“We Rock” (the DVD) was released in 2005. It collects two VHS releases from the early 80’s and brings them forth into the 2000’s. The sound is still rooted in the 80s with a bit of a clean up.
The early 2000’s became a period of re-invention for Dio. After experimenting with Nu-Metal in the mid 90’s, he went back to his roots, to his kind of metal and rock and re-established the “Dio” brand as a commercial force.
For studio albums, in 2000, we got the “Magica” studio album, “Killing The Dragon” came out in 2002 and “Master Of The Moon” in 2004. In addition, “The Devil You Know” from Heaven and Hell hit the streets in 2009.
For live albums, in 2005, we got the “We Rock” DVD and “Evil or Divine – Live In New York City”, “Holy Diver – Live” in 2006 and “Live From Radio City Music Hall” in 2007 from Heaven and Hell.
But it was the live show which brought in the money. His audience from the 80’s remained faithful and they turned up with their adult kids.
Through placement in movies and certain bands covering his songs, Dio was also generating revenue from licensing, sales and streams. And while artists have their views on piracy, having the Dio catalogue available to download for free, increased his supporter base, which led to an increase in the audience to the live show. This happened for a lot of bands who did it tough during the 90’s. Motley Crue and Twisted Sister come to mind.
In the link, the research suggests that every ten music albums pirated leads to three extra concert or festival visits. However, at the same time, it leads to a significant drop in physical album sales and digital downloads.
Dio – Live In Concert 1984
The show was recorded in Holland/The Netherlands on 4 December 1983.
The stage show is massive, with Vinny Appice sporting a very unpleasant looking red leather jumpsuit is sent up on the second level of the building. In other words, the drum riser is very high.
“Stand Up And Shout” is the opener, with Vivian Campbell playing a black Les Paul shaped guitar, running around like a madman on stage, while Jimmy Bain holds it all together, especially when Campbell drops out for the lead breaks. And of course, Dio is nailing his melodies, as the tempo at which they play the song live wouldn’t have helped vocally.
“Stand Up And Shout” feedbacks into the groove riff of “Straight Through The Heart” and I like it. Dio’s voice is like an instrument here itself, especially in the verses.
“The Pink Panther” like riff kicks off “Shame On The Night”, which gets the audience clapping along, before it moves into the doom riff. It’s slower tempo is perfectly placed in the set list.
How good is the bass and drums on the verses, as they carry the music along with Dio’s melodies?
And the outro riff reminds me of the “Escape From New York” main theme.
“Children Of The Sea” is next and a nice recognition of his Black Sabbath output. Dio and Appice really shine on this track, while Campbell and Bain carry out what needs to be done musically. Then the solo comes and Campbell shines, staying faithful for a bar or two and improvising after that.
“Holy Diver” is the pinnacle of the show. The band is on fire and the audience is loving it.
When the song ends, a “Drum Solo” starts.
I hate lone drum solos and guitar solos in concerts. I see no point in them, especially when the artist has enough material to play songs. But I do like it when a drum solo or a guitar solo is within the song, which I’ve seen some artists do.
After the “Drum Solo”, one of my favourite cuts starts in “Heaven And Hell”. As soon as Dio starts with the “sing me a song” line, the whole crowd is in the palm of his hand, singing along with him. It sounds like Claude Schnell came out of hibernation to add some synth licks but he’s nowhere to be seen on the stage.
Campbell is faithful to Tony Iommi as much as he can and when it comes time for the lead breaks he does improvise a lot, but then again so does Dio, adding new vocals over the jam grooves.
As they are jamming along, with Campbell soloing, the music stops and we get a “Guitar Solo”. As mentioned, I hate it when they take up time in a concert, however you do get to hear how accomplished Campbell is as he pulls out all the licks and tricks from his arsenal.
Bain and Appice then kick in with the “Heaven And Hell” groove and Campbell keeps soloing with music as the background and this I like.
Dio then comes in and gets the crowd involved in a sing-a-long.
The issue I have is that it does go on and on and on and on.
Finally the fast outro kicks in, however it is ultra-fast here, with my favourite lyrics in “the moon is just the sun at night”.
After about 20 plus minutes of the song, (including the guitar solo), the song ends. And the Dutch are screaming “Dio”.
