Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona) was born in Portsmouth July, 10 1942, only son of an Italian family. Dio is a legend of heavy metal. He has recorded with some of the greatest bands in the world including, of course, Black Sabbath and Rainbow. His solo albums are just as incredible. I can honestly say that I have been a fan since the beginning. I saw Dio in Philadelphia at a little theatre in Downtown Philly with Twisted Sister. A year later he sold out the Spectrum with Twisted Sister again opening the show. Ronnie also sang for Elf in the early to mid 1970's as well as did some vocals on Kerry Livegrin's first solo album.

On May 16th, at 7:45 AM, Ronnie James Dio passed away from his battle with stomach cancer. CANCER SUCKS!

Holy Diver
Dio - Holy Diver
(Warner Bros.) 1983

1. Stand Up and Shout (3:15)
2. Holy Diver (5:54)
3. Gypsy (3:39)
4. Caught in the Middle (4:15)
5. Don't Talk to Strangers (4:53)
6. Straight Through the Heart (4:32)
7. Invisible (5:26)
8. Rainbow in the Dark (4:15)
9. Shame on the Night (5:20)

Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio

One of the all-time greatest heavy metal discs. What makes this album such a masterpiece is that Dio bought the mystical lyrics and showmanship of Black Sabbath and fused it with Rainbow's high spirited rock'n'roll and sense of melody. Mix that with some 80's guitar crunch and Vivian Campbell's firey leads and you have yourself one fine album. There simply isn't a song on this disc that isn't great; from the up tempo opener "Stand Up and Shout," which was just meant to be a concert opener, to the classic mid-tempo title cut, to the classic hit "Rainbow in the Dark". This album was recorded at the Sound City studios in Los Angeles. All the keyboard work on the new project was done by Jimmy Bain, although rumor has it that Dio played some keyboard too. The album went platinum in the United States alone. This and the next three Dio CDs would feature the "classic" lineup of Ronnie James Dio with ex-Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain, ex-Black Sabbath drummer Vinnie Appice and guitarist Vivian Campbell. Also on board was keyboardist Claude Schnell who had played behind the scenes with Black Sabbath. For some strange reason Claude was never listed as a member but would be with Ronnie for quite some time. Fortunately I was able to see the band on this tour in a small theater outside of Philadelphia with Twisted Sister opening. It was a great show. The success of this album pushed Ronnie to the big stadiums by the next year and when he came around again in '84, again with Twisted Sister, they sold out the Philadelphia Spectrum.

We Rock Dio - Rainbow in the Dark (Vertigo) 1984

1.Rainbow in the Dark
2.Stand Up and Shout [live]
3. Straight Through The Heart [live]

12" import, collector's EP. Side one is the same studio version of "We Rock" from "The Last in Line". Side two features two tracks recorded live at Monsters Of Rock, Castle Donington, UK August 20th, 1983.

Last in Line Dio - The Last in Line (Warner Bros.) 1984

1. We Rock (4:35)
2. The Last in Line (5:48)
3. Breathless (4:09)
4. I Speed at Night (3:26)
5. One Night in the City (5:14)
6. Evil Eyes (3:38)
7. Mystery (3:55)
8. Eat Your Heart Out (4:02)
9. Egypt (The Chains Are On) (7:02)

It must have been hard to follow up an album as strong as "Holy Diver" but Dio follows up in fine form. "Last in Line" is just as impressive, if not moreso, than the debut. The title track is one of Dio's best songs. It is a timeless metal anthem. "I Speed at Night" is one of the faster Dio songs. "Breathless" is a bonified Dio classic as well.

Saw Dio again on this tour, again with Twisted Sister opening. Together they sold out the Philadelphia Spectrum.

Dio 1985
the classic DIO line-up: (L - R) Ronnie James, Vivian Campell, Vinnie Appice & Jimmy Bain

Last in Line 2013
2013 Dio tribute band Last in Line featuring Vivian Campell, Vinnie Appice, Claude Schnell, Jimmy Bain & vocalist Andrew Freeman

We Rock Dio - We Rock (Vertigo) 1984

1.We Rock
2.Holy Diver [live]
3. Rainbow in the Dark [live]

12" import, collector's EP. Side one is the same studio version of "We Rock" from "The Last in Line". Side two features two tracks recorded live at Castle Donnington 1983.

