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Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No frills, just good old-fashioned ROCK, 3 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Holy Diver Live [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Dio has, as Tenacious D point out, rocked for a long, long time but on the evidence of this live concert DVD, its going to be some time yet before he is ready to pass the torch.

This show, filmed at the London Astoria in October 2005 was built around the seminal 1983 album 'Holy Diver'. The prospect of seeing the whole of the album performed live drew in the punters wherever they played, and the Astoria was packed out to see Dio's current line-up take a step back in time. There was a late change to the squad however; regular guitarist Craig Goldy had withdrawn from the tour with a hand injury so former Dio six-stringer Doug Aldrich deputised at extremely short notice, having just completed a tour with Whitesnake.

Although the band were renowned at one time for their ever more elaborate stage sets, these days they stick to the basics, just five guys on stage, with lights, amps and a simple backdrop (of the 'Holy Diver' album cover art) - Denzil has long since been retired! The filming of the concert footage is similarly straightforward; plenty of camera angles offering many views of the band members rocking out, including one 'flying camera' over the crowd. Unlike the previous DVD: 'Evil or Divine', there is no grainy filter effect nor are there any sepia 'cut' shots - just straightforward live footage all the way.

With such a minimalist approach it falls to the guys on stage to deliver the goods, and alongside Ronnie James Dio is one of rock's real showmen in bassist Rudy Sarzo. He throws shapes many guitarists would balk at, while keeping perfect time and all with a huge grin on his face - he shows here why he has remained in demand among the premier league of hard rock. Doug Aldrich on the other side of the stage brings electrifying solos and equally dynamic stage presence to Dio. He and Sarzo are a perfect blend; the DVD is worth getting just to see these two at work. With Simon Wright driving the whole thing along with precision and Scott Warren adding the colour it is a formidable combo.

OF course the main focus is on the man who gives his name to the band: Ronnie James Dio demonstrates here just why he is held in such high regard by fans and fellow musicians alike. His voice remains strong and clear, if a little lower in pitch nowadays, and his ability to deliver his lines with such power while bounding about the stage is truly astonishing - others would need to stand and breathe deeply to do that, and to do it for two hours plus, night after night, beggars belief.

The DVD features the full set from the Astoria show, and the 'Holy Diver' segment is preceded by a short animation; an extended version of that was played each night but is edited down for this presentation. They have left in a scary moment when a stage intruder dared to invade during 'Heaven and Hell'; not the brightest thing that fan ever did but it was handled superbly by the singer, and it did not even throw him off his stride. Both drum and guitar solos are featured in full, and a nice moment is when the camera zooms out to reveal an audience member holding a digital camera up to take a picture of Doug Aldrich in full flight. At the end of the set, with the cheers of the crowd ringing in the band's ears the footage fades out.

The interview section is reasonably standard fare, interestingly however it is bassist Rudy Sarzo who is on screen first, all band members talk about how well things had gone on the tour. Particular mention was made of the band's trip to Russia prior to the UK dates; both RJD and drummer Simon Wright spoke at length about the enjoyable experience the band members had. Finally, the crew get to speak on camera too, and it is clear they too remain fans of the 'man on the silver mountain'.

All in all a worthwhile purchase, whether you were lucky enough to see this show last year or not. The band are once again on the road this year, with Craig Goldy having recovered from injury to reclaim his guitar role, and as intimated at the top of this review, Tenacious D will have a long wait before they can expect the torch!
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Location: Liverpool, England, UK

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