[Album Review] Dio | Holy Diver Live

If you’re reading this while on the fence about getting Holy Diver Live, stop now and pick it up. It is fantastic.

I’m no über Dio fan. In fact, Holy Diver is the only album of his that I even know remotely well and I was going to pass on this release. I wanted to focus on some of his other work rather than rehash songs I already know, but then I went down the internet rabbit hole:

I thought I’d check out the show (Which was performed in London, England on October 22nd, 2005) on YouTube and what I watched pressed me to get the CD.

Mostly the work of guitarist Doug Aldrich sucked me in. Man, he rocks. A huge chunk of Randy Rhodes can be heard in his playing, mixed with a little Eddie Van Halen and even some Hendrix. His overdriven guitar tone on The Man on The Silver Mountain earn some brownie points with me on its own. I’ll definitely be checking out some of his other work.

The entire show is a stand out, however. This being Holy Diver Live, the band of course plays the entire Holy Diver album, which makes up for disc one. It is played practically verbatim as it was in the studio save for a skippable drum solo break from Simon Wright, a must hear guitar solo break from Aldrich, and an extended ending. The show rocks right out of the gate just as the studio album does with Stand Up and Shout, Holy Diver, and Gypsy. The other highlights on this disc are Caught in the Middle which is played with that ’80s hard rock-pop vibe and of course Rainbow in The Dark.

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Disc two is made up of some of Dio’s better known tunes from all eras of his career. Solo, Black Sabbath, and Rainbow. His band performs it all admirably, including the rhythm section. I know I gave Wright’s solo a deserved little jab but his playing otherwise is spot on with some great fills. Rudy Sarzo is on bass and a name I recognize from the liner notes of some of Ozzy Osbourne’s albums And Scott Warren was Dio’s long time keyboard player. Truly, a beyond solid line up.

My professional thumb stand is available for hire.

Holy Diver Live owns a solid track list and band that is red hot. It makes for a great sounding live album. I like how they don’t shy away from the keyboard synth which would have popular to do in 2005. So you have this mixture of the songs being treated with ’80s authentication while getting 2005 hi fidelity. Good times.

Just drop the drum solo and it would be perfect.

4.5/5

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45 comments

    1. Sarah and I listened through his solo twice. I thought his fills were nice on the rest of the album. But I really don’t have much experience with his other guitarists other than Vivian Campbell in the studio album.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just haven’t liked Doug from Hurricane and House of Lords. He was always replacing somebody else. Often somebody with an identity. He does well on the Dio stuff but his albums are the last I reach for.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. House of Lords was the second group signed to Simmons Records (after Loz Netto). They were made up of ex Giuffria and Quiet Riot member. Fabulous band with a pompous European hard rock sound. Doug was their third guitarist. Never played on an album though.

            Hurricane were a different story. Made up of the brothers of Quiet Riot members. Doug played on their second LP, the one I thought was generic.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. You’re right, the band are brilliant and they definitely do the album justice. My main focus was Ronnie himself. While he doesn’t have the energy he had back in the 80s, any longer. Not that I was expecting it, he does look and sound good for someone who was beginning to suffer the effects of the cancer which would claim him five years later. Great post and I want this album too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Been listening to this one on Apple. It’s good and I agree with you Aldrich brings the goods. Drum solo unless its by Peart I’m not interested but it’s cool to hear these tunes. Pretty killer backing band with some serious chops so I’m ok with this one.
    Check out the new Dead Daises Holy Ground. Pretty good as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a great album, and the fact that it’s got the only live version ever of Tarot Woman is criminal. Such an awesome song that’s been shafted on every live album (by both Rainbow and Dio) and greatest hits compilation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “My professional thumb stand is available for hire.” That got a laugh out of me, haha! I didn’t know Simon was in Dio. I guess when I read his bio on Wikipedia, I zoomed past most of his stuff and only focused on AC/DC. It’s a good thing the Holy Diver Live is decent because I just bought Dio’s first five albums. Great review Kevin!

    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Yeah, it is his thing and it was done for show. But that is done all of the time on those promo videos. Malcolm would often use his signatare Gretch guitar in videos but he never he played on the album.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I don’t know what Mal was thinking with that guitar! The world’s smallest guy with the world biggest guitar, lol

                      No, the signature models came out much much later. He has a red one in Cover You in Oil and a beige one in Hail Ceasar.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Yeah, if I remember right, Keith just decided to have them on stage last minute and out of the blue. So they had to use whatever guitars were lying around which were Keith’s backup guitars.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Oh that makes sense because Angus would never play a guitar that’s bigger than him unless he had no choice. The guitar Mal had was perfect for him. Was that the gig in Toronto where they toured with the Stones in 2003? I’m guessing the details because I don’t know much.

                      Liked by 1 person

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