REVIEW: Dio – Live In London – Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (2014)

DIO – Live In London – Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (2014 Eagle)

The only good thing that came from Ronnie Dio’s death is the number of reissues and live albums we’ve gotten since.  One of the more overlooked eras of Dio was the “Tracy G” era, Strange Highways and Angry Machines.  Dio had just reunited in the middle of the grunge movement.  Tracy G (ex-WWIII) was not to everybody’s taste.  While he could indeed shred, he also utilized shrill noise and harmonics in his guitar work which isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.  He could, however, lend Dio a heavier edge necessary in 1993.  Add in bassist Jeff Pilson from Dokken and veteran drummer Vinnie Appice and you have one hell of a lineup.

Dio assembled a setlist with his best material, but ignoring a couple albums.  Lock Up the Wolves and Dream Evil were considered disappointments when they were new.  Even Sacred Heart is skipped over on this live album, in favour of old classics and a healthy serving of new songs.  Sabbath and Rainbow only get a song a piece.

The sound is bloody perfect, as if they meant to release a double live album all along.  Having Pilson on bass lends a heavy, low grumble and immaculate backing vocals.  Tracy G might be an acquired taste on guitar but there’s no question he could do the job.  He gets an extended solo on “Pain” that displays shredding, noise and musicality.  Vinnie Appice gets a long solo too, as part of a “Heaven and Hell” / “Man on the Silver Mountain” medley.  Eventually the band returns and they pound out a machine gun riff with monstrous Pilson bass licks.  Incidentally, it’s Jeff Pilson that captures that old Black Sabbath/Geezer Butler groove better than any other bassist Dio has had.

This is a phenomenal live album.  Sure, you can buy live Dio with better known lineups and songs.  You can get live stuff with Vivian Campbell or Craig Goldy.  This setlist is considerably different from those, and the sound is heavy as hell!

4.5/5 stars

 

28 comments

    1. I’m not sure in what universe that Dream Evil could be considered a failure. “Night People”, “Sunset Superman”, “All the Fools Sailed Away”, the title track etc. That’s a kickass album.

      Sacred Heart is pretty decent too, shitty production aside. Funny, Dio kept the same engineer for his early stuff, but it’s like every album he did up to Sacred Heart sounds worse than the one before, and then Dream Evil sounds like a demo too. Sounds like they recorded the vocals with the pre-amp turned up way too hot. Too much distortion that’s not supposed to be there! Good thing the songs are great. Lock Up the Wolves sounds way better, but on the other hand, it’s Lock Up the Wolves. Damn it!

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      1. Well, Dio himself ragged on Dream Evil himself. Don’t you guys remember? 30 years ago?

        First of all the magazines and fans ragged on it being too soft. Then Dio himself complained it was unfinished. Ronnie was not happy with it. I have an article here I cam scan for you! I’m not making this up. I didn’t say it was my opinion, I’m saying it was the general opinion of the time.

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        1. I didn’t get it until well later. Ronnie trashed it pretty hard in that one interview so I thought, “Well, it must be shit.” So then when I bought it, and heard songs like Sunset Superman for the first time, I thought “What the fuck? This is great.” I don’t think the audio is that great, but the songs are.

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  1. I had checked out by the time Intermission came out. I did buy the album with the 19-year-old and then checked out again.
    You can’t beat those first 3 studio Dio albums. I even dig Sacred Heart the album that Campbell calls Poop.

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  2. I recall an unofficial meet and greet way back in the day my friend and I we the last ones in the line and Vinnie and Ronnie ended up singing to us. That was cool.

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  3. Looks like the later Dio albums on Vinyl are being released (they are up for pre-order on amazon.ca) for March 20th. I’m picking up Magica – based on your recommendation, and Killing the Dragon (a buddy of mine loves that album, don’t think you’ve reviewed it). I’ll skip on Angry Machines (for now) as you gave it a poor review. Any thoughts on Master of the Moon by Dio (or Killing the Dragon)? Cheers, Joel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will definitely be buying the Dio reissues but on CD not vinyl. I don’t recall liking Killing the Dragon or Master of the Moon much. The song “Killing the Dragon” was awesome. I notice on Facebook, people like those albums a lot more now than when they were new, so I will look forward to giving both fresh spins!

      M

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