“Holy Diver Live” [Blu-ray] by Dio

Artist: Dio
“Holy Diver Live” (Blu-ray)
Eagle Vision
Release Date: 10/12/2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.25/5

What a year 2010 has been for the Metal Republic. From the beginning it was a tight one in terms of the ever fluctuating economy that seemed to strangle the very manner in which we do things but still the fans pressed on and supported the music that they loved so much. It was a year that first smacked us in the jaw when it took bassist Peter Steele from Type O Negative from us and then before we could catch our collective breath and move on, the cruel hand of fate would take Ronnie James Dio from this plane of existence and leave us all astonished, hurt and angry. The loss of such a powerful force for Metal’s good was bound to find the releases that celebrated better times being delivered to the fans and that is never a bad thing if it helps ease the pain of loss just a little bit. The first such issue that I found being released would be the Blu-ray edition of Dio’s “Holy Diver Live” DVD that originally hit the streets in 2006. Having reviewed that piece before I decided to re-present my words from that article and add a couple of other notes to make it a little more current. I’ll close out by citing any visible differences between that issue and the higher definition Blu-ray version. Read on.

“Is there any question about “Holy Diver” being one of the most important Heavy Metal albums of all time? The overall impact of his solo debut led Ronnie James Dio and his band on a path to Metal dominance and while he would release great music afterwards none were as appealing on the whole as this recording. Songs like “Stand Up And Shout”, “Rainbow In The Dark” and title track “Holy Diver” became synonymous with the strength of Heavy Metal music and its power over the legions of the night. In 2005 during the tail end of his “Master Of The Moon” tour Dio treated the fans to a full performance of this classic album. Thanks to Eagle Vision the supporters of the legendary entertainer will get to relive this concert once again in the comforts of home where they control the volume and the mood. The concert was also released as a double live CD, but the owners of that product will immediately notice that the layout of the music is different. To make sense of the “Holy Diver” presentation, the first CD features that portion of the show, while CD2 features all the remaining songs. On the DVD, which is a single disk we get the entire show from start to finish just as it was performed had you attended one of these shows. If you did not purchase the CD, then here is a good way to make amends and fill a Metal need. Overall the show is very well done, but be aware that by this point Dio no longer does over the top visual shows. The setting is very sparse and this show is all about the presentation of the music. Joining Dio is a killer lineup that features Rudy Sarzo (bass), Doug Aldrich (guitar), Scott Warren (keyboards) and Simon Wright (drums); the band does great recreating the music originally created by Campbell, Appice and Bain while Dio is in good form as usual. On top of the classic album you have a fair amount of Black Sabbath (from the oft-labeled Dio years) numbers to enjoy and some Rainbow which is never a bad thing and while “Gates Of Babylon” is a solid tune its songs like “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Long Live Rock & Roll” that really put Ronnie’s Metal power in our faces. When I look at the favored tunes from the Sabbath tenure, they would be “The Sign Of The Southern Cross” and of course “Heaven And Hell”, a song title that would become the band name for a reunited Dio era Sabbath and remind fans of just how amazing the grouping worked together. One had to admire guitarist Aldrich quite a bit from this concert as well since he was not only performing new Dio material but also emulating with success the talents of Vivian Campbell, Richie Blackmore and Tony Iommi. That’s a pretty tall order at the end of the day but one that seemed to have bore positive fruit. Watching it again some months after Dio’s passing I had to admit that there are moments when you will find yourself tearing up just a little and that’s ok since this was a very hard hit to the genre and there are few performers who were like Ronnie making his loss all the more difficult to come to terms with. The bonus features are on the limited side with only some brief interview segments with the band about the performance itself and I would have liked a little longer discussion with Dio about the relevance of this album and his long career in Metal music as one of its most prominent spokesmen.”

The Blu-ray version of “Holy Diver Live” is apparently an exact duplicate of the conventional DVD release but just one that has been done in a higher definition format in terms of the visual and audio content you expect to get from such a disc. It’s a lot clearer based on this and one that makes you feel more a part of the show depending on the size of your television. Nowadays it seems like everyone has at least a 32” screen at minimum. The booklet included is also the exact same but of course sized to accommodate the smaller Blu-ray DVD case. All the photos and text from the original are there and the only addition is a mention of Ronnie James Dio’s cancer foundation. I had mentioned that when this was initially released that an audio companion had also come out and I think that with issues that are the same but on the higher priced Blu-ray format, that something akin to a free MP3 download of the audio needs to be instituted. These releases are great but higher in price and with conventional CD losing shelf space each and every day this might be a smart idea. The Blu-ray format can be enjoyed in a DVD player that is geared to this or you can use my method of watching it on a Playstation 3 game system. The Heavy Metal music realm shall never forget Ronnie James Dio that’s for sure, and now with this and the many other releases to follow, his powerful presence shall live on and on and on forever.

Track Listing:
1. Tarot Woman
2. The Sign Of The Southern Cross
3. One Night In The City
4. Stand Up And Shout
5. Holy Diver
6. Gypsy
7. Caught In The Middle
8. Don’t Talk To Strangers
9. Straight Through The Heart
10. Invisible
11. Rainbow In The Dark
12. Shame On The Light
13. Gates Of Babylon
14. Heaven And Hell
15. Man On The Silver Mountain
16. Long Live Rock And Roll
17. We Rock
18. Interviews – bonus

Official Website: http://www.ronniejamesdio.com

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