The following is a review a Dio show on the first leg of Angry Machines US tour, originally mailed to me. Republished here with permission from the author. I had to edit the layout a little bit for better outlook on web, but all the information is still intact.
From: Rob McEllhiney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Dio in Louisville
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 22:14:35 -0600
I was at work sitting in my cube staring out the window watching the jets take off from the Nashville International airport when the phone rang. It was my brother in Louisville, KY. He tells me that he had just heard that Dio was playing in Louisville. Well, I decided to take a 1/2 day off work and head north to check out thou master. On the way out of town I pick up a copy of the new Dio CD. I had put off buying it because of my reaction to "Strange Highways". I had bought that CD when it first came out and was somewhat disappointed.
Saturday November 23, 1996, we pull up to the Toy Tiger in Louisville, KY. We arrived a couple of hours early so we went in and shot some pool and drank some beers. This place holds about 400 to 500 people max. About 9:30 a warm up band comes on and plays cover tunes. Megadeth, Metallica, Pantera, etc. I remember them playing "Sober" by Tool.
Between 10:30 and 11:00 the lights go down. The rumble from the wall of speakers turns into "Jesus, Mary and the Holy Ghost". Wow, I'm thinking this sounds a hell of a lot better than I remember it on the CD. Ronnie is standing about 30 feet from me and they go into "Straight Through the Heart", "Don't Talk to Strangers". I believe the next tune was "Hunter of the Heart".
I might not have the set list exactly right but there were several pitchers and Sweatleaf preceding the show. I do know around here they played "Mistreated". Tracy G went into an effects heavy guitar solo. "Heaven and Hell" was next. Ronnie did the "There's a big Black shape looking up at me......" but left out the "Little white shape" part? I believe next were "Holy Diver", "Double Monday", "Big Sister", "Stand Up and Shout" and "The Last In Line". I had seen the "Last in Line" tour some 13-14 years ago but had forgotten how powerfully magnificent Dio's live voice is.
I have the majority of his recorded material (Elf, Rainbow, Sabbath, Dio) but as we all know there is 'something' about being in its presence. His performance this evening was flawless. "Don't dream of women, cause they'll only bring you DOWN.." I wish he would incorporate the word "DOWN" in his songs more often. Like the "Rainbow" deal. I love to hear him sing that word.
The Monday before, I had went to see Zack Wylde in Nashville. He was unplugged as I had expected but he just didn't ROCK. I've seen Ozzy on the "Blizzard", "Diary", "Ultimate Sin" twice, "No Rest", "No more Queers" and three times on the "Ozzmosis" tours. I cannot remember ever being impressed by the power of his voice in concert as I was with Dio's. Ozzy is Ozzy and I should not even make the comparison! It's like Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Anyway, this night Dio ROCKED. They closed the show with "Rainbow in the Dark" and "Mob Rules". The crowd was chanting "DIO" as the house lights came on.
My brother, myself and the couple next to us sat there for a while and finished off a couple pitchers. We finally decided to head and while driving around the building we noticed a group of people standing at the rear exit. "Hey man," I said, "let's check it out." We parked and walked up to the group. I'm standing there and Tracy G and Vinny Appice come walking by. The bass player could of been with them but I didn't notice because I couldn't see him during the show. Ronnie had announced during the show that his new bass player was from South Africa. I didn't catch the name.
Anyway as Tracy G walks by I say something like "Hey man, great show". He stops and I ask where they are playing next. He says that they are heading north and then on to Europe. He signs my ticket stub and they head off towards a burger joint across the street. About this time Ronnie steps out and heads into the tour bus with just a little wave to the crowd.
One of the tour dudes tells the crowd to move around and line up beside the bus and so happens I end up 4th or 5th in line. I stepped up to the open door of the tour bus and Ronnie is setting there on the steps. We shook hands and he autographed my "Angry Machines" CD. I told him that I enjoyed the show and had seen him before during the "Last in Line" tour in Evansville, IN. He said that he remembered playing with Sabbath in E-ville when Sammy Hagar was opening for them.
I also mentioned that I was a Systems Analyst in Nashville and had been keeping track of him via the internet. I said that there was this Tapio guy in Germany that wanted people to send in reviews of his shows. Ronnie said that Tapio was actually in Finland. He also said that Tracy G and Vinnie both had web sites. While talking with him I was struck by his aurora of intelligence.
I can't even imagine how many times I have listened to "Rainbow Raising", "Long Live Rock n Roll", "Heaven and Hell", "Mob Rules", "Holy Diver" and "The Last in Line". It was one of those transcendental moments only experienced a few times in life. Strange to be talking to a man who has had such an impact on my life! It is hard to imagine a man of his magnitude and talent touring the small clubs. However, I am eternally grateful for this chance meeting which would of been highly unlikely at a large venue.
Ronnie, if you read this, hope to see you in Nashville.........
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