James Dio carves pentacles into the Universal Amphitheater's apses. A three-way
commentary by Jon Dunmore, Leslie Spring and Jim Davis.
Spring, Sony Music
So when did Dio turn into Gene Simmons? His chats with
the audience had all of the cadence and pitch of Gene hawking his new line of
KISS underwear, or KISS coffins, or KISS whatever. That was weird.
that, good ole' RJD sounded great as usual... I also liked how Doug Aldritch managed
to make lemonade from the lemons of a breaking string.
Dunmore, Egomania Records
I found his patter to be exactly the same as it always was; that lilting business-like
approach. I just wish people would stop mentioning 9-11 - give it a rest, world.
And the lyric "Long Live The USA and Rock And Roll" - I'm pretty sure
those arent the correct words to that song I looked it up.
we may have enjoyed the show for its professionalism, songwriting and charisma,
I know that you know that I know that you know that his voice was not cutting
it. Age trammels us all, and I think it's time for The Dio to do like The Dunmore
and ask his boys to TUNE DOWN a semitone, please. The power and glory of his unmistakable
timbre is still there (there is still only one DIO), but his range has diminished
somewhat, he opting for lower harmonies than singing the OOooh's, Yeehhh's and
diphthongs at their classic, recorded pitch. I know you have "Live Evil"
- check again what he does in the "bridges" to Heaven And Hell, with
the Oooh's and Yeehhh's (not to mention the verses themselves). When I first heard
that album, my jaw could not be lifted from my chest - to have seen THAT Dio live
would have been the bees knees, or the dragon's wings, as the case may be - actually,
I DID see "that" Dio live, when the band Dio toured Australia for the
Sacred Heart tour way back when - I can tell you that he did not drop a NOTE then.
All those throat-scorching melody lines that he set himself up as the super singer
to sing, were all in place and on FIRE [to be said like Dio, during Heaven and
Hell and any other song he says the word "fire" in]. He also had Craig
Goldy on guitar, who, while not a supertrouper, had his moments... and dats
don't think anyone will contest (except The Elf himself) that Viv Campbell was
probably the most tasteful and talented of the guitarists that Dio has ever worked
with (barring of course, the gods themselves, Iommi and Blackmore). Doug Aldritch,
though he has great taste in equipment, is a poor Malmsteen clone/wannabe who
has spent HOURS and HOURS practicing his scales, arpeggios and etudes naked in
front of his bedroom mirror and now he's gonna make us pay for it. Posing I can
handle (Blackmore, The Gene, Halford, Coverdale, The Dunmore, et al), but have
some SUBSTANCE to back up your posing with, instead of assaulting my ears with
your passionless noodling and buttonless shirt. He had M.I.T. WANKER written all
over his bared torso.
do agree he made lemonade with the broken string - I know how he felt - he looked
really pissed. Still, scraping your frittering fingers arbitrarily up and down
the fretboard, at one-hundred-thousand miles per hour, without any thought, feel
or propriety is gonna prompt a string to break simply out of principle.
Bain was great / cool/ a solid family member, as always.
thought it was quite cute how they all choreographed getting up on the wedges
during Rainbow In The Dark. The spirit of The Village People lives on.
Wright. Double-kick. Dunmore refrains from EVEN commenting
I will add that Simon Wright called me about seven years ago when we were looking
for drummers for F.U. He was a really nice guy; Australian, you know, down to
earth, chatting, and offered to listen to the album, etc. He didn't HAVE to do
all that; he could've been a prick, like that Riley prick from W.A.S.P. who also
answered our ad, met with us, with his bottle-black hair and LA Guns tude,
and made me want to slap him. Wright's drum solo (only four short songs into the
set - did someone need to hit the head that badly?) only missed one thing: the
nachos to go with all that cheese.
always, the super-fey keyboardist perpetuating the retarded notion that us keyboardists
are there only to play choir pads, intros to epic opuses and pick up the stray
homosexual groupie. Where is The Lord when we need Him? Whereas once, the Hammond
timbre crunched like driveway gravel through the shards of old-school rock, now
we have namby-pamby digital efx disguising the fact that this guy cares more about
his pointy boots than rocking his organ to sin and back.... now if I could just
manage to shave my head HALF as smoothly as he shaves his torso
lighting guy was high. He was just not paying attention to what Ronnie was doing.
The audience blinders are there to use every time the singer "gives the mic
to the crowd", or any time the singer shades his eyes to talk to and see
the crowd, or when the singer "stabs" at the crowd with WE ROCK, etc.
This guy opted to continue smoking crack and click them on and off arbitrarily.