We Rock Dio - Mystery (Vertigo) 1984

1. Mystery
2. Eat Your Heart Out [live]
3. Don't Talk To Strangers [live]

12" import, collector's EP. Side one is the same studio version of "We Rock" from "The Last in Line". Side two features two tracks recorded live at Spokane Coliseum, Spokane, USA July 24th, 1984.

Spectrum 84 Dio - A Special from the Spectrum (CDR bootleg)
Recorded live in Philadelphia, PA Aug. 24, 1984

1. Stand Up and Shout (4:40)
2. Don't Talk To Strangers (5:42)
3. Mystery (4:19)
4. Egypt (3:53)
5. drum solo (3:59)
6. Heaven and Hell (11:48)
7. The Last in Line (7:29)
8. Heaven and Hell (4:51)
9. Rainbow in the Dark (5:00)
10. We Rock (5:21)

Ronnie James

This was a very cool find, not only because it's a great show from a classic period in Dio's career, but because I actually attended this concert. I saw Dio the year before at a small club in Philadelphia with Twisted Sister. Only a year later Dio returned the King of Metal, selling out the Spectrum again with Twisted Sister. Every song on this disc is a classic. The sound quality of this boot is quite good, for the most part, as it came from a professionally recorded video. Vivian Campell's guitar solo is awesome and had me wondering why he would be happy just playing rhythm guitar in Def Leppard.

We Rock Dio - Rock 'n' Roll Children (Vertigo) 1985

1. Rock 'n' Roll Children"
2. We Rock [live]
3. The Last in Line [live]

Pre-release 12" import, collector's EP. Side one is the same studio version of "Rock 'n' Roll Children" from "Sacred Heart". Side two features two tracks recorded live in 1984 at the Philadelphia Spectrum, a show I was lucky enough to attend.

Dio - Sacred Heart (Warner Bros.) 1985

1. King of Rock and Roll [live] (3:49)
2. Sacred Heart (6:27)
3. Another Lie (3:48)
4. Rock 'n' Roll Children (4:32)
5. Hungry for Heaven (4:10)
6. Like the Beat of a Heart (4:24)
7. Just Another Day (3:23)
8. Fallen Angels (3:57)
9. Shoot Shoot (4:20)

Hmmm...I suppose this was Ronnie's attempt at commercialism. Ronnie's popularity had grown to epic proportions over the past two albums and I would imagine that the record company was putting a lot of pressure on Ronnie to write some radio friendly stuff like "Rainbow in the Dark." There are a few choice jems on this disc, like "King of Rock and Roll" and "Another Lie." "Hungry for Heaven," a song that was also used in the movie "Vision Quest," was an obvious attempt at recreating "Rainbow in the Dark". Dio's stage show had become outrageous by this point with Ronnie even slaying a giant dragon on stage. He created a video from a show that I was at, "Live at the Spectrum" or something like that. "Shoot, Shoot" is one of the worst Dio songs ever.

Jimmy Bain
Jimmy Bain

Hungry for Heaven Dio - Hungry for Heaven (Vertigo) 1985

1. Hungry For Heaven
2. King of Rock and Roll
3. Like the Beat of a Heart [live]

Yet another collector's 12" vinyl EP. This one was released in European, UK and US versions, each with slightly different track listings. My copy is the UK version with the live version of "Like the Beat of the Hear" recorded live at the Philadelphia Spectrum, 1985.

Intermission Dio - Intermission (Warner Bros.) 1986

1. King of Rock and Roll [live] (3:41)
2. Rainbow in the Dark [live] (4:42)
3. Sacred Heart [live] (6:23)
4. Time to Burn (4:25)
5. Rock 'N' Roll Children (medley) [live] (9:40)
(Long Live Rock 'N' Roll/Man on the Silver Mountain)
6. We Rock [live] (4:55)

Dio 1986
Vinnie Appice, Claude Schnell, Ronnie James, Craig Goldy & Jimmy Bain

"Intermission" is a live EP that was harder than heck to find on cd. I use to own all Dio's 12" singles. All of them contained a live track on the b-side. I wish Warner Bros. would re-release this live EP with all those b-sides as bonus tracks. Now that would be a great disc. As it stands, this live disc is good, just too short. "Time to Burn" is a new studio track that was sandwiched between the live songs.

