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In The Clubs
Dio – Master of the Moon Tour
10/26/04 Phoenix 

By Zane Ewton 

There is a full moon in a cloudy October sky.  The chill of Halloween is only days away.  What better setting could there be for a heavy metal legend to roll into town.

Dio shook the Phoenix desert with a show that was light in theatrics but heavy on the hits, with a few surprises mixed in as well.

Not even a terrible venue like the converted alleyway that is Alice Cooperstown could put down a passionate audience or diminish the sheer power of a Dio show.  It can be difficult for a band with a reputation for the theatrical to be able to have the same effect when the stage is stripped down.  Ronnie James Dio never needed the wild stage show, his powerful voice and anthemic songwriting is enough.

The stage props can distract from what is great about Dio.  Ronnie James still sounds amazing.  He has always been able to have electrifying backing musicians and his current band is no exception.

But the most essential thing is the songs.  Dio has enough heavy metal anthems to flood any set list.  He played them all.  “Holy Diver”, “”Last in Line”, “Stand Up and Shout”; all the favorites, but he threw in a couple surprises too.

“Man on the Silver Mountain” is signature Ronnie James but he also unleashed the outstanding Rainbow track, “Long Live Rock and Roll” and the rarely played “Gates of Babylon.  Everyone expects to hear “Heaven and Hell”. They got “Heaven and Hell” but also a thunderous “The Sign of the Southern Cross” from the Black Sabbath album The Mob Rules.

The set was full of highlights from every era of Dio’s career.  New tracks like “One More for the Road” were able to stand up with all the hits.  

From top to bottom, Dio puts on an exceptional show.  To be able to see this band in a small venue is a great experience.  Ronnie James made sure to shake every hand and throw up the devil horns to every face in the crowd; an act that was returned in spades.

A Dio concert is a reaffirmation in the power of rock and roll.  A surge in excitement for music that is strong and uplifting.  Basically, an example of everything that is great about rock and roll. 

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