Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review- Dio/ Live In London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993

Dio/ Live In London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (Eagle Rock, 2014)

This was a difficult era for Dio. While the Strange Highways album was released in Europe in 1993 it didn't see a Stateside release until February of 1994. I caught Dio at the Detroit stop at the State Theatre on June 2, 1994. There were less than 1,000 people there, with both the mezzanine and the balcony roped off. I felt bad for Dio. He was so out of step with what was going on in America at the time. Everyone had turned their backs on Metal, which I could never understand. If you like something, you like it. All of a sudden nobody ever liked Metal.

The set that I caught in Detroit was similar to the one on this double live album, which was recorded on December 12, 1993. Children Of The Sea wasn't played in Detroit but everything else here was, albeit in a different order. Live In London is 18 songs across two discs (17 if you don't count Drum Solo as a real song) and is great. This was the reconstituted Dio band, which he resurrected after the short-lived reunion with Black Sabbath in 1991-1992. Vinny Appice, who left Dio in 1989 but rejoined him in Sabbath, was in tow. Jeff Pilson from Dokken stepped in as bassist. Tracy G was the new guitarist and was a member of WWIII, which was the band that Appice left Dio for in the first place. His style was pretty aggressive for Dio but I enjoyed his tenure for what it was.

These posthumous live albums are great. While I saw Dio live many times, it saddens me that I'll never get to see him in concert again. I welcome any and all future live albums. I would also welcome a comprehensive box set with all of the assorted non-LP tracks and live B-sides.

Like at any Dio concert, the man was a professional who never seemed to have an off night. This album could have been recorded at any stop and would probably have been just as good as he was for this performance.

Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5. 

2 comments:

  1. Nobody likes metal? Metallica and Pantera were among the biggest bands of the era. They were unaffected by grunge and rap, and proof that if you made decent music, people still cared.

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    1. Well Metallica were playing it very safe during this time, and once Load came out (1996) they tried as hard as they could to distance themselves from Metal. Go back and read the interviews from that era. Pantera also did not refer to themselves as Metal until maybe 1996 or so. Again, refer to interviews from the era. You cite two bands that were still selling albums but forget to mention the dozens who were selling albums but then once Grunge blew up couldn't get arrested.

      It also depends on what part of the world you lived in in 1994. In the US it was dead, D-E-A-D, dead. No one at shows, no radio, marginalized to the ghetto of Metal magazines, etc. I was at many shows (20-30 or so a year back then), and there weren't more than a couple hundred people there for some of these bands. Veteran acts were forced back into smaller venues.

      Then I would see Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins and the show would be completely sold out. Again, this was the state of it in the US. In Europe and abroad I am certain that it was a much different scene.

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