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.