Dream Evil Dio - Dream Evil (Warner Bros.) 1987

1. Night People (4:06)
2. Dream Evil (4:26)
3. Sunset Superman (5:45)
4. All the Fools Sailed Away (7:10)
5. Naked in the Rain (5:09)
6. Overlove (3:26)
7. I Could Have Been a Dreamer (4:42)
8. Faces in the Window (3:53)
9. When a Woman Cries (4:43)

"Dream Evil" is Dio's fourth album and was released in July of 1987. The album was the first to feature new guitarist Craig Goldy, who had replaced Vivian Campell during the "Sacred Heart" tour. (Vivian went on to play with Whitesnake and Def Leppard..) Obviously, Craig had something to prove here. Before Dio, Goldy was known for the pop metal sounds of Guiffria and Rough Cutt. With with Dio, however, he proved that he had the heart and chops to replace Vivian without skipping a beat. As would be expected, the guitar playing is outstanding. Of course, Ronnie is Ronnie, so not much needs to be said about the vocals. "Dream Evil" was the last album to feature original drummer Vinny Appice, though Vinny would appear again in 1994 on "Strange Highways" and would also follow Dio back to Heaven and Hell a over decade later.

"Dream Evil" is a return to form for Dio, in my opinion. The album is darker and heavier than "Sacred Heart". The songs have better hooks as well. "Sunset Superman," "Night People" and "All the Fools Sailed Away" are all standout cuts on par with anything from "Holy Diver" or "Last in Line". "Naked in the Rain" is a fantastic song as well. When I saw Dio in April 2000, he played a few of these songs and they sounded as good as all the older classics. Why this album isn't held in as high regard by metal fans as those first two Dio platters is a mystery to me.

Could Have Been a Dreamer Dio - I Could Have Been a Dreamer (Warner Bros.) 1987

1. I Could Have Been a Dreamer (4:40)
1. I Could Have Been a Dreamer (4:40)

Promotional 7" picture sleeve single for "I Could Have Been a Dreamer" from the "Dream Evil" album. I believe the song was the second single from the album behind "All the Fools Sailed Away" and was written by Dio and Craig Goldy.

I found this little piece of Dio history in a 50¢ discount bin at a record show and snapped it up. It's in excellent condition and is a nice addition to my Dio vinyl collection.

Lock Up the Wolves Dio - Lock Up the Wolves (Reprise) 1990

1. Wild One (4:02)
2. Born on the Sun (5:39)
3. Hey Angel (4:59)
4. Between Two Hearts (6:27)
5. Night Music (5:05)
6. Lock Up the Wolves (8:30)
7. Evil on Queen Street (6:01)
8. Walk on Water (3:42)
9. Twisted (4:44)
10. Why Are They Watching Me (5:00)
11. My Eyes (6:34)

Rowan Robertson signature guitar pick.

"Lock Up the Wolves" features an entirely new Dio line-up and now features guitarist Rowan Robertson (from England, who was only teenager at the time), Simon Wright of AC/DC fame and ex-Yngwie Malmsteen keyboardist Jens Johanssen. Jens went on to join Stratovarious and Masterplan. (I'll bet if someone made one of those family trees for Dio, it would be quite large but very interesting.)

"Lock Up The Wolves" is one of the forgotten gems of the Dio catalog. My initial thoughts on this album wasn't exactly positive. I had thought that it was rather bland and unmemorable in comparison to the classic albums that Dio recorded in the past. However, over time my appreciation for "Lock Up the Wolves" has grown. Album opener "Wild One" is a fast and furious speed metal romp and features a smokin' guitar break. "Born of the Sun" is a mid-paced, gothic, heavy metal song that could have easily have fit onto "Last in Line". "Hey Angel" is probably the most easily like-able song and was in fact the single released for the album. The song has a hooky chorus and a slightly more commercial appeal than the two opening tracks. "Night Music" is another dark and doomy heavy metal song that is very typical of Dio, as is "Evil On Queen Street" and the eight-minute long title track. "Twisted" is a slightly bluesy song recalling Dio's Rainbow days.

Despite the presence of keyboard player Jens Johansson, the keys are pushed into the background and are nowhere near as prominent as the guitars. "Lock Up the Wolves" is a guitar heavy album, much more-so than "Sacred Heart". New guitarist "Rowan Robertson" had some pretty big shoes to fill, but does a fine job throughout. For whatever reason, this line-up only lasted for this one album. Out of the four musicians here, only Simon Wright would go on to any future projects with Dio.

Though it's one of the least recognized Dio albums in his long catalog of music, it is still a very good heavy metal platter. "Lock Up the Wolves" may not surpass album like "Holy Diver" and "Last in Line" as fan favorites, It also sports on of Dio's more wicked looking album covers.

