The following is a review of a Dio show of the second leg of the Angry Machines European 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: "Rasmus Heide" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Dio in Copenhagen 1997
Date: Sat, 29 Mar 1997 23:39:16 +0100
I've saw Sir Ronnie James Dio last Wednesday. And what a show!
To begin with I was overawed with simply being in the same room as the original Mr Stargazer (- not to mention Man On The Silvermountain, Catch The Rainbow, Rainbow Eyes, etc, etc. His voice was a little low in the mix to begin with I thought, but this changed. When he first entered he went straight to the edge of the stage and shook hands with a few people, big smile on his face. He simply exuded good mood, happiness to be there and enthusiasm for his art. This was gonna be a great night! His singing was fabulous. I was thinking how he probably couldn't outdo Doogie for range, but how his voice still sounds so excellently. I've never seen him live before and was quite taken in with his onstage presence and rather feminine moves and gestures underlining the lyrics. Lovely. He's one of the true classics - those early Rainbow albums will never be surprassed - neither will the live shows of 1976-77.
The show opened with some sort of spooky rumbling noises and then went into Jesus Mary & The Holy Ghost off Strange Highways - one of my favorites. Sadly it was the only track from that album during the show, but other surprises awaited. He did mostly his own material - Dio band tracks from Holy Diver and The last In Line, also including Rainbow In The Dark with that silly keyboard riff (do keyboards play riffs?), and also Heaven And Hell from the Sabbath days and Mob Rules as the very last encore. From the new album he didn't do Don't Tell The Kids (fortunately!), but Double Monday (which was medley'd into Stand Up And Shout) and Hunter Of The Heart which both came across OK, though obviously greeted with much less enthusiasm as the older tracks.
The surprise was introduced as being from one of the bands he was in many years ago; Rainbow. A song that was released on Rainbow Live Onstage - Mistreated! Considering how he'd often introduce it in the old days as a song that was originally recorded by someone he couldn't remember this was a surprise! The band's performance of the track was nothing to write home about, but Ronnie's vocals were superb. And before launching into the long guitarsolo he even did a verse or two from Catch The Rainbow, though I suspect most of the audience didn't even notice it. This was truly classics time, but I kept having visual disturbances during this part of the show. I'd see a lean figure clad all in black move about to the right side of Ronnie, pretending to play a creamy white Stratocaster. Oh if only...! I suppose for nostalgia it was great to hear these two old Rainbow tracks merged into one, but the musical execution left a lot to be desired.
Having said that though, the rest of the show was spotless. He's got a new bass player who did a good job and the guitarist's long solo was even mildly entertaining - more so than for instance Satriani's solos with Deep Purple (I kid you not!). And at the back there was the unmistakable Vinnie Appice. A true master of this kind of music. I'd never watched him live before so I thought he looked a bit clumsy in places, but his playing was quite perfect. He's so heavy it's unbelievable. His face contorted with almost every move. After the drumsolo Ronnie said if only we could hear him when he wasn't suffering from pneumonia!!
Of course I'd give you the exact setlist had my recording come out OK. Something went wrong and consequently I was kicking myself later when I discovered I'd not recorded a single second from this show - one of the most enjoyable, exciting shows I've seen in months. After the show I waited outside with a bunch of Swedish fans and some Danish friends. In the end, after the band was long gone, Ronnie came out and his roadie told us to line up in front of the bus and he'd sign everything there. This was a properly arranged signing and was well worth the wait. I got most of my Dio collection signed (including the two classics; Rising and Onstage) and even got a few photographs with the man (not had them developed yet). He was extremely kind, signing any amount of stuff the few people there presented to him and answering questions. To all the recent stories of him and Blackers working together again he said they were just that, stories. I remarked to him how I really like the Dehumanizer album and he called it "one of the most underrated albums ever" - contradicting himself in a recent interview where he said it had been a big mistake to get back with Sabbath for that album.
Overall it was a very exciting night. Ronnie James Dio has always been one of my real heroes - my friend said how he was almost at the same level as someone in Purple in terms of being one of the true classics and I'd fully agree. Dio's music has certainly moved me whether it be his Rainbow stuff or with Sabbath or his own band just as much as most of Purple's music. After the recent years meeting & greeting events with my old heroes I'm running out of people I want to meet - though I can still think of a few; Cozy Powell and Colin Towns are two and there might be others.
For anyone who might get a chance to go and see Dio, please do yourselves the favour of going. You won't come away disappointed.
Rasmus Heide, Denmark
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