The rebuild of the Dio brand in the 2000’s involved a revolving cast of musicians.
Tracy G served as the guitarist from 1993 to 1999. He brought in different elements to the band and assisted it keeping the band going throughout the 90’s.
Craig Goldy came back in between 1999 and 2002 to help with a new album “Magica” and keep the live show going.
Doug Aldrich came in between 2002 and 2003 for the album “Killing The Dragon” and to keep the live show going. Warren DeMartini did a small stint in 2003 for the live show, with Craig Goldy to return for a new album called “Master Of The Moon” in 2004.
Doug Aldrich returned again as a touring musician for 2005.
Interest in Dio was high, as “Master Of The Moon” was highly praised and recommended. The 1983 “Holy Diver” was also reissued by Rock Candy during this time.
The band for the tour was Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Doug Aldrich on guitar, Scott Warren on keyboards, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Simon Wright on drums. The show was filmed at London’s Astoria Theatre on October 22, 2005 and released in 2006. The DVD booklet describes the concert as “one of the best hard rock gigs of all time”.
The stage show is not as extravagant as the 1983/84 stage shows. Wright is only 70cm off the ground, instead of the 3 metre drum riser that Vinny Appice had to contend with.
When I saw it as the opener, I was surprised, but goddamn, the song is full of energy and the riffs in the song are perfect foot stomping live riffs. Blackmore wouldn’t create anything else.
Aldrich’s tone is stellar and is faithful to Blackmore as much as possible with a bit of improvisation in the lead break.
“The Sign of The Southern Cross”
From Black Sabbath.
How heavy does this sound on this recording?
A perfect addition to the set list and the crowd responds.
“One Night in the City”
From “The Last In Line” album. I used to mix up “Caught In The Middle” and “One Night In The City” and intertwine the lyrics of the songs.
Then we get the whole “Holy Diver” album.
“Stand up and Shout”
The band is on fire. Sarzo and Wright own the foundations while Aldrich comes across like he’s been in the band forever. Dio is vocally good, singing in a lower range, so he doesn’t overstretch those vocal chords knowing that as you get older, they seem to disappear.
At 3.32 long, its fast and relentless.
The feedback leads into the riff of “Holy Diver”. The tempo feels a bit slower compared to the previous live performances I’ve watched.
Dio’s voice is gravelly and perfect. Wright is a monster on the drums and Rudy Sarzo is still making love to his bass. Aldrich here remains as close to faithful to Campbell’s licks and leads. And there is no better singer at ad-libbing on the outro’s than Dio.
It’s got a groove riff that’s like a “let’s get this party started” riff. Aldrich here is given the freedom to do his own thing in the lead break. And the song morphs into a “Drum Solo” and you all know my views on these kind of lone solos in concerts.
“Caught in the Middle”
How good is the intro riff?
And I love that melodic rock chorus?
Just press play to hear Dio ad-libbing the outro.
“Don’t Talk to Strangers”
A great song to listen to and Dio is all gravelly on this one as well, giving it a different vibe. By now, Aldrich is sweating and his rock hard abs are on show for the predominantly male audience.
“Straight Through the Heart”
The groove riff to kick it off and the verse vocal melodies are my favourites. Aldrich also shines on the lead break while Wright and Sarzo, along with Warren on the keys and peculiar dance moves, provide a great foundation
Once the clean tone arpeggios are done, a distorted riff kicks in and it sounds similar to “Shout At The Devil” from Motley Crue.
It’s amazing how many albums released around the same time (1983/1984) had similar songs.
“Rainbow in the Dark”
As soon as the Am chord comes crashing in and the synth lick starts playing, the crowd is involved and loving it.
In the ending part of the song, Dio is saying to his audience, “you are all my rainbow in the dark”.
“Shame on the Night”
The bluesy Pink Panther crime noir style riff always gets my foot tapping.
And just before the Outro of the song kicks in, there is a “Guitar Solo” moment, but done as part of a jam with the band which is a lot better than just the “lone ranger” style of solo. And you can hear how exotic Aldrich is, with his melodic minor soloing.
Then the “Escape From New York” influenced outro kicks in.
And for some strange reason, they reprise “Holy Diver” again, maybe as a way to musically say to the audience that this is the end of the “Holy Diver” album play through.
“Gates of Babylon”
From Rainbow and how can you not like it. It’s got an exotic riff, pentatonic riffs and a killer Dio vocal. Warren on the keys is excellent, Sarzo and Wright bring the power, while Aldrich is excellent especially in the lead break, which goes to show how complex Blackmore can get.
“Heaven and Hell”
The best Black Sabbath song and we get 11 minutes of it.
This time around, the crowd is chanting the opening riff with Dio and they are all in when Dio’s starts singing, as he waves his devil horns salute around.
Rudy Sarzo is one hell of a bassist. Very underrated.
The middle section lead break is faithful to Iommi.
And we get four minutes of the fast outro section with Aldrich wailing away.
I guess the world is full of kings and queens who blind our eyes and steal our dreams.
“Man on the Silver Mountain”
The first song of the encore is from the Rainbow days. And Aldrich nails the song riff, using the pick and his fingers to sort of chicken pick the intro riff.
If you listen closely, you will notice how Dave Sabo was influenced to write “Youth Gone Wild” and “Monkey Business” from this riff.
And I like how they go into the “Little Wing” influenced “Catch The Rainbow”.
“Long Live Rock and Roll”
And those Rainbow days are back again for 3 minutes and 30 seconds of energy and crowd sing-alongs. And if this was the end of the concert, it would have been a worthy end.
But there was one more track to come.
The closer, which became a standard closer for Dio but with the fast metal riff, it could easily be an opener.
At almost 2 hours, the show is done and Dio leaves the building.
P.S. From start to finish the set list flows like a classic metal album, a one stop overview of Dio’s career and if you’re a fan, you will see a lot of songs missing that maybe should have been in, such was Dio’s quality output.
P.S.S. Doug Aldrich is faithful to the past material and the riffs/leads of Vivian Campbell, Richie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. In Whitesnake, he also did an admirable job in being faithful to the past and assisting David Coverdale to keep the brand going.
P.S.S.S. Dio at 63 is aged and his voice is not the same but if you went to the show you wouldn’t be disappointed. He still delivers a worthy performance befitting a man of his age.
P.S.S.S.S. I can’t believe how many great songs Dio wrote/co-wrote across three different bands and over three decades.