Effenaar, Eindhoven, Netherlands, October 6, 2005
About half a year ago word had reached me of a special tour that Ronnie James Dio and his band were going to give. DIO would play the full “Holy Diver” album next to their normal set! I could almost cry when I gazed at the tour dates and saw that they only played Great Britain and later on Russia and that I under no circumstance could witness this rather unique spectacle of Heavy Metal. A couple of months later I rejoiced however, for more European dates had been added, and even better, my hometown of Eindhoven being one of them. Never had I dared to dream of seeing one of my favorite artists a few kilometers away from my home, let alone them playing a double set!
A few days before the show there was some news however on guitarist Craig Goldy who apparently played a horrible show in Minsk and eventually had to stop the tour because of his Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Luckily Doug Aldrich was pulled from WHITESNAKE so that nothing had to be cancelled. Doug played before with DIO on his “Killing The Dragon” album.
The show was to set place at the brand new, recently reopened Effenaar venue, which during the show proved to be an awesome venue with a great sound, good view of the stage and fine beer. No opening act was booked so it was DIO right from the start, by no means a bad thing. Under a loud crowd response the band came on and kicked right into the amazing “Tarot Woman” from RAINBOW’s “Rising” album. A surprising start and a mighty good one at that. Next up was SABBATH’s underrated epic “Sign Of The Southern Cross” which the audience loved and after a couple of verses morphed into “One Night In The City”, the shows first real rocker. After that it was already time for the full “Holy Diver” album, which was preceded by an ultimately clichéd video intro which epitomized 80’s Heavy Metal cheese. You gotta love that stuff. This album of course is regarded as the highlight of Dio’s solo career and contains many a song that’s always part of the set, like the sing-a-long anthem “Stand Up And Shout!” the famous title track and “Rainbow In The Dark”. The album was delivered with much passion and showed an excelling Doug Aldrich who proved to be a great player even though there wasn’t much time for rehearsal. Ronnie himself told me after the show they had only rehearsed once before the show! It was also great to hear the not so well known songs like “Invisible” live, next to the albums classics.
In between the “Holy Diver” album Simon Wright and Doug Aldrich also played their solos which were, love ‘em or hate ‘em, above average. Especially Simon Wright is great with his drum solo. After this marvelous display it was time to treat the now really crazy audience to more classics from his RAINBOW and BLACK SABBATH days. “Heaven And Hell” was played and got a huge crowd response, not in the least because Ronnie’s performance on this song is beyond comparison. He still sings like a god and according to fans that saw him in 70’s and 80’s his voice hasn’t deteriorated at all. Truly the voice of all voices! After the grand “Man On The Silver Mountain” the band was called back by the very loud audience three (!) times. Ronnie thanked the crowd all the time in between the encores and while introducing the band members he showed extra appreciation for the returned Aldrich which he clearly enjoyed playing with again. After almost 2 and a half hours the show was finally ended on a very high note with the live favorite “We Rock”.
Both band and crowd were obviously tired afterward but also both very satisfied. DIO played a very memorable gig and the audience rewarded them with great enthusiasm. Besides that I can never get enough of Ronnie James Dio’s divine voice, truly the best ever. After the gig I was really keen on meeting the man himself, and after 2 hours of waiting besides the venue me and a few others were rewarded for Ronnie himself came outside! Everybody got their stuff signed and photographs taken with him. I had a nice chat with him and he was truly very nice to his fans, a true gentleman. He mentioned that he is very happy to have Doug Aldrich back in the band, that he thinks he can easily match Iommi and Blackmore. Furthermore a new album will be recorded in the summer/fall on 2006; with Doug on guitar! Dio said that this night was one of the better ones of the tour, and that they not often come back for three encores.
Simply a superb night and meeting Ronnie himself was of course a personal highlight! Hail Ronald Padavona.