Blu-ray Review: Dio – Holy Diver Live

Eagle Rock Entertainment | 2006 | 125 mins. | NR


Largely regarded as the most powerful singer in heavy metal, Ronnie James Dio was an inspiration for countless singers and musicians around the world. A former vocalist of Elf, Black Sabbath, Dio, Rainbow, and Heaven & Hell, Dio died earlier this year, leaving behind a recording career that stretches back to the late 1950’s.

Recorded live at the Astoria Theatre in London on October 22, 2005, Holy Diver: Live was the final show from Dio’s – Dio, Doug Aldrich (Guitar), Rudy Sarzo (Bass), Simon Wright (Drums), and Scott Warren (Keyboards) – British tour. In front of an enthusiastic crowd, Dio performed the Holy Diver album, selected Dio hits, as well as classic Black Sabbath and Rainbow hits.

Though there where only about 2000 fans in the theater, the crowd is very enthusiastic and the excellent acoustics makes everything sound much louder. Despite the fact that Dio was in his early sixties at the time, his voice sounds as strong as ever. Anchored in a wide-legged stance and gesticulating like a man thirty years younger, Dio looks and sounds supremely confident throughout the performance.

Tracklisting:

1. Tarot Woman
2. Sign Of The Southern Cross
3. One Night In The City
4. Stand Up And Shout
5. Holy Diver
6. Gypsy
7. Caught In The Middle
8. Don’t Talk To Strangers
9. Straight Through The Heart
10. Invisible
11. Rainbow In The Dark
12. Shame On The The Night
13. Gates Of Babylon
14. Heaven & Hell
15. Man On The Silver Mountain
16. Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll
17. We Rock

For a guy who was studying to become a pharmacist, before he dropped out of the University of Buffalo to pursue a career in music, Ronnie James Dio left behind an impressive resume. While the rock world lost a legend far too soon, Holy Diver:  Live serves as a fitting tribute.

Eagle Rock’s 1080i high definition transfer is offered in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and looks fairly solid. Blacks are deep, with the exception of a few moments of crush. There are a few instances of compression artifacts, but you really have to look to see it. The lighting is quite good in the theater which makes it easy to see everything going on during the show. Flesh tones are also very natural looking, with only a slight bit of red push. The overall picture is quite sharp and detailed looking.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is involving and one of the better surround mixes that youll find in a concert video. The engineers have done a phenomenal job with the mixing; nothing overwhelms it. The midrange is very clean sounding on this mix. The Dolby Digital 5.1 suround track is good, but it doesn’t pack the wallop of the DTS-HD mix. Play this loud and enjoy.

There aren’t a lot of special features. We get a series of interviews with Ronnie and the band discussing their tour, etc. The guys have some particularly interesting comments about their shows in Eastern Europe and Russia. In English, with optional English, German, Spanish, and French subtitles. (12 min, 480/60i).

An illustrated booklet containing an article by Dave Ling (originally published in Classic Rock magazine on February 27th, 2006).



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