Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

Ronnie James Dio
Ruisrock, Turku, Finland / July 6th, 2003

By Marko Syrjälä & Arto Lehtinen

Ruisrock is one of the longest and oldest festivals, besides the Provinssirock festival being another old running festival here in Finland. It is known for having a wide range of all kinds of bands from various musical genres. The most surprising thing was announced by the Ruisrock organization when the old heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio had been booked in wake of various younger bands.

It has been two years since DIO's previous show in Finland.

They started this second leg of the Killing The Dragon tour from the city of Zurich two weeks ago by doing both festival and normal indoor gigs around Europe.

The band's line-up has now once again changed as the guitarist Doug Aldrich jumped to the Whitesnake ship and his predecessor Craig Goldy was recruited to fill the guitarist slot after a year and a half break. Maybe Craig is trying to break some sort of record because this is his third reunion with Ronnie. The rest of the band's line up consisted of the long time bass player Jimmy Bain, drummer Simon Wright (ex-AC/DC, UFO), keyboardist Scott Warren (ex-Keel).

Dio's placement to the smaller stage compared to other bigger stages situated in the whole area was kind of an odd choice as the legend definitely pulled a damn huge crowd indeed. Anyway Dio didn't let down any people down just doing a magnificent set consisting of several immortal metal tunes.

The opening song to kick the show off was the title track from "Killing The Dragon" followed by "Straight Through The Heart" from the classic Holy Diver album. As for the set list, it mainly consisted of material from the first two Dio albums and it wasn't unexpected that the front cover of the legendary Holy Diver album had been placed to hang as a background curtain on the stage because of the album itself has a dominating role in Dio's solo releases. All in all three tracks have been picked up from that album - "Rainbow In The Dark", "Straight to the Heart", and "Holy Diver". For obvious reasons, a couple of immortal Black Sabbath tunes were included in the set. This time only "Heaven And Hell" was added because of the lack of time. Whereas "The Last In Line" had also been dropped for the same reason but other tunes off from the same titled album namely "I Speed At Night" and "We Rock".

There is no doubt that the rarely played Rainbow song "Stargazer" was the true highlight of the show. During the last few years he has often played some parts from this ever great classic, but now they definitely stuck to playing the song as a whole. Also, another rarely played gem being "Dream Evil", a title track from 1987 album, was played and got a warm response from the crowd. The short show was brought to an end with "Rainbow In The Dark" and another encore wasn't expected at all. But after some wild noise from audience requesting an encore, they appeared on stage once again and did "We Rock". The band was very tight and they seemed to enjoy every second on the stage. Craig especially looked great in his 80's look with huge hair and black latex suit. Even though Ronnie's age is reaching the normal retirement peak, the man is still capable of putting even younger musicians to the shame! To be honest each of us could wonder and ponder how it is possible that Dio can nowadays sing even better than a year ago... Dio has always been praised as one of the best heavy metal vocalists ever, and that's what he still is!

Despite the short running time for about one hour, both the mandatory guitar solo presented by Craig Goldie and another obligatory drum solo by Simon Wright seem to be more obvious rule than an exception on any Dio gig. How about two or three songs more instead of doing these solos?




Marko of Metal-Rules.com meeting a metal god...