Diamonds Dio - Diamonds-The Best of Dio (Vertigo) 1992

1. Holy Diver (5:51)
2. Rainbow in the Dark (4:15)
3. Don't Talk to Strangers (4:53)
4. We Rock (4:32)
5. The Last in Line (5:44)
6. Evil Eyes (3:36)
7. Rock 'N' Roll Children (4:31)
8. Sacred Heart (6:24)
9. Hungry for Heaven (4:09)
10. Hide in the Rainbow (4:04)
11. Dream Evil (4:24)
12. Wild One (4:01)
13. Lock Up the Wolves (8:30)

I own this cd for one reason; "Hide in the Rainbow" the song from the "Iron Eagle" soundtrack, which I have never seen. Some copies of this disc have a misprint on the back where "Sacred Heart" is listed as "Sacred Children." Well at least they didn't make the same mistake with "Hungry for Children." There is also a cd with similar track listing called "Dio-Anthology."

Strange Highways Dio - Strange Highways (Reprise) 1993

1.   Jesus, Mary & The Holy Ghost (4:13)
2.   Firehead (4:06)
3.   Strange Highways (6:54)
4.   Hollywood Blac" (5:10)
5.   Evilution (5:37)
6.   Pain (4:14)
7.   One Foot in the Grave (4:01)
8.   Give Her the Gun (5:58)
9.   Blood from a Stone (4:14)
10. Here's to You (3:24)
11. Bring Down the Rain (5:45)

Jeff Pilson signature bass pick

Another new guitarist, Tracy G, who manages to stay with Dio for the next few albums. "Strange Highways" also maked the return of Vinnie Appice. I'm not sure what the deal is, but Dio's studio stuff just isn't what it use to be. The songs are just not as memorable. The one thing I give Dio credit of is that he at least stayed true to himself and didn't sell out to grunge or some other crappy trend when his popularity disintegrated. I am so glad that Dio never did a MTV unplugged album. Anyhow, another killer cover, but the songs are just not his best although this album is slightly better than "Lock Up the Wolves."

I use to own an cd by a band called 8 Ball Cholos called "Satan's Whore" which also featued Tracy G, but I never listened to it, so I traded it off.

Angry MAchines Dio - Angry Machines (Mayhem) 1996

1.   Institutional Man (5:08)
2.   Don't Tell the Kids (4:19)
3.   Black (3:11)
4.   Hunter of the Heart (4:13)
5.   Stay out of My Mind (7:11)
6.   Big Sister (5:36)
7.   Double Monday (2:56)
8.   Golden Rules (4:54)
9.   Dying in America (4:39)
10.  This Is Your Life (3:25)

Tracy G signature guitar pick
Dio & Tracy G
Ronnie James Dio & Tracy G

"Angry Machines" is a far better record than I had first given it credit for. The sound here is a bit heavier and darker than earlier Dio albums. There are several standout cuts on this album including the dark, heavy album opener "Institutional Man", as well as cuts like "Hunter of the Heart", "Black" and "Double Monday." Also, album closer "This Is Your Life" is a splendid piano ballad.

On "Angry Machines" guitarist Tracy G manages to grab a few writing credits. Unfortunately many Dio fans felt that guitarist Tracy G didn't quite fit the Dio bill, having a much more "modern" sound than any other guitarist Ronnie had worked with in the past. Perhaps this is true. I know when this CD first came out I wasn't overly impressed with it either. However, with time I've come to enjoy it quite a bit.

This album features another cool CD cover. This would be an album I would like to own on vinyl, for the cover if for nothing else. It's also noteworthy to mention that longtime Dio drummer Vinnie Appice and on-again/off-again Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson fill out the remainder of the Dio line-up for this album.

Anthology Dio - Anthology (Polygram) 1997

1. "Holy Diver" (5:52)
2. "Rainbow In The Dark" (4:14)
3. "Stand Up And Shout" (3:18)
4. "Straight Through The Heart" (4:34)
5. "Last In Line" (5:47)
6. "One Night In The City" (5:16)
7. "We Rock" (4:36)
8. "Egypt (The Chains Are On)" (6:58)
9. "Shoot Shoot" (4:17)
10. "Time To Burn" (4:26)
11. "All The Fools Sailed Away" (7:13)
12. "I Could Have Been A Dreamer" (4:46)
13. "Sunset Superman" (5:46)
14. "Shame On The Night" (5:19)

