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Dio Concert Review

DIO ( The Man! The Band! )
Live June 13th ’02
DTE Energy Center-
Detroit Michigan

Dio (the man and the band) has proven year after year and decade after decade to be one of the true giants in the world of metal. This was proven yet again here in Detroit Michigan on June 13th at the DTE Energy center. On tour for their latest album Killing The Dragon, the current lineup features Ronnie, Simon Wright on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass, Scott Warren on keys, and new guitarist Doug Aldrich (formerly of Hurricane and Lion). The bill for this summer is Dio along with Deep Purple and Scorpions. It’s a dream metal bill, but unfortunate because there just isn’t enough time for all three bands to get their usual headlining 90 minutes. I was worried in particular about Dio since they were opening, but it turned out that they did get a full hour, so all considering, I couldn’t complain! Especially after witnessing their amazing set!! They managed to not only comply with the obligatory hits, but also a couple jems for the hardcore fans! The set kicked off with the opening/title track from the new album. Ronnie and band came out with all guns blazing. Ronnie dressed in black leather and black velvet, looking and sounding amazing! Next up was long lost concert favorite Egypt (The Chains Are On) which turned into a medley that went back and forth with Black Sabbath favorite Children Of The Sea. This was certainly one of the many highlights of the set. Dio’s voice was bigger than all of us! Then came another new album cut: Push. Followed a little prematurely and given the time restraints, unecessary, a Drum solo. Another Dio classic Stand Up And Shout got the crowd doing just that, as new guitarist Doug Aldrich more than held his own with these rock veterans. He not only brought his own style to the table with some great lead work on songs from the new album, but he impressively pulled off all the classic solo’s on the older material from Ronnie’s past. When it comes to classic solo’s by greats like Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore, and Vivian Campbell, it is important to be faithfull to the originals, and Doug did a great job of it! That is more than can be said by mid 90’s Dio guitarist Tracy G, who made little attempt to so. Introducing the next song (Rock N Roll, off the new album) Ronnie described the song as being about efforts to thwart our U.S. freedoms such as the events of 9/11 and censorship. With words like these as well as the energy and musicianship of the band, the set went from strength to strength and the crowd rode the building momentum throughout the show. Another medley followed, this time it was Rainbow classics Man On The Silver Mountain and Long Live Rock And Roll. This medley also featured an impressive guitar solo from Doug Aldrich. These classic’s, even though they are almost 30 years old now, seem to get better and better, and more frantic, as the years pass. Or is it just Ronnie’s voice that never seems to wane?? Holy Diver then seemed to get the biggest response of the set next to a “radio edit” version of Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell. This song which is usually a drawn out concert epic, was played in a shorter version without the usual vocal and solo interplay middle section, due to the shortened time slot. Closing the set was Rainbow In The Dark, which also got a loud response. Even though it was considerably short for a Dio set, it was powerful, impressive and quite memorable! I thought the set list was chosen smartly, and spanned most of the important era’s of Ronnie’s career that it could in 60 minutes. My only complaint was including to big solo’s in this short of a set. I can see giving Doug one, to show off your new guitarist. But the drum solo was a waste of time and momentum. Egypt was a great surprise! Well, I guess I do have one other complaint. I felt that other than the title track, which is a perfect set opener, they seemed to choose the weaker songs from the new album. Great songs like Along Comes a Spider, Guilty, Scream, and Better In The Dark would have better represented the album than the mediocre Push and the drawn out mid tempo Rock N Roll. The later is over 6 minutes long, and has a pretty weak chorus. Out of the three bands, I enjoyed Dio the most by far, and I am a huge fan of all of these bands! Word has it that there will be a full headlining tour in the states this fall. I can’t wait!!!