REVIEW: Dio – Finding the Sacred Heart – Live in Philly 1986 (2013)

DIO – Finding the Sacred Heart – Live in Philly 1986 (2013 Eagle records)

The King of Rock and Roll rolled into Philly with a new axeman.  Vivian Campbell bitterly departed and was replaced by Craig Goldy of Ruff Cutt.  Goldy had a flashier style, a bit heavier on the shred.  The Sacred Heart tour was a big deal, and I can distinctly remember seeing TV ads for the Toronto show.  They had their big dragon on stage, a crystal ball, and Accept as the opening act.  The Philly gig was filmed, and so today we have this double live album to enjoy.

As it did on Sacred Heart, “King of Rock and Roll” opened the set with a flurry of speed.  Another newbie, “Like the Beat of a Heart” goes over well with an extended solo by Goldy including a nod to Blackmore.  “Don’t Talk to Strangers” is the first Dio classic in the set, though “Hungry for Heaven” was a top 30 single.

Dio had so much material to play (including his past with Rainbow and Black Sabbath) that a lot of the biggest songs are jammed into medleys.  “The Last in Line”, “Children of the Sea” and “Holy Diver” are truncated into eight minutes.  “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” is joined with the Rainbow classics “Love Live Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Man on the Silver Mountain”.  It seems a shame that there are guitar solos, a drum solo, and even a keyboard solo, but all these classics had to be crammed together into medleys.  “Heaven and Hell” is complete at least, but Claude Schnell’s keyboards sound out of place on this Sabbath cornerstone.

1986 was one of many prime periods for Dio.  Your perception of this CD set will largely hinge on how much you like Craig Goldy vs. Vivian Campbell.  Goldy was a fine replacement though his shredding often sounds like a green kid just going for it.  There is plenty of great Dio material to enjoy, all killer no filler from start to finish…solos aside that is.  There’s even a live version of the smooth “Time to Burn”, the first new song with Goldy from the Intermission EP.

There is a nice selection of live Dio available on the market.  Finding the Sacred Heart would be a great choice for most, but if you want Dio live with Vivian Campbell, probably best to go for the Donington 1983 & 1987 set.  This one certainly sounds excellent, it’s a beautiful recording and mix.

4/5 stars



  1. I was actually listening to some Dio yesterday (Dream Evil)! I don’t think I’ve ever heard any live Dio… I take it some of the film of this will be on YouTube?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes sir. Live Dio is amazing. The man was without equal and he always has great players with him. This was a good version of the band. And I happen to love Dream Evil BTW.


        1. I really feel Dio was one of the greatest metal frontmen of all time. For “metal” itself…maybe the greatest. For rock and roll, I put David Lee Roth, Paul Stanley, and Freddie Mercury up there.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting you mention out of place keyboards on Heaven and Hell – I found the keyboards on Cash’s version of Personal Jesus a bit distracting as well.
    Sometimes less instrumentation can be more!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruining awesome songs by cramming them into medleys is something that should only be found in a boxset or bonus tracks. Not in a live setting.
    I agree completely that the solos all took precedent and they shouldn’t have. However, this was the mid 80’s and this stuff was in style unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was all the rage. And often, those solo spots served other purposes too. If you had this on video it would be easier to tell, but there could be costume changes and big set pieces being moved around during the solos.


  4. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how much awesomeness he had to draw from for a gig. Shame they chose to medley some of it. I’d say, rather, just choose one or two tracks from each earlier period, play them in full, and carry on.

    Still, it’s Dio. You know he did it with love. This sounds awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed fully. You know he put thought and care and time into the medleys. I just don’t like medleys as much as Dio does, I guess! He has been doing medleys for a long time, so he must enjoy doing it. At least he is good at it.

      Being that it is what it is, I heartily endorse this live Dio!


  5. Holy Shite! I was at this concert! Most of the concerts I went to back then took place at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. If you want to look for me, I was near the front in the front row of the second tier on the left hand of the stage. I was wearing that Twisted Sister bandana around my noggin. That’s a trademark with me. Anyway it was a fantastic show and what I liked was the dragon was out at the beginning and them came out again at the end. Cool stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well too be honest Mikey If Dio had kept Goldy or whoever was on guitar when the Wolves album came out I would have passed.
        The fact that a kid who was younger than me playing in a band at the time with a Lead Singer at the time who was probably my Dads age psyched me out so I had to hear it….


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