Yet another Dio 'best of' compilation. "Anthology" is a European import. I picked up this CD in a cut out bin, still sealed for $3. This CD is far from being an extensive anthology of Dio. While the song selection for this compilation is pretty good, almost 1/3 of this CD is made up of tracks from "Holy Diver" and another 1/3 being from "Last in Line". The remaining tracks are taken from "Sacred Heart" and "Dream Evil", which totally ignores anything from the Rowan Robertson or Tracy G years. Also, whoever chose the tracks for this CD missed great songs like "Hungry For Heaven", "Rock and Roll Children" from "Sacred Heart" while managing to include perhaps the worst song Dio ever wrote, "Shoot Shoot". For the most part, with the exception of track 14, the songs are in chronological order. A part two to this anthology was released in 2001 and includes the rest of the tracks from "Holy Diver".

Inferno: Last in Live Dio-Inferno: Last in Live (Mayhem) 1998

1."Intro" (1:36)
2."Jesus, Mary & Holy Ghost" (3:27)
3."Straight Through the Heart" (5:47)
4."Don't Talk to Strangers" (6:02)
5."Holy Diver" (4:59)
6."Drum Solo" (4:01)
7."Heaven and Hell" (7:29)
8."Double Monday" (3:18)
9."Stand Up and Shout" (4:08)
10."Hunter of the Heart" (5:15)
1."Mistreated/Catch the Rainbow" (10:11)
2."Tracy G-Guitar Solo" (3:38)
3."The Last in Line" (6:54)
4."Rainbow in the Dark" (4:56)
5."The Mob Rules" (3:37)
6."Man on the Silver Mountain" (2:11)
7."Long Live Rock and Roll" (4:14)
8."We Rock" (5:40)

Larry Dennison signature bass pick.

Obviously Ronnie knows what his fans want to hear as his live set comprises almost completely of early material. Dio delivers five songs from "Holy Diver," two from "Last in Line," plus a few classics from Black Sabbath and Rainbow . I sort of wish he would have included some material from "Dream Evil" rather than Deep Purple's "Mistreated." Also, Vinnie Appice's drum solo is rather simple. For some reason, I remember him doing a better drum solo than this. In any case, this is a good live album. While Dio's recent studio efforts have not been his best work, there is no question that he is still a stellar live performer.

Dio - Magica
(Spitfire) 2000

Dio - Magica [Deluxe Edition] (Niji Entertainment) 2013

1.   "Discovery" (:54)
2.   "Magica Theme" [instrumental] (1:16)
3.   "Lord of the Last Day" (4:04)
4.   "Fever Dreams" (4:37)
5.   "Turn to Stone" (5:19)
6.   "Feed My Head" (5:39)
7.   "Ebeil" (7:22)
8.   "Challis" (4:01)
9.   "As Long as It's Not About Love" (6:28)
10.  "Losing My Insanity" (5:04)
11.  "Otherworld" (4:56)
12.  "Magica" [reprise] (1:53)
13.  "Lord of the Last Day" [reprise] (1:44)
14.  "Magica Story" (18:21)

1. Magica Story (18:26)
2. Annica [instrumental] (3:44)
3. Electra (6:22)
4. Feed My Head [live] (5:44)
5. Fever Dreams [live] (4:18)
6. Lord of the Last Day [live] (4:09 )
7. As Long as It's Not About Love [live] (5:34)
8. Losing My Insanity [live] (4:05)


Magica LP
Limited edition, numbered "Magica" picture LP

Dio 2002
Ronnie James Dio 2002
(Hey did he borrow that shirt from Alice Cooper?)

I dunno, maybe it's nastalgia, maybe it's that I'm a Dio diehard, but I love this disc. Bought it new the day it came out. Listened to it over and over again as I had a ticket to see Dio at a local bar and I wanted to be familiar with the new disc. Good thing I did as he played the ENTIRE DISC from start to finish. Thankfully, it did not include track #14 which is Dio telling the story of Magica. Never have made it all the way through it. Magica is the first Dio concept disc and is a sci-fi tale of good (Blessing) vs. evil (Evilsyde). "Magica" marked the return of bassist Jimmy Bain as well as guitarist Craig Gouldy and ex-AC/DC drummer Simon Wright . Tracy G apparently was asked to play second guitarist to Craig, but refused and stepped down. Hmm, probably was a wise decision. Check out the Tribute section for the Dio tribute.

