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.
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.
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.