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Two tracks short of perfect - 85%

Vegetaman, January 20th, 2006

This album features Doug Aldrich on guitar, who not only was Dio's guitarist during Craig Goldy's unexpected absence in 2002 but is also current Dio guitarist because of Craig's unfortunate accident in 2005. But that aside, this album showcases some of his best playing. The entire band was spot on this night, and the recording quality was exceptional.

My only bone to pick with this album is that 2 tracks from the DVD, Drum Solo and Lord of the Last Day were not on it. I realize that is for time reasons, but they could've easily swapped out Lord of the Last Day for Fever Dreams, since it's the only song Doug didn't quite pull off.

This album starts with Killing The Dragon, and as usual Ronnie's voice is spot on for a man of so many years. And Doug's guitar playing is even better than in the studio, especially with his killer guitar solo. Then you get solid blocks of Dio classics until you get to Don't Talk To Strangers. This is an amazing track, namely again because of Doug's guitar solo. Vivian Campbell would've shed a tear over how tastefully done Doug did this solo in the same phrasing as he did oh so many years ago.

One more track, and then you get Doug's guitar solo. Yet again, an amazing guitar solo. You can really tell that he is influenced by guys like Hendrix and Tony Iommi as you listen to the things he plays.

Then another song, and then you get to Fever Dreams. This is where I am sad, becuase Doug kind of screwed up the rhythm and main riff to this song. That's why I think Lord of the Last Day should've been on here, since he didn't screw that song up at all. Needless to say, it's still not too bad.

After that comes Holy Diver... Very well done, but it sounds like Ronnie is wearing down just a little (but he bounces back after this song, so no worries). The guitar solo here is too sloppy which is a partial detract. It sounds almost rushed.

Then you get more solid Dio [and Black Sabbath] classics... Notable is Heaven and Hell with it's guitar solo and tempo change, as well as for the extra line of lyrics Ronnie adds in.

But the show closes with an amazingly upbeat version of We Rock with a great guitar solo with some added "WE ROCKS" and "YOU ROCK" at the end that make it classic.

So really, this is almost better than a compilation album, because you get to hear how good the band is in action. Unfortunately when you listen to the CD you can't see all the 'devil horns' that Ronnie flashes on the DVD that seal the deal, but the CD definitely proves that this band can rock hard and throw down with the best of them. If only they had thought a little more about Fever Dreams versus Lord of the Last Day, this album could've been perfect.