Written by Paul Schwartz
Oct 19, 2004 at 08:00 PM
ImageAs the lights dimmed, the sense of anticipation could be felt, as the Crowd began to chant like Gregorian monks, “Dio,Dio,Dio…” but alas it was not the deemed time for the aging guru of fantasy metal to unveil himself.Instead the Ministers of Fireballs…er… the Fireball Ministries ignited the stage to make it warm for the coming act. Indeed they rocked, as they turned their sultry backs upon the crowd, the feedback could be felt reverberating through the steamy room. It was like a sauna of hell, as they ripped into one devastating song after another.

Oh yes, the ministers came to save, and save they did, with one of the main bands, Anthrax not actually being at the show. Unfortunately, the contrast between their scorching album cover, and their stage show was as wide as the Bering Strait; i.e. there were no pythons or fireballs or naked people…ugh, can someone say banal? I was devastated by the lack of reptophilia.

Which brings us to the star of our show, the king of the “follow me, I know the path, I can see it on the horizon” subset of the metal genre; a man who, in his songwriting typically uses such old English classics as thee, thine, doth, and shall, Ronnie James Dio.

In the dim purple lighting, nay, or was it blue? T’was some shade of melancholy, shadowy figures moved about onto the stage, through the mist. All had manned their positions except for one; THE one, that is. And then as the crowd grew hushed, a small elfish figure pranced toward the microphone. The drunken metal heads went absolutely wild, as Dio, the “Rainbow in the Dark” galloped upon his noble steed we call a microphone, all the way to the spotlight of moon rays; the moon rays being appropriate, as his latest rock spectacle release is entitled Master of the Moon.

Dio aimed to please by performing the holy trinity of Dio songs; Last in Line, Holy Diver, and, oh yes, Rainbow in the Dark. As well he took the audience through the sands of time, with an oldie yet goodie, of the “I see the golden path before my eyes, and it is glorious, take my hand, I will lead us to a better place” variety; I am talking about a song called the Gates of Babylon.

Lest you think that Dio is a bitter old man, he was actually very friendly. He was smiling and shaking his little hips like a “Child of Rock.” He was capable of taking a joke, as he dodged large bras, obviously belonging to even larger women, proving that even the most aged rockstar still has a good time on stage.

The other members of the band were just as fascinating as old Ronnie James. The keyboardist, with his tights or leggings or whatever they were, consistently held his legs about three feet apart while posing with his front foot, toe touching the ground, revealing whatever “surprise” we would find in his “package.” The guitarist, a tall, buff fellow, reamed the audience through and through as though he were slaying a “Dragon of Pain” (or whatever that song was about).

The bassist offered mostly his steady hands, and his skin tight pants embroidered with flames. Last but not least was the drummer, a man of few words, but of great action. His solo, which consisted of lightning flashes every time he hit the cymbals, was truly “electrifying.”

The icing on the black, satanic cake were the three encores (which were obviously planned considering they had the light show all set up for the songs). Only real rock stars actually stand on stage bowing (because they know they’re gonna do it anyway) and then make a face that says “Oh we couldn’t possibly play another song….oh okay, we shall playeth yet again for thee,” and then go on to play not one, but three encores. Wow, they all deserve massages for their ancient bones, for their metalicious stage performance. T’was a great show, and in the words of the Great One, “We Rock.”

No Dio, no…you rock…until time is no more.