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Dio: Evil or Divine (DVD)

I hope you and I are as spry when we're 54 (or 67 or whatever) as Ronnie James Dio is at that age. The eternally young rocker prowls the stage at New York's Roseland Ballroom – on Friday the 13th of December 2002, no less – in this live concert video, his long curly hair giving way to an increasingly higher forehead, dressed in black leather pants and a black shirt with a large silver cross on the front, voice as fine-tuned as the motor of vintage sports car.

The 15-song set on Evil or Divine covers the entire Dio era, from Holy Diver to last year's Killing The Dragon, plus includes material from Rainbow ("Man on the Silver Mountain") and Black Sabbath ("Heaven and Hell"). Dio is backed by a tight four-piece band, including longtime bassist Jimmy Bain, drummer Simon Wright and keyboardist Scott Warren. Guitarist Doug Aldrich (Hurricane, Whitesnake) stepped in for Craig Goldy, who departed prior to this tour. But Aldrich, who's remarkably solid considering he's only been with the band for one album, was replaced by Goldy for a six-week tour earlier this summer with Iron Maiden and Motorhead. Evil or Divine's Dolby Surround 5.1 and DTS audio options put viewers right in the middle of the sweaty, male-dominated, horns-throwing crowd – the best place to be for a gig like this.

The DVD loses a few points, though, for grainy video quality, an overly long guitar solo during which Aldrich appears as if he's going to destroy his instrument, and a shoddy video diary misleadingly labeled as "behind the scenes footage." But the rest of the bonus material is worth your while. There's an insightful 11-minute interview with Dio, a well-spoken and self-assured gentleman ("I'm not nervous because I know I'm going to be good") who elaborates on religion, séances and influences while dressed like a king and seated on an elaborate black throne that looks like it belongs in a castle somewhere. There's also the "Push" video, starring Tenacious D, from Killing the Dragon, a video you probably didn't see on MTV. (Neither did I.)

This DVD offers proof that Ronnie James remains a class act, nearly 25 years after he replaced Ozzy Osbourne for Sabbath's Heaven and Hell album. Here's to growing older, good fellow …

Added: March 14th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Dio Web Site
Hits: 2917
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Dio: Evil or Divine (DVD)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-03-16 17:32:29
My Score:

Dio is one of the true survivors in the world of Heavy Metal music. His rich history across the genre began with his band Elf, then on to Rainbow, Black Sabbath where he replaced Ozzy and finally his influence as a solo performer. For those who have ever seen Ronnie James Dio perform in concert, they can attest for certain that he commands the stage and truly gives the audience their money's worth when they come to rock with him.
This CD was recorded during his "Killing The Dragon" tour. His lineup was Jimmy Bain (bass), Simon Wright (drums), Scott Warren (keyboards) and Doug Aldrich (guitars).

The song selection for this recording was a good one, as Dio has decided to include much more of his Rainbow material and his Sabbath stuff than in recent years. Given these tunes legendary status at this point in time, it was a smart move in my opinion. Highlights to me were definitely "Man On The Silver Mountain" as well as "Long Live Rock And Roll". Killer numbersfrom his Rainbow years without any doubt. It also includes the stapletracks from "Holy Diver"; a CD which I am hoping comes to a remastered state
very soon. The production was well-done and all instruments are clear andnothing overpowers the other. The guitar solo by Doug Aldrich is killer; he is someone who can stand along the other great axe men in his genre. Dio himself stands out as you might expect and there is very little difference in his voice from the studio recordings to the live shows even after many years.

There is a companion DVD to this CD release and the only difference in the two besides one being audio and the other video would be the exclusion of the Simon Wright drum solo and the song "Lord Of The Last Day". I am mostly a fan of drum solos but they really have to be spectacular in order for me to focus on them on a CD than in a live setting. Not much of a difference in the end, so you as a fan can choose to pick up either piece. Check out one of them, especially if you are an old-school classic sound fan.

Dio: Evil or Divine (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-03-14 08:53:36
My Score:

As a companion piece to the DVD, Spitfire Records has now also released a live CD of the same show. With songs spanning from Dio's years with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and of course his illustrious solo career, there's plenty here to sink your teeth into, regardless of what era of Dio's storied past you might be into. Guitarist Doug Aldrich in my view is better suited to Ronnie's music than Craig Goldy, as his chunky riffs fit perfectly on staples like "Stand Up and Shout", "Holy Diver", and "We Rock", and he does a great Tony Iommi impression on "Children of the Sea" as well as "Heaven and Hell". Dio, as always, sounds great here for a guy his age, which is why many call him the ageless wonder.

The fact that he dug out "Long Live Rock and Roll" and "Man on a Silver Mountain" from the Rainbow catalog is reason enough to get this set in my view. However, to these ears, listening to all of these old and new tunes back to back, I just can't help but think how generic recent songs like "Killing the Dragon", "Push", and "Fever Dreams" sound when stacked up against "Rainbow in the Dark", "Don't Talk to Strangers", and "Egypt". Still, this is an exciting set from one of metals true legends.

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