Last in Line
Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg, PA
November 3rd 2017
Review and photos by Robert Cavuoto
Last in Line features former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell and drummer Vinny Appice along with Andrew Freeman on vocals, Phil Soussan on bass [replacing the late Jimmy Bain] and Erik Norlander on keyboards. In 2016 the band released a ferocious CD called Heavy Crown with Jimmy Bain.
Without the benefit of video screens, pyro, or spectacle lighting Last in Line put on a monster rock shows. The set list focused on two of Dio’s albums; Holy Diver and Last in Line. The show opener was a powerful version of “Stand Up and Shout” and the band then took this Pennsylvania audience on a rocket ride back to the 80s with a 90-minute set. Songs like “Invisible,” “Evil Eyes,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Egypt,” and “Last in Line” were played with same energy and passion as when they were written. The band also played five songs from Heavy Crow; “Already Dead,” “Martyr,” “I Am Revolution,” “Devil in Me,” and “Starmaker” with Phil making a heartfelt dedication to the late Jimmy Bain.
Andrew did an amazing job channeling Ronnie on the Dio songs as well as performing the band’s new material. During a break between songs a fan yelled out to Andrew, “Ronnie James Dio would be proud of you!” The sentiment rang true as Andrew was humbled. He is an talented frontman and outstanding vocalist!
Armed with only a beat-up black Gibson Les Paul, Vivian worked brought the band’s sound to a level of excellence that hasn’t been heard since he performed with Ronnie. It was inspiring to watch him do all the intricate guitar work with its chunky tone you hear on the Dio albums. Vinny was a beast behind his kit and seemed to be the ringleader causing the band to break out in laughter between songs. Vinny told me prior to the show, “The laughing you see us doing is us having a great time. I love this band; on and off the stage!”
Phil laid down the unflinching backbeat with all ten fingers flying as well as providing most of the backing vocals. Erik delivered the haunting keyboard sound flawlessly which in my opinion helped form Dio’s sound.
The night would not be complete without “Rainbow in the Dark,” “Holy Diver” and “We Rock” which closed the show.
Vinny also told me that a new Last in Line CD is in the works:
We went into the studio and recorded five songs, basic tracks, and they sound great. The other day we got together and wrote a couple of more ideas. We are going back in the studio in December to hopefully finish another four or five songs. The goal is to have the CD out sometime next year.
Working around the schedules of such high profile musicians poses a challenge with touring so they can only do four or five shows at a time but Vinny assured me that more shows will be in added in the beginning of 2018. Make it a point to catch Last in Line when they play in your area; you won’t regret a minute of it!