Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Niji Entertainment
Eagle Rock Entertainment may as well be its own radio station. That’s because it just keeps pumping out hit after hit, essentially putting on an ongoing clinic as to how to put out proper live recordings. And yes that bad pun was fully intended. Next week, Eagle Rock will put out yet another of its hugely impressive live recordings in the form of Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993. This latest live Dio recording follows up Eagle Rock’s 2013 release of Dio: Finding The Sacred Heart—Live in Philly 1986. Being that this is not the first live Dio recording from Eagle Rock, it would be easy to compare the two shows. But that would be quite unfair as some seven years passed between the pair. Keeping that in mind, Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 is an impressive recording all its own. It is one more that any classic rock buff and any true hardcore Dio fan will appreciate. The first and most obvious reason for this is the show’s set list. This show, the last from the band’s 1993 “Strange Highways Tour,” boasts songs not just from Strange Highways but also from Dio’s time with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and from his own solo career. The second reason that audiences will appreciate this recording is the band’s overall minimalist approach in its performance. And last but not least, audiences will appreciate the recording’s audio and video mix. All three factors come together to make this latest live recording from Eagle Rock just one more in a very long line of certified hits and another candidate to be one of the year’s best new live recordings.
The set list chosen by RJD and his band mates for this recording is key to the recording’s success. The set list chosen for this last show of the band’s 1993 European “Strange Highways Tour” balances songs from Strange Highways with numbers from Dio’s days in Black Sabbath, Rainbow and even his own solo career. Some of the best of the best from the concert include hits such as : ‘Stand Up and Shout”, “Holy Diver” and one of RJD’s biggest hits, “The Mob Rules” among so many others. Making the show even better, RJD and company—Vinny Appice (drums), Jeff Pilson (bass), Tracy G. (guitar), and Scott Warren (keyboards)—give the audience in attendance not one, not two, but three full encores—“Rainbow in the Dark”, “We Rock” and the fittingly titled final closer “Here’s to You.” Between the encores, the show’s primary fifteen song set and the bonus “Hangin’ WithThe Band” featurette, audiences of all ages get a show that is complete in every sense of the word in this recording. Not only is it complete, but it is a recording that any hard rock buff, classic rock buff and hardcore Dio fan will enjoy no less with every watch.
The set list and bonus companion featurette included in Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 more than show why any Dio loyalist and rocker in general will appreciate and enjoy this recording. Just as important to consider in this recording is the band’s minimalist approach. There was no pyro, no big gimmicks or anything else. Given, being an indoor concert, pyro was probably not permitted at the venue. But RJD and company showed throughout the show that it is possible to put on an amazing show without any of that regardless of whether the show is indoors or out. From the first note of “Stand Up and Shout” to the final strains of “Here’s To You,” the band’s music and its very on-stage presence far more than made up for any gimmicks that other lesser bands might have needed to entertain audiences. All these musicians needed was their music, the audience, and a wall of amps. Tracy G.’s searing guitar work, Jeff Pilson’s heavy bass lines and Vinny Appice’s solid timekeeping and chops together created so much energy among one another and the crowd. Add in RJD’s larger than life personality, and audiences will see for themselves just why these men are still so revered to this day and emulated by so many of today’s top rock acts. It’s yet one more reason that this concert has earned the titled of one of the best new live recordings of 2014. But wait! There’s more! Yes, that terrible pun was intended, too.
The set list and overall stage show put on by RJD and his band mates are two very important reasons that audiences will enjoy this latest live recording from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Last but not least to note of this recording is its collective audio and video mix. Audiences should note that while Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 has been presented on Blu-ray, it is in SD-Blu-ray format. That simply means that the show was obviously recorded originally in standard definition instead of high definition. Of course high definition wasn’t available in the early 1990s. Audiences will be able to clearly see the difference the quality of standard definition from high definition. At the same time, it goes to show just how far recording technology has come over the course of twenty-one years. Even more important to consider is that since this show was originally recorded on magnetic tape, it’s nice to see that the footage has held up and been transferred to DVD and Blu-ray so well.
The show’s final audio mix is just as impressive as the video mix. When one takes into consideration the size of the Hammersmith Apollo and its acoustics, one develops much more respect for those that manned the boards in the initial concert and those charged with making sure that the audio transferred over just as solidly as the video. Far too often, audiences take for granted that the video and audio mix of life recordings will be equal. But there are some cases in which that doesn’t happen. Luckily, that isn’t the case with this recording. It maintains the high standard established so many years ago by Eagle Rock Entertainment. That high quality audio and video alongside the band’s performance and set list complete this recording. They all come together to make Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 a definite candidate for a spot on this year’s list of the best new live recordings. It will be available next week and can be pre-ordered now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Live-London-Hammersmith-Apollo-Blu-ray/dp/B00J0LGZYU/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1399495060&sr=1-1&keywords=Dio.
More information on Dio: Live in London—Hammersmith Apollo 1993 and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at http://www.eagle-rock.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.