As seems to be the case with a lot of albums in the past couple years, Magica was remastered and re-released in 2013 with a second disc of bonus material. The bonus disc contains eight tracks, though only seven are exclusive to this disc. Track one is the narration that was originally on the single disc version of "Magica". "Annica" is an instrumental that was initally only released in Japan, but really should have been part of the Magica album. The song features some nice soloing from Craig Goldy. "Electra" is a demo song that was to be recorded on "Magica II", which was delayed due to Ronnie's involvement with Heavan & Hell will sadly never see the light of day due to Ronnie's passing. The remaining tracks are all live songs. Very little information is given about these songs in the booklet other than that they are "official live bootleg". This is, of course, an oxymoron. It's either a bootleg or it's official. The reason for labeling the song 'bootleg' is to excuse the rough recording quality. Regardless, I saw this tour, so having these live tracks brought back some fond memories. This new expanded edition also has extra goodies like a booklet with an essay about Dio by Mick Wall and complete lyrics. There is also a photo card of Dio included.

Dio also appeared on the Aersomith tribute CD, "Not the Same Old Song & Dance" singing "Dream On" with Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar around this same time.

Killing the Dragon Dio - Killing the Dragon (Spitfire) 2002

1. "Killing the Dragon" (4:25)
2. "Along Comes a Spider" (3:32)
3. "Scream" (5:02)
4. "Better in the Dark" (3:43)
5. "Rock and Roll" (6:11)
6. "Push" (4:08)
7. "Guilty" (4:26)
8. "Throw Away the Children" (5:35)
9. "Before the Fall" (3:48)
10. "Cold Feet" (4:11)
Jimmy Bain Pick
Jimmy Bain signature bass pick

Limited edition, numbered "Killing the Dragon" picture LP

I was anxious to get this new disc after thoroughly enjoying Dio's last studio disc "Magica." However, as good as that disc was, "Killing the Dragon" is without a doubt his best disc since "Dream Evil." I'd even be so bold as to say that "Killing the Dragon" is Dio's best disc since "Holy Diver". Yes, it's that good! The writing team of Ronnie James Dio and Jimmy Bain back in place. "Killing the Dragon" is full of galloping, gothic heavy metal with Dio's signature voice wailing along. Every song on this disc is as good as the next, a feat that Dio has not accomplished since those early days after Black Sabbath. The first three tracks alone had me wanting to replay this disc over and over within the first few weeks of owning it. "Scream" sounds like it could easily have been written for "Holy Diver" yet at the same time sounds fresh and new. "Better in the Dark", "Rock 'n Roll", "Guilty", "Along Comes the Spider" and the album's first single "Push" are all excellent Dio compositions. "Rock 'n Roll" in particular seems to have a quality to it that reminds me of "Last in Line" or even some of the better material from "Sacred Heart." Overall, the music is heavy and catchy, Ronnie's voice is strong and his vocal melodies are parallel to his best work with Sabbath, Rainbow or Dio, which is saying alot. I suppose some will accuse Dio of just reinventing the wheel or living in the past. However, I could care less whether Ronnie is on the cutting edge of modern music or not. I'd much rather hear Ronnie do what he does best, and he certainly does that on ""Killing the Dragon."

One thing I found odd about this disc was the absence of guitarist Craig Gouldy, who I had thought was still with Dio and who had recorded on "Magica". While Gouldy does have some writing credits on "Killing the Dragon" new guitarist Doug Aldrich is credited with all the guitar work and takes some of the songwriting credits as well. Doug pulls of some fine guitar solos on this disc. Drummer Simon Wright is back for another go however, along with legendary bassist Jimmy Bain. Dio is touring the U.S. opening for Deep Purple and the Scorpions to promote this disc. I would love to see him build his audience back up again and return as the reigning dragon slayer he was in the 80's.

Master of the Moon Dio - Master of the Moon (Sanctuary) 2004

1. "One More For The Road" (3:17)
2. "Master Of The Moon" (4:19)
3. "The End Of The World" (4:39)
4. "Shivers" (4:16)
5. "The Man Who Would Be King" (4:59)
6. "The Eyes" (6:27)
7. "Living The Lie" (4:26)
8. "I Am" (5:00)
9. "Death By Love" (4:22)
10. "In Dreams" (4:26)
Dio '04
Ronnie James 2004

