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!