Monday, December 20, 2010

Dio - At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987

When I was but a wee bairn growing up in The Crossroads Of The Northeast, I was a pretty big Dio fan. Upper echelon metalheads favored Maiden and Dio back patches/paintings and I wanted in. I taped Holy Diver from the kid across the street and I'm pretty sure I had The Last In Line. As I was almost failing out of 7th grade via a pronounced MTV obsession, the videos for Holy Diver and Rainbow In The Dark provided much of the blame. Looking at the videos now, it's funny to think how silly they are (and how damn short Ronnie was) but you can't dispute that those are great fucking songs and that Mr. Ronnie James Dio could sing his fucking ass off. I came late to the game on the Sabbath stuff and to this day haven't listened to a Dio Rainbow record, but one focusing solely on Dio solo material would have more than enough corroboration to assert Ronnie as one of the greats.

There has been much Dio love bandied about since his passing. And rightfully so. Ronnie was widely held as the nicest guy in metal and his passing has taken down one of the pillars that buttress all that is true about metal. With the lack of any new material to release, Wendy Dio has dipped into the vaults and blessed us with this double disc of Donington sets from the prime Dio years of 1983 and 1987. Sweet jeebus! Ronnie James Dio sings his diminutive ass off in both of these sets. For the uninitiated, those who care, and the rest who should, the 1983 set features the classic Bain/Appice rhythm section with a raging young Vivian Campbell on guitar while the 1987 set features the trial by fire live debut of Craig Goldy. Nice. I'm a much bigger fan of Campbell, but Goldy tears it up as well, and playing that well in front of a Donington crowd for your debut performance is certainly commendable. The set covers the breadth of the Dio canon circa the late 80s. Ok, there are no Elf songs, but know that Man On The Silver Mountain and Neon Knights both appear in the set, as do a couple other chestnuts that I think you'll enjoy. Personally, I would buy it immediately. You may feel otherwise, but then again you would be wrong. Pour out a little liquor in the holiday season for one of the good ones who died way too soon.



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