Last In Line – Whisky A Go Go – 7/14/17
My very first concert, way back in 1984, was DIO (w/ special guest Queensryche) at the Antrim Forum in Northern Ireland. They were touring in support of their newly released album, “The Last In Line”. I knew that guitarist Vivian Campbell was a Belfast boy and that hometown show was probably going to be a special one for him to play. But that was about the only thing I expected. What I saw on that stage that night hooked me forever and has led me to a life that is consumed with all things metal and rock.
DIO Setlist from the Antrim Forum – Sept, 1984
Fast forward 33 years to the Whisky a Go Go where I had the immense pleasure of again witnessing Vivian Campbell and Vinny Appice along with Andrew Freeman (vocals), Phil Soussan (bass) and Erik Norlander (keyboards) come as close to replicating that first experience as possible. Let’s get it out of the way…Ronnie was a legend and will never be replaced. There was only one and the mold was broken. But Andrew Freeman is a vocal beast! He proved that he is more than capable of handling any song from the early Dio catalog. And what a treat it was to hear all those old classics.
The band ripped right out of the gates with “Stand Up And Shout” and “Straight Through The Heart” from “Holy Diver” and from that point on the Whisky Crowd didn’t get a chance to breathe. I’ve seen Viv play with Def Leppard and it’s a nice treat to get to see him churn out those chunky riffs surrounded by all those squealing harmonics that are a staple of the early Dio albums.
Oh and by the way… not satisfied with resting on the laurels of days gone by, this band released one hell of a debut album, “Heavy Crown” which was very well represented with a bunch of tunes that fit ever so comfortably between all of the familiar songs. “Devil in Me”, “Already Dead”, “Martyr” and “Starmaker” are some of the songs that make up that third DIO album that we never got to hear.
The Ageless Phil Soussan has admirably taken over the reigns on bass left open by the unfortunate passing of the Great Jimmy Bain. Phil offered a few words in honor of his predecessor. As did Andrew in regards to Ronnie. And prior to the band playing “The Last In Line”, Vinny stood from behind his kit to ask the crowd to honor the memory of the recent passing of Adrenaline Mob bassist, David Z.
The rest of the set was a stellar trip down memory lane handled effortlessly by Andrew Freeman. Not content with the usual Laissez Faire attitude displayed by LA crowds, Freeman urged the packed house to act like they were from Mississippi and show some energy…and with that encouragement, they responded. Singing along to the likes of “Holy Diver”, “Don’t Talk To Strangers” and “Rainbow In The Dark“, the Whisky crowd was able to find its voice.
A few deep tracks were included to the delight of the DIO faithful, the first being “Invisible” from “Holy Diver” and during the encore the haunting keyboard intro signaled “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” complete with that familiar, blistering solo from Viv.
Seeing Vivian and Vinny playing together brought back memories that were buried deep in this thick skull. But man, they came flooding back.
The evening concluded with a familiar question that Ronnie used to ask “Do You Rock?” Well of course we do… “We Rock!”.
A trip down memory lane with a firm grasp on the future. I for one am really excited for what Last In Line has to offer down the road.