Dio At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987
Rating: **** or quite possibly **** 1/2
Almost six months after his tragic passing, a new Dio album has been released. This is Dio's first posthumous release (and could be the first of many upcoming releases) and it's a great one. From the original archival tapes by the BBC, Dio At Donington UK: 1983 & 1987 is a great collection of music from the greatest singer in metal music. This two disc album was released today and I got it in the mail today. I have to say that I'm really impressed with this release.
The two shows on these two discs are from the times the Dio band performed at the Monsters of Rock tours. Both shows are very impressive and for me, it feels like you're at the actual show(s). Luckily, I saw Dio live in concert back in 2003 when they were on tour with Motorhead and Iron Maiden. It was an amazing show and Ronnie just gave 100%. What I find amazing about Ronnie is that no matter how old he got, his voice was still the same which is very rare for rock singers these days.
The 1983 (exact date: August 20, 1983) show is my favorite of the two shows. I don't know why, really. It might have to do with the fact that the Dio band were still fresh and had just released their debut album Holy Diver in May. Ronnie was already known for his stint in Rainbow from 1975 to 1978 and for his stint in Black Sabbath from 1980 to 1982. His new band included a very young Vivian Campbell on guitar, Dio's former Rainbow band mate bassist Jimmy Bain, and Dio's former Sabbath band mate Vinny Appice. The booklet describes this line-up best: Dio's vocals, his former band mate's experience, and the youth of Campbell shine in this show. The band plays a mix of Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio songs. "Stand Up and Shout" opens the show (of course!) and is followed by a strong performance of "Straight Through the Heart". There are plenty of goodies such as a good minute of the Rainbow epic "Stargazer" (which goes on for some seven to eight minute on their Rising album) and an eleven minute version of "Heaven and Hell". I'm also digging the sped up version of "Man On the Silver Mountain"! Overall, an impressive show!
The 1987 show took place on August 22. At this time, there were some changes in the band's line-up. Dio, Bain, and Appice are still in but Campbell has been replaced by guitarist Craig Goldy and added in 1984, keyboardist Claude Schnell. At this time, Dio had released Dream Evil about a month ago. A few songs from that album are played. Sabbath songs such as "Neon Knights" are played (in both shows, "Children of the Sea" and "Heaven and Hell" are played). "Rock and Roll Children" is also in the setlist, which had been released back in 1985 on the Sacred Heart album (which I recently bought as well. Very solid album). The band intertwines that song with the Rainbow song "Long Live Rock N Roll". Overall, the 1987 performance is great.
Along with the two disc, you get two backstage pass replicas from those two shows. The passes aren't laminated but they are made of plastic (think of them as sturdier credit cards). If you are a Dio fan, there are no excuses: you need this album. It makes a fine addition to your other Dio-related releases. Also, I've noticed that Ronnie gets credit as executive producer. Obviously, Ronnie was working on the offical release of these concerts before he died. What a way to go out!