Dio - 2005 Evil Or Divine [Live In New York City]


ALBUM: Evil Or Divine [Live In New York]
LABEL: Spitfire Records
SERIAL: SPT 15253-2
YEAR: 2005
CD REISSUE: 2009, Spitfire, SFMCD156 * 2013, Metal Mind, MASS CD 1342 DG


LINEUP: Ronnie James Dio - vocals * Doug Aldrich - guitars * Jimmy Bain - bass * Simon Wright - drums * Scott Warren - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Killing The Dragon * 02 Egypt - Children Of The Sea * 03 Push * 04 Stand Up And Shout * 05 Rock And Roll * 06 Don't Talk To Strangers * 07 Man On The Silver Mountain * 08 Guitar Solo * 09 Long Live Rock n Roll * 10 Fever Dreams * 11 Holy Diver * 12 Heaven And Hell * 13 The Last In Line * 14 Rainbow In The Dark * 15 We Rock

RATING: image


This live offering comes as somewhat of an afterthought, as a DVD of this performance was released in 2003 following the 'Killing The Dragon' tour, Dio having since recorded a further studio album 'Master Of The Moon' in 2004.

Dio's last live album came in 1998 with the double 'Last In Live', so how essential another one is may well be questioned.

The lineup for this tour was strong however, with Aldrich on guitar breathing new life into Dio's classic tracks, as well as the three cuts from his lone studio effort, 'Killing The Dragon', 'Push' and 'Rock And Roll'.

The track-listing makes for a comprehensive overview of Dio's history, taking in moments from Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his solo career, with most of the classics included, the predictable likes of 'We Rock', 'Rainbow In The Dark', 'Last In Line' etc On the rawness scale it's decidedly lacking, but then again most live albums are.

The Songs

Most of the selections are undoubted classics, but I'm having a hard time finding the magic even in personal favourites like 'Last In Line'. The sound is clear and concise, but the crowd is barely audible and it's too polished for my liking.

The problem is the lack of real improvisation which sets off that extra bit of spark to give it any magic. Much like Iron Maiden, Dio is a legend in the studio but in a live setting it's played far too straight down the line and despite Dio's fine vocal efforts the original versions are a better bet.

'Stand Up And Shout' on vinyl is pure metal madness, but is somehow less dangerous here, lacking the menace associated with the song. The inclusion of a nine minute guitar solo from Aldrich does little to enhance proceedings. The man is a guitar magician, but the most ardent fan will struggle to make their way through the running time.

Rainbow's 'Man On The Silver Mountain' and 'Long Live Rock And Roll' are given a perfunctory run through, while 'Heaven And Hell' without Tony Iommi seems pointless. Brutal honesty sometimes hurts, but this has little replay value other than a single spin.

In Summary

In Dio's defence few live albums make the grade so there is no shame in this being a mediocre experience.

A successful live album will makes me react in some fashion, but aside from certain albums by The Who, Deep Purple and Slayer, little else ever has.

Dio might have been better off roughing up the sound so it sounded less studio bound, as the New York crowd is in full voice at the start of a track before falling silent shortly after, giving the impression that this might well have been a Kiss 'Alive' affair. Truly a fans only item.

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