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Review: Dio - Dio at Donnington UK: Live 1983 & 1987
Dio at Donnington UK: Live 1983 & 1987

Label: Niji Entertainment
Year released: 2010
Duration: 97:01
Tracks: 25
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: June 4, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Dio at Donnington UK: Live 1983 & 1987

Rated 4.43/5 (88.57%) (7 Votes)

In 2010 the world lost one of the premier Heavy Metal/Hard Rock front men in Ronnie James Dio. Fortunately for us fans he left a huge catalog of classic music from Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell and, of course, the band Dio. For those of you who never saw him live, you can now check out the next best thing with the release of Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987. Each show, recorded at the Donington Monsters of Rock festival, features a range of Dio's music from current albums to classics from his previous bands. The shows were recorded for the BBC and sound to be the straight live feed as there are no breaks between tracks, extraneous talking is audible as well as some occasional noodling between songs by the musicians. In other words, exactly the way it was meant to be heard; LIVE.

Disc one features the 1983 show and is the better sounding of the two included in this package. Recorded shortly after the release of Holy Diver, it features four songs from that album, two Black Sabbath songs and three from Rainbow, including the godly "Stargazer." The band is in fine form and Ronnie works the crowd as only he can. He sounds genuinely happy to be there playing for the fans. Ronnie's vocals are spot on while guitarist Vivian Campbell shows why he was plucked from Sweet Savage to join the band. He handles the Sabbath and Rainbow material skillfully and respectfully. The band gives a humble yet all together ass-kicking performance.

Disc two, featuring the 1987 show, sounds muddy compared with disc one, possibly due to the lousy weather Dio references prior to the song "Naked in the Rain." At this point, the spectacle of seeing Dio was competing on equal footing with the songs. It was as much about "seeing" Dio as hearing the music. The band still relies heavily on Sabbath and Rainbow covers (three and two, respectively) and while I can appreciate the allure of songs like "Heaven and Hell" and "Long Live Rock ‘n' Roll" in the live setting, Dio had four albums out by this time and I would have preferred to hear more than one song from The Last in Line or even Sacred Heart. New guitarist Craig Goldy does not sound nearly as comfortable with Tony Iommi's or Ritchie Blackmore's leads. Finally, many of the songs are abbreviated ("Children of the Sea," "Holy Diver") and I would rather have fewer songs, but the full versions, but that's just me.

4.5/5 for disc one and 3.5/5 for disc two, for an average of 4/5 for Dio at Donnington UK: Live 1983 & 1987 is how I break it down, with each show, flaws and all, giving an accurate account of what it was like to hear one of the legends in his prime. A fine remembrance of Ronnie James Dio.

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