That was just ONE aspect. Some idiot rigger had put two Intellibeams IN FRONT
OF two par bars on the downstage truss, thereby BLOCKING at least three cans on
each bar. I could go on
would give the show a B+. Yes, the charisma and songs and POWER is all there;
I'd rather see an excellent band stuck in the 80's than a moronic band trying
to relive the white-boy burden of wearing their caps backwards in the 90's, or
a gay/ dance/ techno/ hiphop/ jabbathehutt unclassifiable piece of turd that the
00's has spawned from the remnants of MTV's failed attempts at marketing - but
when you set yourself up in the studio to perform such super vocal feats, it's
a tad disappointing for the fans not to get what they came to hear. Dio is Dio
only BECAUSE he is such a super vocalist. That has always been his selling point
- besides The Evil Eye - and we all know that people were there not to see a shirtless
guitarist, ex-AC/DC drummer, fey keyboardist or cool bassist, but to see The MAN
on the silver mountain. And dats anudder ting
The Wizard Blackmore can get that "swagger" on his guitar that is an
imperative in playing The Man On The Silver Mountain. Besides Ronnie opting not
to even sing the choruses, ShirtBoy over there was plucking away madly at the
riff like a skoolkid jabbing his fingers into a vagina for the first time
heyheyhey reLAAAX, Pierre Cardin!
a last comment re. Dio turning into Gene Simmons - I ask you: Shouldn't EVERY
man be so lucky?
Poffy The Cucumber
Jim Davis, Evil Associate
As usual, your treatise was excellent... and
just as usual, you stole many classic lines from me. But that's okay because I
give them out gratis. I must say that your paragraph on the "so fey I make
Legolas look like Archie Bunker" keyboardist nearly made me wet myself with
mirth. That guy was cracking me up all show, and the only problem with our EXCELLENT,
2-rows-from-the-front seats was that we could not watch that particular sideshow
most of the time.
I'm surprised that you didn't mention the World's Wimpiest Security. I think they
may have been from the passive/aggressive school of event staffing. "Umm,
yeah... you can jump on the stage if you want. I'm sure it'll only ruin the show
for some people, you know, but not all... so... ummm... feel free." If there
is a jackass up on stage dancing around for so long that *I* actually consider
hopping up there and kicking his ass off, then your security needs a serious dose
of testosterone. Reach down deep and grab a nut. Surely some of the white hippos
in green jackets there could have simply used their girth to force the idiots
off. Perhaps they were going to do something about it, but it's just so hard climbing
the 4 or 5 steps up to the stage and hey - is that guy eating nachos? I wonder
if he'll let me have just a couple. It's been soooooo long since I ate and 4 Snickers
just isn't enough of a snack to tide me over....
in all, I got what I wanted, which was to see some real, actual metallic rock
and roll and listen to the man scream about demons and fire - even if he can't
hit the highs of 30 years ago. I just wish that someone besides Blackmore could
play that crunchy riff from Man on the Silver Mountain. Both times I've seen Dio,
the guitarist was too quick on that riff and it takes all the gravity out of that
song. If RJD sings it too quick, a genius line like, "I'm the night, I'm
the night, I'm the dark and the light, With eyes that see inside you" doesn't
sound terribly sincere or scary like it does on record. Part of my enjoyment of
the Man is that he is like an evil little gnome who at anytime could summon up
hellfire, and a soulless wanker playing too fast makes it all so much less...
well, EVIL sounding.
did have a good time, though, and the Dunmore gave me some delicious Juicy Fruit.
Leslie Spring, Sony Music
Amen to your "911" commentary. I
don't go to see Dio to be patriotic. I go to see Dio to have my ass kicked to
hell. More Demons and Fire please.
as far as the little Dwarf's vocals, it's amazing the difference that a single
year can make. He was totally "on" a year ago at the same venue, and
only started the "Dio Variations" toward the end of the set. This year,
he seemed to be doing jazz improv by the third or fourth song. I think I heard
the words 'Silver Mountain' in there somewhere later in the set, but I can't be
and I think that the band MUST have tuned down. Some of the old material was WAY
too easy for me to sing along with... I was in the pisser, nailing heaven-n-hell
better than the little dwarf himself, and that's just not right.
Now, Viv Campbell
was da' man... no argument... those first two Dio albums had some of the tastiest
soloing in metal. However, Doug Aldritch sounds WAY better on the new album than
he did live. But live, well, even though I'm a guitarist, I would have been fine
with NO instrumental solo breaks, instead of the GIT Mr. Roboto crap that was
served up. Actually I think I enjoyed the string breakage BECAUSE of the "soul"
that suddenly appeared in the performance. He was forced to stop with the histrionics
and to have some real emotion, even if it WAS anger. Remember, G.I.T. = git.
And that so-called
keyboard player sucked, probably in more ways than one. I'm not a keyboard player
by any stretch, but even I could have worked up a better showing than THAT.
Now, for the
lighting: after about the third flash of the blinders, I was ready to punch someone...
anyone... just to make it stop. Hey, epileptic disco boy! Save that shit for a
couple of high points toward the end of the show, don't keep abusing the poor
audience's optic nerves. Hell, with all the smokage going on, the average response
to each flash was probably, "I didn't do it, officer!
