It took me a while to realise who I was actually going to see on stage tonight.
I know this is a down-scaled version of the band that made some of the biggest classics in heavy metal music, but, still, standing here and watching Vivian Campbell and Vinnie Appice walk on stage in Amager Bio, I can’t help holding my breath for a second or two. Perhaps also because I’m worried if this setup with a different singer than Dio, the master himself, will be disrespectful and tacky.
It turns out not to be – not at all. What unfolds before our eyes and ears is a rock band consisting of aged, but perfectly capable musicians who in a relaxed, professional and totally sympathetic manner are thoroughly enjoying playing the old Dio songs and their own new material in front of an appreciative audience.
As the tones of ‘Stand Up and Shout’ pour over us, it really strikes me who these people are. Andrew Freeman opens his mouth and, what a relief, the guy delivers. He’s not Ronnie James Dio, no one is, and no one can really fill his shoes, but Freeman sure as hell is a damned good singer and he is able to do these songs justice.
The songs from the Last In Line album Heavy Crown (2016) blend in perfectly with the material from the 80s, although of course lacking the power of recognition that tunes like the mighty Holy Diver, Straight Through the Heart, Rainbow In The Dark, The Last In Line and We Rock have. As a testimony to the importance of the music this band made and how they have influenced many others, the attentive members of the audience couldn’t help noticing Alex Skolnick standing on the wings of the stage, watching and so obviously admiring Viv Campbell’s playing throughout the first few songs of the set. And, needless to say, this is a man who is more than capable of handling the electric guitar.
Having ‘only’ experienced Ronnie James Dio in front of Heaven & Hell not too long before his passing, I must say that I cherish the fact that I now have had the opportunity to see and hear what more or less was the classic Dio line-up.
Stand Up and Shout
Straight Through the Heart
Devil in Me
The Last in Line
Rainbow in the Dark
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Vivian Campbell - guitar
Vinnie Appice - drums
Phil Soussan - bass
Erik Norlander - keyboards
Andrew Freeman - vocals