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Ronnie James Dio : Show Review : Chicago: 12.01.2002

by Dave Dalka

This week, Ronnie James Dio rocked the House of Blues in Chicago along with opening acts Kings X and Hammerfall. The man is still atop the mountain. Sure, the days of battling laser sphinxes, flamethrowers, and arena tours have past, but in a 1,000-seat intimate setting, the show is perhaps more special.

This is perhaps because the music Dio has made, and still makes on his latest album Killing the Dragon (the title track of which is outstanding), simply stands on its own. No one "body surfs" and there are no "mosh pits". People are just there to admire the performers as a group, as individuals via such age-old concepts as guitar and drum solos and people who were there focused on the performer, singing almost every word and being kind to their neighbors in the crowd. The world we live in today has too little of this, maybe it's because we spend so much time surround by performers that are in the valley, not the top of the silver mountain.

  Dio Setlist    
01 Killing the Dragon 09 Don't Talk to Strangers
02 Egypt - Part 1 10 Man on the Silver Mountain
03 Children of the Sea 11 Guitar Solo
04 Egypt - Part 2 12 Long Live Rock and Roll
05 Push 13 Lord of the Last Day
06 Drum Solo 14 Fever Dream
07 Stand Up and Shout 15 Holy Diver
08 Rock and Roll 16 Heaven and Hell
    E1 The Last in Line
    E2 Rainbow in the Dark
    E3 We Rock
Ronnie included music for all four decades of his albums and among three of his bands! I was truly amazed at how well Ronnie's voice has aged over this time, while he's lost a little high end, he always sang with that deep, distinctive voice and the songs have lost little in comparison with other vocalists his age. Jimmy Bain's bass playing is as strong and rock steady as ever. Doug Alderich's guitar playing was good on the new songs and on the Black Sabbath and Rainbow songs, but most of his guitar solos from the Vivian Campbell era could use some fine tuning as it appears they have very different styles. Scott Warren's keyboard playing was unique on all the songs, giving them a fresh flavor, it's also nice to see the keyboard player on stage being treated as an integral part of the band another almost and forgotten art. Simon Wright's (former AC/DC, Dio, UFO, etc) Drum playing and solo were both excellent.

As a whole the band all performed great as a unit. This is a good thing because later this month they are scheduled to record a show for a future DVD release, if they perform as well as on this night that should definitely be something worth owning. I walked away from the experience being none too disappointed in the set list either, acts that have been around a long time struggle to do this. Dio only played a few songs off his current release and mixed in his best songs among the rest, my only wish would be for him to play more songs with less opening acts. All in all, as Dio comes to your town, it's well worth the trip to climb the mountain; you might even find the elusive rainbow!

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