As for "Man
on a Silver Mountain"; that song has been getting performed worse and worse
over the years. What happened to the medium tempo groove that made that song so
bitchin'? Now it's like the whole band just snorted an 8th of crystal meth EACH,
right before launching into the song. And this time was even worse, as Dio's avoidance
of the chorus shows another symptom of an aging voice. He can't hit the 5th interval
in the word "Silver", so he just drops the whole damn chorus? When the
hell did that start?
Jim Davis, Evil Associate
As much of a patriot as I am, I must say I don't want to
hear Ronnie James Dio say, "Go USA". I want to hear him say, "GO
TO THE PIT OF HELL AND BURN WITH MEPHISTOPHELES!" Or something like that.
He should make a rule for himself: "Whenever I get the urge to have cheezy
banter with the audience, I should invoke one or several of the Dark Gods and
agree with what you're saying about getting older in the last year [Well, at least
a year older Ed note.] I saw him in 2000 at the Fillmore in SF and he was
on FIRE. The encore was a cool medley of 'Silver Mountain' and 'Rainbow in the
Dark' and although the guitarist he had for that conceptual album (the one before
this one) was far too soulless and slick to get the STANK in that lick that is
necessary for total enjoyment, Dio not only sang all the words and hit the highs,
but he made the song twice as long - basically he bookended 'Rainbow' with a version
of 'Silver Mountain' on either side. There were no instrumental breaks in that
I think I enjoyed the string breakage BECAUSE of the "soul" that suddenly
appeared in the performance.
funny you say that, because the Dunmore and I discussed this same point in the
car on the way home. When I saw Dio in SF two years ago, Yngwie opened for him,
and even to a layman like myself, Aldritch made Y F'n M sound more like Slowhand.
After that solo, I felt like there was chafing on MY dick. I think the only way
we can consider ourselves lucky is that he kept his pants on. Now, I don't expect
the guy to be Steve Cropper, but frikkin eat some red beans and rice and listen
to a little Earth Wind and Fire to see if you can get some o' the uptight-white
off of ya. I mean, even listening to a little mid-seventies Stones would help.
Learn to play 'Midnight Rambler', and then get really drunk on Chivas, play it
again and tape it. Then, later, play the tape back and learn to play it like you
played it then.
Dunmore, Egomania Records
Now that you mention
the "security staff", I think I have figured out the political backstory
as to why we saw such a lackluster display of balls - half the security guys...
initially thought that they were letting Beavis and Butthead mill aimlessly like
untethered goats onstage for so long due to the amount of lawsuits being broached
with backstage bashings (ahh, the good ole days), but now I realize that this
current political situation has arisen due to that OTHER hellspawned evil so scary
that even a hardened warlock like Dio refuses to sing about it - WOMEN'S RIGHTS.
about it: I don't think even ONE of those - as you pointed out correctly - HIPPOS
caused our autonomous hormonal discharges to excrete pituitary fluid which would
cause us to picture them as liable recipients of our phalluses. What I'm saying
is: god-DAMN they were ugly - each with its own personal SEA of arse. Doddering
about like authoritative artiodactylic pachyderms with badges, only put on sentry-duty
at the base of the stairwells leading to the floor-area because the management
knew that no one in their right mind would try to squeeze past these mountains
of cholesterol havens with arses the size of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.
this in mind, think of the mind-set of the MEN who have to work with these divot-creating
plumpsters: "You mean that THEY are getting paid the same as ME to just stand
there blocking the aisle with their "gunts," while I've got to whip
my dick out and tackle some y-chromosome yahoo off the stage, risking broken bones,
lawsuits, a poke in the eye, my headset stuck down my throat, the wrath of other
fans, a twisted ankle, a bitten finger, a bloodied nose, a lowering of IQ, a stab
from a concealed weapon... - fuck THAT! If those libsters want equality, let THEM
take a dive for the team off a six-foot stage - maybe they could use the exercise
- goddam fat cunts!"
keep this in mind while considering that if the women security personnel were
HOTTER THAN A DOCKER'S ARMPIT, you know that even though none of THEM would offer
to take a dive off a six-foot stage on the high probability that they would break
a nail, every testosterone-juiced security GUY would be LAYING HIS LIFE ON THE
LINE to look like Superman-Meets-Mel-Gibson to try to IMPRESS these slut-junkies
into copulating with them like the concupiscent honeyed-vagina whores that they
that's just MY opinion - and it's probably right.
thus, after having strayed so far from what was originally a treatise on the Im
Stuck In The 80s Tour, we bid Selah to our three journeyman journalists
at the Gates Of Babylon, as they breathlessly await the double-bill dosage of
dork death from White Lion and Y&T at the House Of Blues. Jesus Christ
look at those trousers! Sail away on ships of wonder