shame On The Night,” the band is on top form.

While it’s great to hear such little-played gems as the fist pumping “Gypsy” and the almost poppy “Caught In The Middle,” it is the thumping riffing of “Don’t Talk To Strangers” and the stirring “Rainbow In The Dark” that hit the mark here. The band barely pauses for breath as the album is played from start to finish to an exuberant crowd. Simply top class.

How can Dio top this? Simple really. How about the aforementioned “Tarot Woman” and “Sign Of The Southern Cross” for starters? Or, a much welcomed airing of the great eastern flavored, almost Funky rendition of “Gates of Babylon?” Dio certainly knows how to pull the crowd pleasers out of the hat by ending with the likes of “Heaven And Hell” and “Long Live Rock’n’Roll,” which is preceded by a tantalizing snippet of “Catch The Rainbow” … now a full performance of that would have been mind-blowing!

Bringing matters to a close is a romp through Dio’s own anthemic “We Rock,” and never has a truer phrase been coined. From start to finish, Dio thrilled the crowd with a mix of truly classic Rock and Metal, confirming that he may be a few years older, and may not be the current flavor of the month, but few can match the material or the performance of Dio in full flow. A recommended purchase for lovers of classic Hard Rock/Metal.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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