Almost 11 years after the legend of Ronnie James Dio sadly came to an end, two live albums have been pulled back out of the vaults. Both have each been remastered and repackaged as triple vinyl gatefold releases, double-CD mediabooks and – of course – digital delights.
Evil Or Divine: Live In New York City was recorded in December 2002 at the Roseland Ballroom. The strident title track of that year’s Killing The Dragon ably kicks off this powerful record, which blends Dio, Rainbow and Black Sabbath classics with less celebrated, but still worthy, cuts from Dio’s twilight years.
While this reissue features two extra tracks, compared to the 2005 edition, be advised that one of these is Simon Wright’s drum solo. The two differing vinyl versions also each throw in four previously released album tracks.
Holy Diver Live captures Dio playing their entire debut album in October 2005 at the much-missed London Astoria Theatre. In the process, they expose Holy Diver’s filler tracks Invisible and Gypsy (which incorporates a drum solo by, you guessed it, Simon Wright), but it’s still nice to hear live versions.
Meanwhile, Stand Up And Shout, the title-track, Don’t Talk To Strangers and Rainbow In The Dark are extraordinary moments in metal history. The set’s second half places the emphasis on a celebration of Ronnie’s time with Rainbow and Sabbath.
While 2013’s Finding The Sacred Heart remains the finest Dio live album of all, these two platters offer way more Heaven than Hell.