Thank Dio for God
Last night I attended a concert in Dallas. It was what I affectionally called “The Summer Geezer Rock Tour”. The reason is that the three bands playing were Motorhead, Dio, & Iron Maiden. All three of these bands had some pretty big success in the 80’s, and have had varying degrees since then.
The concert review…
Motorhead was pretty dispensible for me. While I don’t dislike them, I can’t say they’re my favorite band. I’ve seen them four times now, the other times were twice in 1994 in Dallas & Philadelphia on Black Sabbath’s Cross Purposes Tour, and the other time was in 1995 in Philadelphia during Black Sabbath’s Forbidden tour. Motorhead is like a cockroach. No matter what you do, no matter how much you try to ignore them, they’re always there. They only playd about 40 minutes, and I recognized only a few songs (Ace of Spaces, We are Motorhead, & Killed by Death). They were the loudest of the three, and that’s saying something, since all three were relatively loud.
I know Maiden played third, but I wanted to talk about Dio more than the others, so I’m writing about Maiden now. I’ve been listening to Iron Maiden since 1982, and this was only the second time I’ve ever seen them – the other time was in 2000. This was a quality show, with a stage show, and a singer with some presence. It’s not like a lot of these older bands who are just out there going through the motions. Bruce Dickinson had real life to him on stage. Most of the rest of the band was just there, except for Janick Gers, who seemed to have too much energy for his body. :) The stageset was an interesting lot – it had many many “Eddie” variations, I picked out about all of the album cover art, plus there was a sliding tapestry thing in the back that kept changing the backmost picture. Between that and the regular art, I think all the album covers were touched on, the only two I didn’t recognize were the newest (Dance of Death), and one of the Blaze Bayley covers (The X Factor).
Anyway, Maiden sounded great live – but anyone who knows them knows that’s no surprise. They played one new song from the forthcoming album, it was “Wildest Dreams”. I didn’t know the song, and generally new songs live don’t do much for me, because I don’t know them, but by the end of the song I was getting into it, so that bodes well.
Again on Bruce Dickinson, his stage banter isn’t the usual pre-programmed crap, either. During one song he started going off on some wanker in the stage who was arguing about something, and Bruce bitched him out for acting like an asshole and trying to screw up the concert for everyone else. That was pretty funny. Also, before the start of “The Clansman”, he said “And before anyone says anything, it’s Clansman with a C, not with a K like some pointy hat wearing assholes” – that got a good rise out of the audience. There was also a pretty cool “Eddie” stage prop that came up during the last main set song, “Iron Maiden”. I thought it was just a stupid background prop, but they did something with it – I won’t say what in case you read this and have yet to see the tour.
Here’s their setlist in Dallas…
The Number of the Beast
Die With Your Boots On
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Wicker Man
Brave New World
Fear of the Dark
Two Minutes to Midnight
Run to the Hills
This is the 20th anniversary of the release of Dio’s first record now. During that time I’ve seen Dio a total of 11 times now (I only missed two tours, and saw him twice on his first in 83). In all that time, I’ve listened to him play a lot of songs; a lot of songs over and over again; and always hoped that he’d play one song from one of his old bands. This is Stargzer by Rainbow. To me, it’s the best thing he’s done, even moreso than his Black Sabbath stuff, which is a major influence on me. This time, he finally played Stargazer. And it was awesome! The annoying thing is that it’s over with now. He’ll probably rotate it out of his set list next time around.
In my title, I say thank God for Dio (although I play with the Italian in my title here – as Dio means God in Italian). The reason for this is that Ronnie Dio is the only person left who regularly plays any Black Sabbath material that wasn’t from the Ozzy era. Even Black Sabbath & Ozzy play just Ozzy era material. Ronnie will play his era’s Sabbath material, and other than Glenn Hughes who plays one track (No Stranger to Love), that’s it. All the other albums (9 of them) are lost because Ozzy/Sabbath won’t play them). So Thank God for Dio for keeping the Sabbath material alive (even if it’s just some of it, at least he’s playing it)
Killing the Dragon
The Last in Line
Stand Up and Shout
Drum Solo w/Cozy Powell’s 1812 Overature
Rock and Roll
Rainbow in the Dark
Heaven and Hell
(I get the feeling I’m forgetting something – I thought there was another song in there (The Mob Rules?), but I can’t remember exactly what at the moment).
Dio amazes more when you realize how old he is. The first album Ronnie Dio was on came out in 1957! That’s NINETEEN FIFTY SEVEN. That’s 46 years ago. You have to figure he was probably an early teenager then, so if he was 14, that makes him 61 now. And Ronnie can still kick it live. Why? He didn’t screw himself up with drugs & booze like so many of his contemporaries (Ahem – Ozzy) did. Kudos to him, and I hope he can keep it going for a good while to come.
The concert was awesome, but in deference to my own advance in years, I wore earplugs for the first time at a concert. It appeared to help – I can actually hear today. :)