Dio returns in 2004 with yet another metal monster, and a good follow-up the the equally monsterous "Killing the Dragon". The difference, however, is that "Master of the Moon" returns to the slower, doomier style present on "Magica." Instead of being more upbeat like "Push" the material present here is all of slower tempo. This will probably put some people off, especially those who seem to feel that it's not metal unless it's played 100mph. As for me, I tend to think metal is far more diverse than this rigid definition. Besides, Dio is the very definition of metal. Album lead-off track "One More For the Road" is one of the more upbeat tracks, and sounds like the perfect track for the opening of the Master of the Moon Tour! This song is typical of Dio, with is heavy riffs, haunting vocals and Craig Goldy's shredding leads. There are a couple of songs like "The Man Who Would Be King" and "The Eyes" that are much slower than anything I remember Dio doing in the past. These songs are more typical of doom metal with their slow, crunching riffs. Honestly, I could see these two songs fitting on a Black Sabbath album. Even the title track has a slow, eerie feel to it. The majority of the material, however is of the mid-paced variety with Dio's signature elf wail layered on top. Several songs features the keyboards very prominently, although never so that the guitar riffs is lost. Rather the keys are used more as effects, not unlike how the keys were used in Dio's timeless hit "Rainbow in the Dark." This works so well in tracks like "Shiver" where the keys really add to the emotion of the song. Likewise, "The Eyes" has a cool guitar effect in it that adds to the overall feel of the song. I must confess that unlike previous Dio efforts, this one is a grower. While the doomier feel threw me for a loop with the first listen, I found myself listening over and over again and enjoying it more and more with each listen. It's also worth mentioning that once again, this album features one of Ronnie James Dio's finest line-ups, including Craig Goldy - guitars, Jeff Pilson - bass, Scott Warren - keyboards and Simon Wright - drums.

Evil or Divine Dio - Evil or Divine: Live in New York City (Spitfire Records) 2005

1. "Killing the Dragon" (5:06)
2. "Egypt/Children of the Sea" (7:56)
3. "Push" (3:53)
4. "Stand Up and Shout" (3:36)
5. "Rock and Roll" (5:11)
6. "Don't Talk to Strangers" (5:48)
7. "Man on the Silver Mountain" (2:24)
8. "Guitar Solo" (9:06)
9. "Long Live Rock and Roll" (4:15)
10. "Fever Dreams" (4:08)
11. "Holy Diver" (5:06)
12. "Heaven and Hell" (6:38)
13. "The Last in Line" (5:44)
14. "Rainbow in the Dark" (5:04)
15. "We Rock" (5:15)

I am very glad that Spitfire decided to release this DVD on CD. While live videos are cool, I tend to watch them only once in a blue moon, whereas I listen to CDs over and over again. I saw Dio on this tour, and just about every tour he's done. Dio is spectacular live. He has never let me down, and this CD is a testament to that fact. Both the newer tracks, as well as the old fan favorites are all performed with Dio's usual, robust, energy. The band is tight, including shredder Doug Aldrich. His guitar solo is quite good. Ronnie's band this time around was longtime bassist Jimmy Bain, guitarist Doug Aldrich, drummer Simon Wright and Scott Warren on keyboards. Nothing more to really add, except to mention that the production is good as well and this concert was recorded live on 12/13/02 at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC. This is a disc any Dio die-hard shouldn't be without.

Holy Diver Live Dio - Holy Diver Live (Eagle) 2006

1. "Stand Up And Shout" (4:33)
2. "Holy Diver" (4:46)
3. "Gypsy/drum solo" (9:46)
4. "Caught In The Middle" (4:51)
5. "Don't Talk To Strangers" (5:11)
6. "Straight Through The Heart" (4:37)
7. "Invisible" (5:17)
8. "Rainbow In The Dark" (4:46)
9. "Shame On The Night/guitar solo" (16:52)

1. "Tarot Woman" (6:53)
2. "Sign Of The Southern Cross" (3:21)
3. "One Night In The City" (6:10)
4. "The Gates Of Babylon" (8:23)
5. "Heaven And Hell" (11:25)
6. "Man On The Silver Mountain" (4:14)
7. "Long Live Rock 'N' Roll" ( 6:14)
8. "We Rock" (6:21)

I'm a sucker for live recordings. They capture a raw magic that a studio recording cannot capture. Perhaps this is a product of growing up in the 1970's when live albums were very popular. "Holy Diver Live" captures Dio and his band live in front of a sold-out crowd at London's Astoria in 2005. For this show Dio played the entire "Holy Diver" album in it's entirety. I would have loved to have been at this show. I had seen Dio in 2000 when he played the entire "Magica" album in it's entirety and I loved it. This show is no different. Unfortunately Dio's vocals on this album sound a bit tired. I had read reviews on-line that stated things like, "At 64 years old RJD is showing his age" and "RJD just can't sing anymore". This is just false. These people obviously have not experienced Dio live in recent years. Dio has lost none of his power with age. Rather, I think this CD captures Dio on a night where he was tired or not feeling well. He doesn't sound terrible, but I also know this CD doesn't represent what Ronnie can sound like live. Still, this CD captures a moment in time. Raw, edgy and heavy! This is Dio live and as a fan, I can't ask for more than that.

