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Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 [Review]

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Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986
2013, Eagle Rock Entertainment/Niji Productions

Disc 1
1. Draco Ignis
2. King of Rock and Roll
3. Like the Beat of a Heart
4. Don’t Talk to Strangers
5. Hungry for Heaven
6. Medley: The Last in Line/Children of the Sea/Holy Diver
7. Drum Solo
8. Heaven and Hell
9. Keyboard Solo
10. Guitar Solo

Disc 2
1. Sacred Heart
2. Medley: Rock ‘n’ Roll Children/Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll/Man on the Silver Mountain
3. Time to Burn
4. Stand Up and Shout
5. Rainbow in the Dark
6. We Rock

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 is Dio’s 5th live album and the second to be released posthumously. As becoming common with live releases (and I think this is a cool idea), not only does is this 1986 concert at the Philadelphia Spectrum presented in audio form but it is also available on DVD and Blu-ray. Truth be told, this show was released on VHS and DVD years ago but those versions were edited down to 60 minutes. Here, you get the entire concert. This is the first time the concert has ever been released as an album.

I watched the DVD a few years ago. It’s quite an enjoyable show and features Dio at the peak of his powers and flashy theatrics. Lasers, smoke and Dio fighting Denzil the dragon… what more could you want ?! Plus, I’ve always had a really soft spot for the Sacred Heart album, which the band was touring behind at the time. That’s probably my favorite disc from this band.

This is a great live performance. Most of the hits you’d want to hear from Dio are presented: “Rainbow in the Dark”, “We Rock”, “Sacred Heart”, “Heaven and Hell” and then there are three medleys to satiate the Black Sabbath and Rainbow fans even more.

Finding The Sacred Heart catches Dio going through a hair metal phase but it’s still a great release and features one of the better line-ups for the band. Well worth seeking out, as is this show in video form.

Highlights: “King of Rock and Roll”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “The Last In Line/Children of the Sea/Holy Diver”, “Sacred Heart”, “Stand Up and Shout”, “We Rock”

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Dio – The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 [Review]

Dio – The Very Beast Of Vol. 2
(2012, Niji Entertainment)

1. Killing the Dragon
2. Push
3. The Eyes
4. Along Comes a Spider
5. Better in the Dark
6. Fever Dreams
7. Black
8. Feed My Head
9. Shivers
10. Hunter of the Heart (live)
11. One More for the Road
12. Lord of the Last Day
13. Electra
14. As Long as It’s Not About Love
15. This Is Your Life
16. Metal Will Never Die
17. The Prisoner of Paradise

Dio is no stranger to compilation albums (I’ve already reviewed one of them before). According to Wiki, this is the 12th (!!!) Dio compilation. The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 I believe is the first to focus exclusively on Dio’s career post-1994. Predictably, it picks up where Warner Bros/Rhino Records’ The Very Beast of Dio left off by representing material from Dio’s last four studio albums: Angry Machines (1996), Magica (2000), Killing the Dragon (2002) and Master of the Moon (2004). Inferno: The Last In Live (1999) is also represented with a live version of the Angry Machines song “Hunter of the Heart” and Dio’s last recorded song, “Metal Will Never”, from cousin David “Rock” Feinstein’s Bitten By the Beast is here as well.

The last three Dio albums were all solid releases, Killing the Dragon particularly. The track list here is very well done though I would’ve included “Guilty”, “Cold Feet” and “Scream” (all from Killing the Dragon). But the real hook here isn’t that the final Dio albums are getting their own compilation. Nope. What’s notable about this release is the inclusion of the song “Electra”, an epic that was originally released on the extremely limited edition Tournado box set and was later meant to be included on Magica II (Ronnie had planned a Magica trilogy). It’s a classic slow evil Dio song and it’s great that it’s finally available to a larger market. That’s really the main reason to get this album if you’re already a hardcore Dio fan.

The other song to entice hardcore fans is the inclusion of “The Prisoner of Paradise”, which had previously only appeared on the Japanese pressing of Master of the Moon. This is another good track and it sounds like it could have come from Killing the Dragon.

