The following is a review of a Dio show on the fourth North American leg of Angry Machines tour, originally posted to alt.music.dio.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Colin Rosenthal)
Subject: Ronnie and the Rednecks
Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 11:52:16 -0600
Dio at The Grizzly Rose, Denver, 05/27/97
The thought of seeing Dio at Denver's best known Country and Western club must have filled more than a few of his fans with misgivings. Was this an indication of yet another new musical direction? Would he be opening with "Carolina County Ball"? And didn't the mysterious fact that the show was billed as "Ronnie James Dio" rather than "Dio" indicate a country direction? Would we have Vinnie-Bob Appice on the drums as well?
Such fears were quickly allayed when I arrived to find the house PA belting out a good assortment of classic rock hits to a small but enthusiastic audience of denim and T-shirt clad rockers.
Now I have been a crazed Dio fan for almost 15 years but I hadn't seen him live since the "Dream Evil" tour. Could he still stand up as a serious live act, or was this just a nostalgia show from the oldies circuit "...and next month REO Speedwagon" as the DJ ominously announced?
Well here are some notes on the night that followed...
* Local Support Band. Apparently they were named "Colon", and if not, they should have been. nuff said.
* The Venue. A smallish stage and a medium sized dance floor seemed to occupy only a tiny corner of this massive club. Dio must have felt like the Blues Brothers in the great "Rawhide" scene. They play both kinds of music here...
* Dio hit the stage about 9:40 and instantly blew away any doubts or misgivings I might have had. The first thing I noticed was the voice, and has he still got it - yes and no mistake. Ronnie can still span the range from sweet-voiced angel to beast of the pit and it was all on show tonight. Admittedly he was beginning to sound fragile by the end, but by that point we were all past caring.
* The set list. I'm not going to list it all but it was basically a selection of the new and the old with nothing in between - not a song from Sacred Heart to Strange Highways. After all these years I finally got to hear the great man sing Catch the Rainbow. The new material has much more impact live than it does on CD. I would have been happy to hear more
* The fans. A small crowd of just a few hundred but making up in enthusiasm what they lacked in numbers. I was suprised at how young they were - I was expecting a bunch of old farts like me but they seemes to be mostly college age. This being my first gig in the States for many years I was struck by the large number of Hispanic fans.
* Ronnie seemed in good mood, although he was getting pissed off at some heavy-handed security dudes at one point. He also cut his hand shaking hands with a fan - I hope it was just from a finger-ring and not anything deliberate. Since the next song was "Stand Up and Shout" it added a special touch to the line "It's like broken glass, you get cut before you see it".
* Vinnie just looked pissed off, but otherwise seemed in good form.
* Tracey and the bassist whose name I forget still look like guys who were rejected from a Slayer audition for being too ugly. That said, they both played absolute stormers.
* Introducing one song as "The Last in Linedance" was a nice touch.
The bottom line - Ronnie James Dio, still the greatest rock-singer of them all.
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