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.