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Stereotypically 80s. - 80%

hells_unicorn, May 22nd, 2009

This is something of an afterthought in the wake of “Lock Up The Wolves” being released and a new lineup that seemed intended as a much more permanent affair than it turned out to be. It’s a collection of 9 music videos done by Dio between 1983 and 1990, flowing more as a promotional video sampler than a compilation, and missing a few notable videos such as “Mystery” and “I Could Have Been A Dreamer”. It features Ronnie doing a brief commentary before each video, and by brief I mean that he sums up the videos in a few short sentences and doesn’t really go much into the background of each song. Those who would be interested in getting this VHS should thus come to it not expecting a series of humorous outtakes or interview-like moments where Dio says something really deep or thought provoking. Essentially it’s the videos that do the talking, and naturally they vary pretty significantly in what they say.

Things kick off with the first promotional music video from “Lock Up The Wolves” in “Wild One”, completely solidifying this video’s nature as a promotional offering. It is among the most well produced and entertaining of Dio’s various video offerings, featuring the band on stage doing what they do best, with a few nice scenes of some kids doing skateboard tricks on the street. The video transitions are extremely smooth and the band looks genuinely into what they’re doing. Afterwards things jump all the way back to the beginning and we are treated to Dio’s two most off-the-hook and comical videos ever. Although the video plotlines don’t fit the song lyrics at all and Dio looks like he’s doing a goofy parody of “Conan The Barbarian” on the “Holy Diver” video, they are pretty fun to watch.

From here on in, everything that follows is of a higher grade than the 1983 material, and basically falls into two categories. The first is the videos made up of concert footage in a montage approach, “Hungry For Heaven” and “Stand Up And Shout” featuring footage from shows done with Vivian Campbell, “King Of Rock And Roll” taken from the famous show done at the Philadelphia spectrum with the giant mechanical dragon when Craig Goldie joined the fold. These videos give you a pretty good idea of the mannerisms of the band on stage if you’ve never seen any of their live performances from 83‘-86’ on VHS or DVD. Craig is clearly the more confident on stage of the two guitarists featured, although I will say that despite being a bit stiff in front of a crowd, he puts on an adequate performance and new misses a note.

The other category are videos with stories that mostly fit the lyrics of the songs. Although “The Last In Line” presents a very bleak image combining a sort of futuristic 1984 tyrannical underworld and what looks like a depiction of Dante’s City Of Dis, I chuckle every time I see people being tortured with electric shocks being sent to their heads via Vivian Campbell’s guitar during the solos. “All The Fools Sailed Away” has some nice imagery going on, but the 3 minutes of music that gets chopped off of this version really throws off the flow of the song. “Rock And Roll Children” is basically the highlight video on here, though not necessarily my favorite song by this band, the theme of 2 people fighting against the world for what they want out of life really touches a note with me. I’m not sure if Dio came up with the plotline of this video himself or not, but the way the encounters that the two kids have when they enter the nightmare world that Ronnie transports them to change their lives and appreciate each other is something that most everyone can identify with.

It’s tough to say whether this can be qualified as an essential purchase or not, as it doesn’t quite stack up to the content that you get with the DVD re-releases of Dio’s famed concerts in the 80s or even the concerts themselves when they were in VHS form, but it’s the only collection of music videos that has ever come out of this band. It all hinges on how much of a rabid fan you are of this band, whether or not you even bother with VCRs anymore, and what your tolerance level for 80s music videos is, as some of these videos take 80s clichés to a level just a rung below on the corniness ladder from ones like “Safety Dance” and “Whip It”.