Last night Ronnie James Dio, the man, the myth, the legend, came to town. I have always liked him and his music, during his Black Sabbath and Rainbow days, as well as his solo career. According to me, he's been greatly underrated for a long time. I went with my friend Peter E and we decided to buy tickets at the arena. Besides for a guard at the door that seemed both deaf and dumb, we got inside eventually.
Two support acts were playing before him, bands that I've never listened to nor seen, so let me cover their performances first:
I'm sorry to say this, but their performance was a disaster. They had some kind of taped intro, and after that it got all quiet. After a minute or so, they waddled on stage, and started to play. The first couple of minutes, it sounded like they were tuning up, waking up or just plainly playing different tunes from each other... Terrible.
It got more ok after a while, but still definitely not good. The guitarist was no doubt skilled, but he kept playing lead and soloing all the time. He should learn from the likes of Toni Iommi that less is often more...
After Asia, Uriah Heep were a delight. Their playing was very tight and they were really into it. I just loved their bass player, Trevor Bolder. His looks, the faces he made, his extraordinary good playing. Man, what a beat!
I liked most of the songs and their style, but mostly how incredibly good they were at playing together. However, they were having their 35th year-anniversary, so not a big wonder...
When Dio entered the stage, people went crazy. While I didn't care too much about the musicians he brought with him (except for former AC/DC drummer Simon Wright) and especially the guitarist's never-ending useless solos, they did their work in the verse and chorus parts. Dio's singing is amazing; I can't believe his voice is still as good as it ever was.
The set list was nothing short of a dream come true. Just look at these examples:
Don't Talk to Strangers
Heaven and Hell
Long Live Rock 'n' Roll
Man on the Silver Mountain
Rainbow In the Dark
Stand Up and Shout
The concert was a fantastic evening, and I can't believe good ol' Dio still has got it in him. His age is well-discussed, but if it's true that he's 63, it's pretty unbelievable. It also got me thinking about the big and young acts today; I wonder who of them will still be playing, and even more importantly, will still be interesting to watch when they're 60.
This was most likely my last concert this year, and what a way to end.