"Dio: Holy Diver Live" Blu-ray Review
November 12, 2010 by Zach Demeter
Revered as one of the greatest hard rock/metal singers of all time, Ronnie James Dio brought a stylized, sophisticated, and powerful nature to heavy music, both as a frontman for Black Sabbath and Rainbow, and his own band Dio. Eagle Rock will commemorate his legacy with the high definition release of Holy Diver Live. Holy Diver Live is considered to be one of the most memorable performances of Ronnie James Dio’s career. This Blu-ray is a pristine and fitting tribute to one of rock’s most beloved icons. His is a voice and presence that will be cherished and missed for generations to come.
Ronnie and his band whipped the crowd into a frenzy at London’s Astoria Theatre on October 22, 2005. Treating the audience to a blazing presentation of the classic Holy Diver album in its entirely, this concert, originally released on standard DVD in 2006, is the first ever live recording of this album. Sprinkled with Sabbath and Rainbow tracks “Heaven and Hell,” “Tarot Woman,” and “Long Live Rock and Roll,” this Blu-ray is a shining statement of Dio’s commanding, compassionate, and behemoth performances. An interview with the band is included as a bonus feature.
Dio is yet another entry into the metal world that I kinda-sorta grew up with. By that I mean I was familiar with his Black Sabbath works, but only as the “non-Ozzy” Sabbath. Sadly I think a lot of people were (or still are) in the same boat, but those who enjoyed his time in Sabbath and looked up his catalogue in Rainbow or his own band found that Dio really was one of the greatest artists in the hard rock/metal genre. It’s also bewildering to me that Ozzy Osbourne has outlived Dio, who unfortunately passed away earlier this year from stomach cancer.
And now on that down note, let’s talk about this concert! Filmed in 2005 it was shocking to see how not only energetic and lively Dio has remained over the years but also how jazzed the crowd was. Quite honestly the liveliness and vigor that was presented throughout this concert was something generally reserved for the “younger” crowd of rock/metal, both in terms of the performers as well as the audience. On top of that the set list is full of great songs which include the entire “Holy Diver” album sandwiched in-between a handful of other Dio hits from his various bands. The full set list includes:
1.) Tarot Woman
2.) The Sign Of The Southern Cross
3.) One Night In The City
4.) Stand Up And Shout
5.) Holy Diver
7.) Caught In The Middle
8.) Don’t Talk To Strangers
9.) Straight Through The Heart
11.) Rainbow In The Dark
12.) Shame On The Night
13.) Gates Of Babylon
14.) Heaven And Hell
15.) Man On The Silver Mountain
16.) Long Live Rock And Roll
17.) We Rock
Another astounding element of this concert is its run time—over two hours long. That’s to be expected when you have seventeen songs to get through but even so it was a thoroughly entertaining concert from start to finish. Definitely a Highly Recommended outing for Dio fans.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Dio – Holy Diver in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. A booklet inside contains information and photos from the concert as well as information about the group and this particular production, while the menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion. There are even a few extras to check out as well.
The video arrives in an AVC encoded 1080i transfer and the concerts themselves are a bit of a difficult affair to grade properly; it’s definitely dated, but at only five years old it still maintains an unsurprising amount of detail. While there’s definitely a different mood between the two concerts, the presentations look equally as good in their own right. As is usual with Eagle Rock releases, the concerts boasts three audio tracks as well, a DTS-HD MA, DD5.1 and a PCM track. All three have their merits, but it’s the DTS-HD that is the king of the listing here, as it has a nice spread about the room and represents the individual musical styling’s remarkably well.
Extras include the aforementioned Band Interviews. Sadly we don’t get anything else to check out, but as I said before the concert is over two hours long so that alone should keep your attention glued to the screen. While the Blu-ray setup isn’t that much different than the 2006 DVD release, the boost in A/V quality is a definite perk. Recommended.
Dio: Holy Diver is now available on Blu-ray.