Band introductions take place and Dio says something like “I like to introduce the next song, which has rainbow in it but nothing to do with the band of the same name”. Since no Rainbow songs are included on the release, you can presume the bad blood between Richie and Dio was still too much. But I do think he played a couple of em, but just didn’t include them.
“Rainbow In The Dark” cranks in and how can you not sing when Dio starts with “when there’s lightning”.
Once the song ends, the crowd chants again “Dio” over and over again.
It’s all black, then red eyes light up from Dio’s mascot and an encore is happening.
“Don’t Talk To Strangers” closes the gig, the embryo to “The Last In Line” and “We Rock”.
Dio – A Special From The Spectrum
The opening track “Stand Up And Shout” is not included in the DVD release, but you can see it on YouTube if you want.
The stage show is a bit different, going with the theme of “The Last In Line” album cover, however Appice still remains on the second floor, so high up from the rest of the band.
This time around Campbell is sporting the red leathers and his playing a Charvel/Fender style guitar. Dio as usual is nailing it vocally and Bain is always reliable with his bass rumbling away and then carrying the music when Campbell drops out for the lead break.
And the band is ferocious this time around. They have the “Holy Diver” album and tour behind them and their out promoting “The Last In Line”.
“Don’t Talk To Strangers” is song number 2 and it opens up the DVD concert version. On the “Holy Diver” tour, this was the closer. And it’s a great decision to open the album with two songs they have played a lot because their delivery is so fluent.
“Mystery” is up next, the first song played from “The Last In Line” album. It’s major key vibe and Hard Rock Mainstream style Chorus works well in the set, after the two metal cuts before it.
Then my favourite Dio song starts in “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”. That riff from Campbell and the slow “Heaven And Hell” drum groove from Appice is all I need. Suddenly I’m singing, “in the land of the lost horizon” and “when the world was milk and honey”.
Half way through the song, a “Drum Solo” starts and as you know, I hate these moments in concerts.
And like the previous show, they go into “Heaven And Hell” and this time Campbell is playing an Explorer shaped guitar. And like the previous show, as soon as Dio starts singing the first verse, the crowd is singing with him. The song is played similar to the previous concerts with a lot of jamming in the lead break.
And then the music stops and we get a “Guitar Solo”. You know my views on these lone solo pieces. I don’t know why Campbell would need to have this moment as he was wailing away on the “Heaven And Hell” groove and it sounded so good. Anyway, like the previous show, Appice and Bain then kick in with the “Heaven And Hell” groove and Campbell keeps soloing and this little piece I like.
Dio comes out, and yells, “Vivian Campbell and his magic guitar” and the crowd roars their approval. Then he gets the crowd involved a sing-along. And I’m bummed that the fast outro of the song doesn’t get played.
But they do go into “The Last In Line”.
The medieval fingerpicked intro hides the metal cut that the song would become.
“We are coming”, silence, “hoooooome” as the riffs kick in. The band is nailing everything and Appice is thundering. And for such a new song, the crowd is singing along with him. I guess you can’t keep a good song down.
Once the song ends, something unexpected happen. They go into the fast outro section of “Heaven And Hell” and I’m not bummed anymore as this is my favourite section of the song. Campbell is wailing away here on the guitar again, which makes me question why there had to be a lone “Guitar Solo” spotlight.
“Rainbow In The Dark” cranks in, with Dio sending out his devil horns salute at the end of every fourth bar. They know what needs to be done and they deliver.
Campbell’s playing is excellent and I like how he adds a few extra fills here and there in his lead break, letting the energy of the show take over and command his performance. And Appice can play a metal cut with just his snare, he’s that good on it.
“Mob Rules” kicks in. It’s full of energy, and Campbell goes all shred in the lead break, totally playing his thing, sort of like how Randy Rhoads did with the old Black Sabbath cuts.
The show ends, it goes to black, only for the band to come out and tell the audience they deserve another one.
And what a closer.
“We Rock” kicks in and that opening guitar riff is head banging, circle pit like. And there’s fireworks going off like crazy, lasers and did I mention that Appice can carry a song with a bass drum and snare. He can.
And the show is done.
If you want to see the classic era Dio band at its best, this DVD is a must have. Press play and enjoy, as half of the band has come home and I guess we’ll never know if they were evil or divine. RIP Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain and thanks for the music and memories.