REVIEW: Dio – At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987

DIO – At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987  (2010)

Ronnie James Dio’s death was an incredibly sad day in rock.  For our little corner of the rock world, that genre known as Heavy Metal, it was an absolute tragedy. Very rarely have ever lost someone with so much talent, and so much history.  I mean, we lost Randy Rhoads, but he never got a chance to grow and spread his wings.  Dio did.  Unfortunately Dio’s long and powerful career has not been well documented in live album format.  There are gaping holes in his live catalogue, with very little (just B-sides) being available with Vivian Campbell on guitar.

Finally some of that history has seen the light. Doninngton UK collects two concerts. From 1983, we get a show with Vivian Campbell. From 1987, a show with his replacement Craig Goldy from the very underrated Dream Evil tour. Both shows are excellent, with nary a complaint between the two of them. Both shows contain ample Dio tunes with a smattering or Rainbow and Sabbath.

For me, my personal highlights were not any specific song, but more the tireless performances by Ronnie James Dio. If any man ever made it all sound easy, it was Dio. Plenty of power to spare, Ronnie James is the ringleader and he never faulters. He’s perfect. A second highlight for me was the guitar work of Campbell and Goldy.  It was great to finally hear the first two Dio dudes rip and shred live.

You get “Holy Diver”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Stargazer”, “The Last In Line”, “Rock and Roll Children”, and pretty much any favourite Dio song you’ve ever had from that era.  Yes, you’re going to hear several songs twice.  “Children of the Sea” (a Sabbath classic), “Rainbow in the Dark”, “Holy Diver”, “Heaven and Hell” (another mighty Sab classic), and “Silver Mountain” all appear on both discs.  When you think about it though, that’s a lot less overlap than you’d expect.

The recording and mix are good enough (by the BBC), and the packaging is very nice as expected.  I love the cover.

5/5 stars. As if there was any doubt.

ADDED BONUS: Two plastic backstage pass replicas included!

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13 comments

      1. Got off the Dio bus after Sacred Heart or Intermission only to get back on it the he hired that 17 yr old kid for LUTW’s….
        Had to buy that as I was 22 at the time and I mean here’s a kid 5 years younger than me coming out when Guitar players were playing like they wanted to buy the next Vai…
        My Curiosity level was peaked…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I hung on until Lock Up the Wolves. And then I was interested again on Strange Highways. Dio tends to lose me from time to time. He did it again with Angry Machines which I really dislike.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I did, but you will have to refresh my memory now. LOL

          The two Rainbow albums I ordered on my last amazon order will ship today. The live one with Doogie White, and the reissue of Strangers In Us All, which came via Scott’s post last week…

          Like

        3. Last week iTunes had Rainbow Rising for 3.99 the whole album. I was like I gotta get this as soon as I thought of it I got onto something else and forgot..
          Was cruising iTunes Sat afternoon and viola iTunes dropped Risng by another $1. Got the whole album for $2.99..
          My first Rainbow Dio purchase!
          Watch for the review…

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I’m surprised you didn’t have those albums already from back in your teen rocker days!

          That’s a great deal, it’s hard to argue with that value! I will tell you, you can’t go wrong with Rising which is my favourite of them all!

          STARGAZER!

          (Currently listening: The first VV Invasion CD for future review purposes…)

          Liked by 1 person

        5. I know I should have had them but it wasn’t til I heard Straight Between The Eyes that I was hooked on that album and at that point Holy Diver had come out so I went with that…

          Liked by 1 person

        6. I was lucky because I knew two dudes.

          My buddy Andy is probably the most knowledgeable Dio fan in the nation…the guy is rabid. Early on he taped me a Rainbow ballad called “Rainbow Eyes” and WOW…what a song. Hooked me. It was my first taste of Dio era Rainbow. Second…I started at the Record Store and met Tom, and he encouraged me to buy some Dio Rainbow. So I started with Rising and never looked back!

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  1. For me it’s a tossup between this and Philadelphia ’86 for best Dio live album. This one boasts full songs instead of medleys, but is missing some critical Sacred Heart tracks

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