The album, Holy Diver was released on May 25th, 1983. It was Dio’s best work featuring two singles that would hit the American top 40. It would actually take a full year for the album to hit Gold and almost 6 years to reach Platinum status. However, Dio remains popular today and is still listened to around the world. With that said, it is my pleasure to bring you the last recorded concert of one Ronnie James Dio as he plays the Astoria Theatre in London, England.
October 22nd, 2005. It is the final stop of an 11 date British Tour and Dio has hit the Astoria Theatre in London along Charing Cross Road. However, despite the band playing there a multitude of times, this one was a little different. Earlier in the year, Rock Candy Records had re-released the epic Holy Diver and the band had to figure out a way to best promote the re-release. They came up with the idea of playing the entire album, front to back in order.
Ronnie James Dio had some help with him in the form of Doug Aldrich on guitars who in addition to working with Dio has also worked with Hurricane and Whitesnake. At bass was Rudy Sarzo who had been with everybody from Ozzy Osbourne to Whitesnake to Quiet Riot. Finally, at keyboards was Scott Warren who has seen time with Warrant, Berlin and even filled in for Josh Silver in Type O Negative on their last tour.
Since Holy Diver is only 9 songs deep, Ronnie James Dio started off the show with a few songs from his Rainbow and Black Sabbath days. His last song before diving into Holy Diver is One Night in the City from the 84 Dio followup, Last in Line. Then Ronnie launches straight into the album with the amazing song, Holy Diver followed by an equally moving Gypsy.
Gypsy ends with a blistering drum solo from the great Simon Wright who had been with Dio on four different albums and has also had history with AC/DC during the mid to late 80’s. The album continues and we hear further highlights such as Don’t Talk to Strangers and of course, Rainbow in the Dark. After the album is done, the show is still not over as Dio breaks into a few more Rainbow songs and a Sabbath tune (Heaven and Hell)before finishing off with the classic, We Rock.
The concert was nothing short of awesome. Guitars wailed, drums rocked, even the keyboards were great (though I think Scott was playing them by magic as it only looked like one hand was on the keyboard most of the time). Ronnie is nothing short of remarkable considering he was in his early 60’s at this point. Sure, he wasn’t going to be able to hit all of his high notes like he did 20 years ago but he still has some incredible chops.
It is really hard to find fault with the concert. I do actually own a cd of Dio’s greatest hits and I have to say they are in fact better live than what I heard through my car speakers. But listening to this certainly made me wish I owned the original album which is the point of these concerts from a sales aspect. This is a fitting last concert of a true rocker and one that should not be missed.
The video is in 1.78:1 widescreen presentation in 1080i resolution. The band looks really good and while we do get some concert fragmentation and pixilation, it is never distracting. The detail is certainly there and we can even see the waves in Ronnie James Dio’s long hair. The rest of the band has equal detail though I still think that keyboardist, Scott Warren is in outer space somewhere.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS-HD track (also included are mixes for Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM Stereo 2.0). The concert is good and loud and from the first number to the multiple encores, it never seems to waver. It is crisp and clear and even though we might not understand what a “Holy Diver” really is, we can certainly hear it correctly. No subtitles are included.
- Interviews 11:39: The most awesome message appears before the Interviews start. It goes like this: “After Destroying the Evil Disco Empire, the forces of Dio Armada have Returned. They come to restore order and to show Humanity the Power of the Holy Diver. That says it all right there. Anyway, they speak to various members of the band about their tour through Russia and Europe. They mention they pay attention to their online fan base and will play certain songs at their request. The lead guitarist Doug Aldrich talks about he was a last minute replacement and only came to the tour with a couple of guitars and a few peddles. There are a few minutes spent with Ronnie himself and they ask about his trademark demon sign and how that got started (it’s more innocent than you think). They talk about why they tape the Dixie cups with black duct tape and that’s a wrap.
Ronnie James Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer in November of 2009. His Heaven and Hell tour was cancelled in May of 2010 and he shortly passed away after that on the 16th due to the cancer. He was 67, but he spent a full life rocking and rolling all night long. His concert October of 2005 showed just that. He had still had the chops to go the distance and this concert highlighted that in great part.
The blu-ray disc by Eagle Vision has some great video and audio but hardly includes any extras. It would have been nice to maybe have some older concert footage, video or perhaps a commentary by the band minus Ronnie. As is, this is a fantastic disc to view for those who appreciate a dose of glam metal mixed in with some seventies styled rock. Highly recommended. May you not spend too long in the midnight sea.
The Sign of The Southern Cross
One Night in the City
Stand Up and Shout
Caught in the Middle
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Straight Through the Heart
Rainbow in the Dark
Shame of the Night
Gates of Babylon
Heaven and Hell
Man on the Silver Mountain
Long Live Rock and Roll