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DIO DISCIPLES/The Rods, Glasgow Garage
14 June 11

Anyone who has been a fan of the late great Ronnie James Dio must have had a sharp intake of breath when this collaboration and tour were announced, I know I did.

The motives have been questioned elsewhere with some unkind, and to me unjustified, criticism levelled at Ronnie's widow Wendy, so enough of the politics, the question is did they deliver?

More of that in a moment, but first up we had one of the hardest working and hardest rocking bands I have had the pleasure to see, The Rods. Very much rooted in their 80's heyday the band still play with a passion and fire that would leave many a younger band lagging way behind.

Playing a mix of classics and a couple of newer number they went down a storm with the ever growing crowd. Singer/guitarist/roadie Dave ‘Rock' Feinstein was Ronnie Dio's cousin and played in his first band Elf, Ronnie also provided vocals on a track on The Rods latest album, so the set appeared to be played with an added passion in his memory and by the time the allotted 40 minutes were over they had a lot of new Glaswegian fans.

So the scene was set and Dio Disciples had a hard act to follow. The band have opted to tour with two singers to swap vocal duties in the shape of Tim ‘ Ripper' Owens and Toby Jepson. The latter of the two came as a bit of a surprise given his previous bands and again led to scepticism of the whole project, but it proved to be an inspired choice.

The set opened with Stand Up And Shout with Owens on vocals and from the off you could tell that all on stage were a bit apprehensive of what the reaction would be, especially guitarist Craig Goldy who looked like he was bricking it!

They needn't have worried though as the crowd were behind them 100% and the gig turned into a celebration of Dio's incredible musical legacy running through numbers from Dio, Rainbow and Black Sabbath.

The two vocalists took it in turns to sing either full songs or alternate during songs as on 'Stargazer' with Owens singing the higher parts with Jepson singing the choruses, it worked well.

Classic after classic was played with a renewed energy and the band appeared to be having a ball. The set ended with an excellent version of 'Heaven and Hell' and the band then returned to play 'Rainbow in the Dark' and, finally a very apt 'We Rock'.

The band managed to deliver a set that I am sure Ronnie would have been proud of and proved to be a fitting tribute to the great man. The crowd was a bit sparse, although that could have been down to Whitesnake playing across town, but anyone who plumped for Coverdale and co missed a fantastic, and incredibly loud, night. Ronnie James Dio, we salute you.

Review by David Wilson

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