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Holy Diver Live
(Eagle Records)

Another DIO live album, only one year after the release of "Evil Or Divine: Live In New York City"? Yeah, because this is a rather special one and should not to seen as the usual greatest hits type of collection. On October 22, 1995 DIO played a show at the Astoria Theatre in London, where the band performed its classic debut album "Holy Diver" in its entirety for the very first time in their career ever (documented on disc one here)! But not only that. The rest of the show also included 'We Rock' and 'One Night In The City' (off "The Last In Line"), two RAINBOW classics, that rarely (if ever) made it into DIO's setlist ('Tarot Woman' from the "Rising" album and 'Gates Of Babylon' off "Long Live Rock'n'Roll"), as well as the eternal RAINBOW / BLACK SABBATH standards 'Man Of The Silver Mountain' (for some strange reason, once again performed very lame), 'Long Live Rock'n'Roll', 'Sign Of The Southern Cross' and 'Heaven Hell'. Songwise definitely an amazing selection, but the whole event unfortunately also has a couple of negative aspects to it. Including Simon Wright's rather uninspired (and to me therefore rather superfluous) drum solo so early in the set not necessarily increased the energy level of the whole performance... Doug Aldrich's guitar solo in 'Shame On The Night' might have been far better in terms of his abilities (proving that he can easily switch from playing heavy to really emotional, Blackmore-inspired stuff), but for the benefit of the show easily could have been avoided as well. The biggest disappointment to me is sound of this double CD set though. It's not really a bad recording, don't get me wrong here, but guitars, bass and drums got buried a bit too much in the mix, while DIO's still extremely powerful voice is way too much upfront. This results in the fact that the whole material lacks the necessary heaviness a bit too much and also showcases that Ronnie partly seemed to have a tough time himself pulling some of the songs off in his usual quality this evening. All this might have been different, if you witnessed the original show in London (it's always a more exciting experience then), but on disc it turned out a bit disappointing. So, thumbs up for the overall idea and song selection but not entirely for the recording of it. For more info check out

Frank Stöver

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