Monday, October 3, 2011

Dio Disciples Come to Preach

Dio Disciples

Venue: House of Blues Cleveland
Date: September 28, 2011

“…you watch their faces, you’ll see their traces of the things they want to be, but only we can see…”-From the Gospel of Dio, Book Last in Line, sec. We Rock

It is has been about 17 months since Ronnie James Dio’s death that shook the metal community. However, his spirit and the power of his music has remained as a new venture was created by Dio’s last band members to tour and play his music from Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and of course his solo band. The singers they recruited are no slouches either as Tim “Ripper” Owens and little known Toby Jepsen joined the fold.

The band was electric right from the get-go with an energetic performance of “Stand Up and Shout” followed by “Holy Diver.” The Ripper was spot on with his vocals and did made it look effortless. Jepsen made his first appearance with the first Rainbow tune of the night in “Kill the King.” Jepsen possesses a very good vocal range and did the Dio songs justice. To add the aura of the songs, Owens and Jepsen would shoot back and forth on vocals and sometimes one would do the harmony in the background. The Rainbow classic “Stargazer” utilized this and was one the highlights of the night.

Craig Goldy was on fire all night with the guitar. Having to cover Ritchie Blackmore, Vivian Campbell, and Tony Iommi is no easy task, but he was on spot and very impressive. Whether it was the fury of “Kill the King”, the prodding of “Egypt (The Chains are On” or the majestic “Heaven and Hell”; Goldy nailed it.

The rest of the band was awesome too. Veteran bass player Rudy Sarzo still erupts energy as if he was still 25 and the way he wields the bass is fun to watch. Scott Warren provided the atmospheric keyboards and gave the amp “Rainbow in the Dark” and showed the catchier side to “Long Live Rock and Roll.” Behind the kit, Simon Wright was a beast all night pounding away like a rabid animal and was in a heap of sweat when it was all said and done.

When you get down to it though, it’s all about the songs and the expected classics were there like “We Rock”, “Mob Rules” and “Rainbow in the Dark.” A surprising omission was “Neon Knights” and that only two Sabbath songs were played. A few surprises were also included like “The Shed (Subtle)” and also the overture and “Lord of the Last Day” from Magica.

The best one-two punch of songs was “The Shed” and “Kill the King” because not only are they amongst my favorite songs of the whole Dio catalog, but the sheer ferocity and actually hearing these songs live was a true privilege. With the Holy Diver cover draped in the behind the band it was clear they were going to deliver a heavenly performance. After 90 minutes, the Disciples called it a day and I am happy to say I am a follower.

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