By Sean Palmerston
Originally released a few years back, the good folks over at Eagle Rock have seen fit to update the Holy Diver Live from DVD to a blu-ray disc release. While it is nice to see this upgraded to a higher quality format, as the redefinition of it has improved the picture quality over the original DVD release, I must admit that this release is not without its faults.
If you’ve ever seen the DVD release of this show, you know it is not the best Dio performance ever. Filmed live in London, England in 2005 as a multi-camera digital video shoot during their Holy Diver retrospective tour, this night in particular found the venerable Ronnie James under the weather. Our man Dio had the flu at the time of this performance, but, being the professional that he always was, the show went on as originally planned. I don’t know how thrilled they were in retrospect that this show in particular ended up being released, but I imagine that RJD just decided that it was an appropriate document worth releasing.
Despite having the flu, Dio and band pull everything thing off as planned. Playing the Holy Diver album in its entirety, as well as some select Black Sabbath and Rainbow tunes, the Dio band at this time—Simon Wright on drums, Scott Warren on keyboards, bassist Rudy Sarzo, and fill-in guitarist Doug Aldrich—were more than adequate on their instruments. With very few technical screw-ups musically speaking, the only real missteps come from Dio himself, who, as previously mentioned, had the flu. Give the guy a break! Lots of other vocalists half his age would cancel the gig if they were sick. He just soldiered on through it.
Now if you’ve seen the magnificent Heaven and Hell release Live at Radio City Music Hall then you know that Dio at the top of his game was unstoppable. That release featured the singer in all his glory. While his vocals suffer here because of his then-illness, he still gives 100 percent of what he had; it just didn’t happen to be as good as when he was operating on all cylinders. The bottom line? Get this if you absolutely have to have to have everything that RJD put out, but if you’re on a budget and are looking for a Dio fix you might be better to wait for the upcoming Heaven and Hell posthumous live release that Eagle Rock will be releasing later this fall (which we’ll be reviewing as soon as we get our filthy little paws on it).
Rest In Peace, Ronnie James Dio. You were one in a million, even on your off nights.
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)