[Back to Index page] Index


Newcastle University

13 October 2005

Ronnie Dio has got probably the strongest voice I've ever heard live. He sang the two-hour non-stop set at full power and sounded like he could have gone on for another two. With a performance like that, it's hard to believe his age.

The venue is horrible. It's a crowded, hot, and smoky basement. Flat floor, low stage, big crowd, and as I'm only Dio-sized myself I couldn't see much of the performers. But the sound was surprisingly good and the crowd atmosphere was fantastic — and I think the band appreciated the reception, as they gave 100% effort back. I've never seen so much sweat on one stage!

Simon Wright (drums) was phenomenal throughout and his solo was highly entertaining. Doug Aldrich (guitar) fitted in much better than he did in Whitesnake but I'm still not a fan. He has a great crunchy riff sound but his solos are just noisy and unimpressive. The bass player (Rudy Sarzo I think) was solid and powerful, while the keyboard player (don't have a clue who it was) wasn't really given any chance to shine.

But it's Ronnie Dio I went to see, and he didn't disappoint me for an instant. It was a total nostalgia-fest, with nothing later than The Last in Line, but that's exactly what I wanted.

They opened with Tarot Woman, Sign of the Southern Cross, and One Night in the City. Each song got a big crowd reception, with people singing along and playing air guitar. It was a very young crowd — I would say that people my age were the minority and most of the crowd weren't born when those three songs were recorded! Anyway, next came the entire Holy Diver album played from beginning to end without a break, with a drum solo and a guitar solo in the middle. To finish things off we got Gates of Babylon, Heaven and Hell (probably the highlight of the night), Man on the Silver Mountain, one verse of Catch the Rainbow (and thank God Aldrich shut up for it, leaving Ronnie to sing it with just a keyboard accompaniment), The Last in Line, and finally (how many encores can they do???) We Rock.

It was relentlessly powerful. I generally prefer music with more variation in pace and style, but what this lacked in subtlety it made up for in power and excitement. I came out with numb ears, aching legs, and huge buzz of adrenaline. Not the kind of show I would want to see every night, but one I'm really glad I saw last night.

Dio rocks!