Dio: Finding the Sacred Heart – Live in Philly 1986

dio phillyDio
Finding the Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986
(Eagle Rock Entertainment)

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Here are some pickings from way back in the day on Dio’s Finding The Sacred Heart – Live in Philly 1986.

We get a double-hit opening (both tunes are from Dio’s Sacred Heart album that the band/man were touring at the time this live concert was recorded) with “King of Rock and Roll” and “Like the Beat of a Heart” (the first featuring drummer Vinny Appice) snapping us into a classic, mid-80’s Dio show. “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” from the band’s first album, rocks through a blisteringly fast verse. “Hungry for Heaven” follows. It’s one of those too-poppy-for-this-band tunes with Appice’s crashy drums not fitting with this mid-80’s-MTV attempt. But the “The Last In Line”/”Children Of The Sea”/“Holy Diver” medley shows off Dio’s amazing vocals and Appice and bassist Jimmy Bain’s music especially.

The ubiquitous drum solo follows. It’s better than most of these tired rock rituals, given that it’s Appice here on the set. “Heaven and Hell” swirls and wails and again, Dio’s voice cooks on this epic tune (with the audience singing back to him), then there’s a running-wild keyboard solo from Claude Schnell as well as a wailing guitar solo from Craig Goldy who had just replaced Vivian Campbell on the tour.

And all of the above appears on the first disc alone.

“Sacred Heart” begins the second disc, the perfect Dio tune, scary spoken intro, pushing Schnell keys pre-chorus and a big mystical lyric. Spiky keys and wailing guitars open the rocking “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” (but again the band is trying to mine a mid-80’s-MTV vibe, and they don’t do so well, though Goldy sounds great in the beginning). Luckily, Rainbow’s “Long Love Rock and Roll” is in a medley here and saves the day with Dio engaging the crowd to sing along and Schnell providing most of the background.

The perfectly-played “Rainbow in the Dark” a poppy MTV-era tune that actually does work, sparkles with great arena magic and Goldy and Appice lead the train for the ender, “We Rock.”

Any recorded document of Ronnie James Dio and his band from this period should be cherished.

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