Dio live albums: repackaged but still offering more Heaven than Hell

Ronnie James Dio's live albums Evil Or Divine: Live In New York City and Holy Diver Live get taken out for another spin

Dio Live albums
(Image: © BMG)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

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. 

Jason Arnopp
Freelance Writer

Jason Arnopp is a veteran metal scribbler, with a passion for thrash metal, horror movies, vinyl and VHS. He's also the author of scary novels like The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (2016) and Ghoster (2019). Runs two YouTube channels, including Possessed By Metal. Guess what that one's about, eh?