Have no fear, the greatest Ronnie James Dio live album is finally here.  At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987 represents the best material of Dio’s catalog from all the key eras.  It is also a presentation of the heavy metal legend in his prime.  Not to mention, the track listing of this double-disc set is just incredible.

The 1983 set on disc one was recorded just under three months after the release of Holy Diver.  Dio and the band kill through the classics “Stand Up and Shout” and “Rainbow in the Dark,” as well as “Children of the Sea” from the Black Sabbath years, and “Stargazer” from the Rainbow days.  There is great audience participation and banter during the break of the eleven-minute version of “Heaven and Hell.”  The overall audio quality is quite impressive considering this set was performed 27 years ago.

The 1987 concert on disc two was recorded about one month prior to the release of Dream Evil.  One of the best performances of this lot is without a doubt “The Last in Line.”  There is also a high-octane version of “Neon Nights” that rips.

Unfortunately, there is some slight buzzing on the 1987 set when Dio speaks.  However, the mix is louder and fuller than the 1983 set.  The performance of “Holy Diver” is interesting on this set; it is a blistering performance that only contains a small excerpt on the tune before cutting into a shorter version of “Heaven and Hell.”

It is awesome to hear the insane guitar licks of Vivian Campbell on disc one (check out his solo after “Stargazer”) and the shredmaster Craig Goldy on the 1987 set (sick runs in  “Man on the Silver Mountain”).  As usual Vinny Appice is a madman behind the kit on both sets and while bassist Jimmy Bain holds down the fort.

To decide which show is better is no easy task; there is the heavier sound of 1987 versus the raw energy of 1983.  As for now, I have to side with 1983 but that is a debate best settled at the pub.

Track Listing:

1983 (Disc One):

  1. Stand Up and Shout
  2. Straight Through The Heart
  3. Children Of The Sea
  4. Rainbow In The Dark
  5. Holy Diver
  6. Drum Solo
  7. Stargazer
  8. Guitar Solo
  9. Heaven And Hell
  10. Man On The Silver Mountain
  11. Starstruck
  12. Man On The Silver Mountain (Reprise)

1987 (Disc Two):

  1. Dream Evil
  2. Neon Knights
  3. Naked In The Rain
  4. Rock And Roll Children
  5. Long Live Rock n Roll
  6. The Last In Line
  7. Children Of The Sea
  8. Holy Diver
  9. Heaven And Hell
  10. Man On The Silver Mountain
  11. All The Fools Sailed Away
  12. The Last In Line (Reprise)
  13. Rainbow in the Dark

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