The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 is a great companion for Warner’s original Very Beast compilation. Ronnie James Dio still had a lot left in the tank throughout the 2000s even if sales from these albums don’t really express that. Certainly, I’d recommend a compilation of ’80s classics to anyone looking to get into Dio but you can’t go too wrong here either. “Electra”, “The Prisoner of Paradise” and “Metal Will Never Die” (for those who missed it) more than make up for the die-hards who feel compelled to buy this album. Recommended pick up for those three songs alone. Everyone else should already have all the other albums represented!

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Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987

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

Disc 1: 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
7. “Stargazer” … 1:43
8. Guitar Solo
9. “Heaven And Hell” … 11:06
10. “Man On The Silver Mountain” … 3:33
11. “Starstruck” … 0:47
12. “Man On The Silver Mountain (Reprise)” … 2:30

Disc 2: 1987
1. “Dream Evil” … 4:56
2. “Neon Knights” … 4:44
3. “Naked In The Rain” … 7:29
4.” Rock and Roll Children” … 2:47
5. “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” … 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)” … 1:12
13. “Rainbow In The Dark” … 5:12

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar (Disc 1)
Craig Goldy – Guitar (Disc 2)
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Another great document and testament to the power of Dio live! This collection of two live Donington shows is the first album to be released under Ronnie & Wendy’s Niji Entertainment Group label. The album was in the works before Ronnie’s death (he gets executive producer credit) but sadly he did not get to see the release of this album. Disc One was recorded August 20, 1983 while Disc Two was recorded on August 22, 1987. These shows are available to us today thanks to the BBC archiving them (along with a couple of the other bands) for the purpose of a few radio broadcasts. Now they’ve passed the savings onto us!

And what a release it is! Very nice digipak foldout featuring some cool pics from the shows (the album cover is the best shot), promo art, a bit of history on the band leading up the shows, plus two mock-laminate passes for these ’83 and ’87 Monsters of Rock shows. Also, if you pre-ordered from Ronnie’s official site, included is an exclusive Dio VIP backstage pass. I’m not sure if the passes were from random tours but my pass is from the 1990 Throw ‘Em to the Wolves tour which of course had the band supporting the Lock Up the Wolves album. If the pre-order pass isn’t authentic and something they found in a warehouse somewhere, they really did a heck of a job with making it look so.

Disc One features a hungry band on fire and with something to prove. Ronnie was coming out of Sabbath and had just released Holy Diver the month before and the group was placed early on the bill. Ronnie and his gang had no choice but to throw down the gauntlet and show the world they could make it just fine, thank you. Half of the set list features songs from the then-new Holy Diver album while Ronnie also makes use of his Rainbow and Sabbath days to further win over the crowd. The worst part about this set? We are only teased with way-too-short versions “Stargazer” and “Starstruck”! But there is another lengthy and epic version of “Heaven and Hell” to make up for it while the band shows all kinds of flash, power and pizazz on their shiny new songs. A lively crowd throughout (even cheering on the new and soon-to-be classics) helps makes this an even better show.

Disc Two finds Craig Goldy stepping in for Vivian Campbell. An extended set list is here as well now that the band had graduated to “Special Guest” for their second Donington appearance playing second to last on the bill (Bon Jovi headlined this year). Dream Evil was the new album to promote that year (also coming out in the previous month) and it’s a good album so I have no problems with some of those songs making appearances but I would’ve loved to have heard “Sunset Superman” (in place of “Naked In The Rain”) and even “Sacred Heart” from the 1985 album of the same name. At least Sacred Heart‘s Rock and Roll Children made it! One of my favorite Dio songs. I’m also surprised “Holy Diver” got the short end of the stick but oh well. Still, with Dio now being able to call up on four albums of his own and adding a few more Rainbow and Sabbath nuggets to distinguish this set from the 1983 show, this is yet another great concert. Funny how “Rainbow In The Dark” had worked its way up to becoming the band’s closing number.

I won’t even get into the highlights this time. The first disc is full of fire and energy and the second disc thankfully does not repeat too much of disc one and is a fine total performance in its own right. Dio fans must own this album!

