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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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Buy the Blu-ray at Amazon.com
Buy the CD at Amazon.com

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”

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www.myspace.com/dioofficial

DIO – Sacred Heart

Dio – Sacred Heart (1985, Vertigo Records – West German Import)

1. “King of Rock and Roll” … 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” … 3:55
9. “Shoot Shoot” … 4:20

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

Producer: Ronnie James Dio

Alright! I own a Cold War-era import! I’m guessing the U.S. pressing (where it was released on Warner Bros.) is out of print? Doesn’t matter, owning imports gives you an extra bit of credibility and cool and this is one of the last few Dio album I needed to acquire to make my collection complete.

I’ve read a lot about this album not stacking up to Holy Diver or The Last in Line and that may be true but it doesn’t make Sacred Heart anything to stick your nose up at! In fact, this is pretty good stuff. It’s Dio! How can you go wrong? Just his voice alone makes his albums worth the price of admission and sure he’s criticized for using the same themes over and over again but honestly — what’s wrong with angels, dragons, rock ‘n’ roll and evil women? I’ve listened to this album 4 or 5 times in full since buying it and I haven’t gotten tired of it.

There are a few keyboard-heavy commercial efforts here. Seems a if Dio was trying to replicate “Rainbow in the Dark” with songs like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” and “Hungry for Heaven” but that’s okay because I happen to like the songs. They’d be better though without the keyboards and that goes especially for “Hungry for Heaven” which is a catchy rocker but it totally loses its balls when the keys come in.

Dio’s first two albums went platinum and this one only went gold (500,000 copies sold). None of his albums have been certified gold or platinum since. If this is the beginning of any popularity “downfall” for Dio there’s still more than a few good notes here for him to go out on. Quality certainly isn’t the issue as far as I’m concerned. Sacred Heart is a solid release in a long history of them from Dio.

In addition to being Dio’s last flirt with mainstream success, this was guitarist Vivian Campbell’s last album in the group. Vivian joined Whitesnake in 1987 and has enjoyed a cushy job in Def Leppard since 1992.

“Shoot Shoot” is often cited as one of Dio’s worst songs but I don’t see it that way. It’s not great and the lyrics are silly but I don’t think the song is terrible. I guess I’m just not that hard to please when it comes to Dio.

Highlights: “King of Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Sacred Heart”, “Another Lie”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children”, “Hungry for Heaven”

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

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