Dio’s disgraceful live album
By Alun Thomas
Sometimes an album will show up that is bad enough to be singled out for special abuse. Of the dozens of CD's that I recieve, listen to and discard, many are never written about here, usually because they don't deserve it, either by being dull or rather I'd opt not to waste my life writing about something which hasn't earned the distinction to do so. But amidst the heap of faceless discs I was forcing myself to decipher recently came a new Dio live CD entitled 'Evil Or Divine: Live In New York'. Now Dio is a man responsible for countless classic metal albums, through his associations with Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his solo output. But his classics are overplayed and remarkably stale. So when I saw the tracklisting for this live CD I was dismayed immediately.
Dio's last live album was 1998's 'Last In Live'. Almost every song from that disc is repeated on the latest debacle. Fan's wouldn't even have to guess what they are. 'Rainbow In The Dark'. 'Last In Line'. 'We Rock'. 'Don't Talk To Strangers'. 'Holy Diver'. 'Heaven An....' No I must stop. I can't do it to myself or you. The very action of typing those songs down made me wilt and shake. Does it get more uninspiring? What makes Dio think that seven years later people would pay to hear the same songs live again? The CD is based on the DVD of the same show that was released two years back. Why did Spitfire bother? This can't have sold five hundred copies.
Live albums are almost always a waste, but this is an exception. Nver have I heard such a bland display of musicianship, with all tracks just chord for chord replays of their studio counterparts. No improvisation or wicked tangents, just the tracks as they were on vinyl, only more dated and uninspired. Therefore 'Stand Up And Shout' becomes karaoke metal, with Dio as laboured as myself on any given working day. The original versions menace is replaced by a song worn out by years of abuse on stage. The crowd is almost non existent and the sound quality is too clean for a live show. This is more manufactured than any Kiss 'Alive' shambles. Everything is squeaky clean and perfect, no hiccups anywhere.
How about a nine minute guitar solo from Doug Aldrich? Yes please. I'm certain the crowd all died at some point during this slice of indulgence. But wait! The inclusion of three songs from then current album 'Killing The Dragon' makes it all worthwhile right? What you mean 'Push' live isn't the material dreams are made of? Or 'Rock And Roll'? But he's included Rainbow nuggets 'Man On The Silver Mountain' and 'Long Live Rock 'N' Roll'! Wait, weren't both of those on 'Last In Live' too? What a monumental cash in. A smash and grab on the gullible consumer. Any metal fan wanting a real live album, listen to Slayer's 'Decade Of Aggression' instead. That's raw and unedited, the sound of madness. This is the sound of nothing. A band playing but not making a sound. A drone.
Does Dio really believe in this shit? Is there a Dio fan right now convinced the version of 'Fever Dreams' is the best he's ever heard? This might top AC/DC 'Live At Donnington' as the king of live farces. I'd play 'The Rod's ' Live' over this. Even 'Who's Last'. Even Nailbomb's 'Proud To Commit Commercial Suicide'! This is dullness taken to new heights. I can picture the crowd looking at each other while Dio just gives up singing, so disgusted is he at having to perform this tripe. Only it isn't tripe. Just here. Making a live album should be an attempt to be different, improvise, pull a rabbit out of your hat, not be as formularised as your studio versions and worse. Dio is guilty (and Iron Maiden times ten) and officially a disgrace.