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DIO – Intermission

Dio – Intermission (1986, Vertigo Records – German Import)

1. “King of Rock and Roll” … 3:41
2. “Rainbow in the Dark” … 4:42
3. “Sacred Heart” … 6:23
4. “Time to Burn” … 4:25
5. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” Medley: “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”/”Man on the Silver Mountain” … 9:40
6. “We Rock” … 4:55

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Vivian Campbell – Guitar

Producer: Ronnie James Dio

Intermission is a fantastic live EP which features one new studio track. All of the live songs were taken from a performance on 12/06/85 at the Sports Arena in San Diego, CA. I’ve read a couple of different theories on why this EP was created. One theory states that it was an attempt to boost sales for the previous year’s Sacred Heart album (which found itself not doing quite as well as Dio’s first two efforts). The other theory is that it was meant to introduce new guitarist Craig Goldy to the world. Goldy had replaced Vivian Campbell in the middle of the Sacred Heart tour.

Vivian was still in the band at the time of the recording of the live songs so they actually had Goldy re-record some of those guitar parts. The new studio song “Time to Burn” was recorded entirely with Goldy on guitar. It’s a good song that is on par with some of Sacred Heart‘s better moments but anyone in 1986 who was hoping it would be a return to the Holy Diver or The Last In Line albums would have been disappointed… even more so since half of this EP is compromised of Sacred Heart songs. I’m a big fan of that album though so I think this EP is great. The live performances are typically very good. You can’t go wrong with Dio live. I especially enjoy “King of Rock and Roll”, “Sacred Heart” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” (which features a medley of “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Man on the Silver Mountain”).

I’ve had this album on my want list for a long time but it was always a low priority because it was a live EP. With the unfortunate passing of Ronnie, I decided there was no time like the present to get it. I tried to order it used on Amazon’s Marketplace but two or three days after placing my order, the seller told me they did not have it in stock and probably would not be getting it in stock again. So I went to my usual online stop CD Universe where they had it on backorder but I knew that was normal because every time I looked at the listing in the past it was always listed as such. I went ahead and placed the order anyway and hoped for the best. The CD finally shipped about a week and a half after I placed the order.

Highlights: “King of Rock and Roll”, “Sacred Heart”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children”

www.ronniejamesdio.com
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DIO – Dream Evil

Dio – Dream Evil (1987, Warner Bros. Records)

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

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Producer: Ronnie James Dio

I’m not really sure why I put off buying Dio’s solo albums for so long. I’ve never had a problem with the music or the man and I’ve become a HUGE Black Sabbath fan over the last two years. I basically figured Ronnie’s Stand Up and Shout collection was pretty much all I’d ever need but boy was I wrong! Dio is going to be one of those artists for me where I eventually plan on collecting all of his studio albums.

I bought this album the same time I bought Lock Up the Wolves. For whatever reason, I was drawn to Lock Up the Wolves first but now that I’ve backtracked chronologically to this album — I can say as much as I liked Lock Up the Wolves, Dream Evil is much better. Dream Evil is right up there with Holy Diver and The Last in Line as far as classic Dio goes. Perhaps if 1986’s Sacred Heart had stuck to the traditional Dio sound a bit more closely, Dio wouldn’t have already seen such quickly diminishing returns by the time this album was released.

Their really isn’t any filler to be found on this album in my opinion but I have to admit the album’s second single, “I Could Have Been a Dreamer”, is a guilty pleasure. Definitely the slickest most radio-ready song of the bunch but it peaked at No. 33 on the U.S. rock radio charts.

It’s a shame this album started Ronnie’s spiral into obscurity (though it was the gold-status Sacred Heart that did the damage, really) when it comes to the masses because this is a great heavy metal album that stands shoulder to shoulder with the group’s first two efforts.

Highlights: “Night People”, “Dream Evil”, “Sunset Superman”, “All The Fools Sailed Away”, “I Could Have Been a Dreamer”

www.ronniejamesdio.com
www.myspace.com/dioofficial

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