Donington Live Dio - Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987 (Niji Entertainment Group) 2010

DISC 1 (Recorded August 20, 1983)
1.     Stand Up and Shout (3:50)
2.     Straight Through The Heart (4:49)
3.     Children Of The Sea (6:16)
4.     Rainbow In The Dark (4:38)
5.     Holy Diver (5:09)
6.     Drum Solo (:41)
7.     Stargazer (1:42)
8.     Guitar Solo (1:39)
9.     Heaven And Hell (11:06)
10.   Man On The Silver Mountain (3:33)
11.   Starstruck (:47)
12.   Man On The Silver Mountain  (reprise) (2:30)
DISC 2 (Recorded August 22, 1987)
1.     Dream Evil (4:56)
2.     Neon Knights (4:44)
3.     Naked In The Rain (7:29)
4.     Rock N' Roll Children (2:47)
5.     Long Live Rock N' Roll/ Rock N' Roll Children (reprise) (4:39)
6.     The Last In Line (4:12)
7.     Children Of The Sea (1:22)
8.     Holy Diver (1:28)
9.     Heaven And Hell (3:18)
10.   Man On The Silver Mountain (4:29)
11.   All The Fools Sailed Away (4:23)
12.   The Last In Line (reprise) (1:22)
13.   Rainbow In The Dark (5:12)

It's unfortunate that it took the death of the legendary Ronnie James Dio for these classic live recordings to surface, but I am certainly glad that they have finally been released in an official format. The 1987 shows from this 2-CD set has been floating around as a bootleg for years. Thankfully Ronnie's widow Wendy and their label Niji Entertainment took great care to put out the best sounding release they could and these two shows sound far better than any bootleg I have heard.

Disc one features Dio on their very first tour and features the line-up of Vivian Campbell: guitars, Jimmy Bain (Rainbow): bass, Vinnie Appice (Black Sabbath): drums, Claude Schnell (Black Sabbath): keyboards and of course, vocalist Ronnie James Dio. The band blazes it was through a bunch of songs from the band's classic debut as well as a handful of songs from former Dio bands Rainbow and Black Sabbath. Unfortunately the track listing on the back of the CD is a little deceiving as several of the song were played only in part in a sort of medley with other songs, including two of my favorite songs "Stargazer" and "Starstruck". As was the tradition, there is an extended, audience participation version of "Heaven & Hell". I had been lucky enough to catch Dio on the "Holy Diver" tour at a small venue in Philadelphia with Twisted Sister opening. It was a classic performance, as is this show. Any doubts that this disc is 100% recorded live should be put to rest when you hear Vivian made a mistake in the middle of "Holy Diver", though he quickly corrects himself and is back in the groove. This is the mark of a true professional. The best of 'em make mistakes, but how you recover says a lot about a performer. In a live performance 99.9% of the people will never notice the mistakes, but when caught on tape like this live recording, there is no escaping from them.

By 1987, Dio-the-band, had a few more albums under their belt and whole lot more material to chose from. The lineup for that show was nearly the same as 1983, except that guitarist Craig Goldy replaced Vivian Campbell. Thankfully the show captures Dio during while touring for the hugely underrated "Dream Evil" album, so three songs from that album are included. As well, there are songs from along with tracks from "Holy Diver" (1983), "Last In Line" (1984), and "Sacred Heart" (1985). Being that this was festival show and not a headline show, several songs are played as part of a medley, rather than being performed in their entirety. Only four songs from the '83 show made it to the 1987 show. Besides the "Dream Evil" tracks, the resurrected "Neon Knights" sounds superb.

Both sets are fantastic, with excellent audio quality and are a fitting tribute to one of heavy metal's finest singers, Ronnie James Dio. Of the two shows, I actually prefer the '87 show because it is a bit longer and includes some songs not previously released on live albums. Dio At Donington UK: Live 1983 and 1987 should be in every metal fans CD collection. Ronnie may be gone but his legacy lives on.

Related Collections:
Elf | Rainbow | Black Sabbath | Heaven & Hell | Tributes | Kerry Livegrin

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