The Heavy Metal Headmaster – Fresno 1985- (Tarantura TCDDIO-1)
The Pantages (Warnors)Theatre Fresno, CA – Saturday August 17, 1985
(76:57)Introduction, King Of Rock And Roll, Like The Beat Of A Heart, Don’t Talk To Strangers, Hungry For Heaven, The Last In Line, Holy Diver, Drum Solo, Heaven And Hell, Guitar Solo, Heaven And Hell, Sacred Heart, Rock ‘n’ Roll Children, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, Man On The Silver Mountain, Rock ‘n’ Roll Children, Stand Up And Shout, We Rock
After two enjoyable Rainbow releases Tarantura is back with the “Fresno Rock ‘n’ Roll Archives” with Vol. 3 and is again credited to Led Tattoo and DJ Fresno. The audience recording is good to very good, a little distant but clear with no notable hiss present, the bass frequencies can get over powering at times but did not distract from my listening experience and there is no real crowd interference near the recorder.
1985 was a successful year for the DIO band, having released their third record Sacred Heart and third gold record in terms of sales and his Hear ‘n Aid project to help with African Famine. The tour to support the new record leaned heavily on the new material and opens with King Of Rock And Roll, a fast and furious rocker, the line up of Vivian Campbell on guitar, Jimmy Bain on bass, Vinnie Appice on drums and Claude Schnell on keyboards is arguably the ‘classic” version of the DIO band. Like The Beat Of A Heart follows like a one two punch, not a fast but heavy, Vinnies drumming is clear in the recording and his fills are amazing throughout the performance.
“For the true test of how your shows gonna do you have to come to Fresno” is Ronnie’s opening remarks to the audience and introduces the Classic Don’t Talk To Strangers, It quiet opening is augmented by something that the crowd loudly reacts to during the “Don’t hide in doorways” section. The song is classic Dio and Ronnie gives a very passionate and aggressive vocal performance and Vivian Campbell’s guitar solo just flat out rips. The band next plays the single and song used for the Vision Quest movie Hungry For Heaven.
Never a big fan of the song I found while listening to it live that if you strip the over indulgent keyboards away you have a much heavier song that has a good riff. The epic Last In Line follows and garners a loud cheer from the audience, again classic song both musically and lyrically. Vinnie’s drumming is again spot on, he is clearly laying his stamp on it and the band drifts into a minute and half snippet of Holy Diver that makes the second half of the song not as effective and goes back into a Last in Line reprise, interesting.
Vinnie’s solo follow and has cool drum and bass jam with Jimmie Bain, his solo can only be called five minutes of thunder. The Sabbath classic Heaven And Hell has an interesting keyboard intro that Ronnie vocally improvises during, After the first couple of verses the song moves into five minute Vivian guitar solo that is very enjoyable.
His guitar playing during the Dio years was always great and his solo spot gives him a chance to show how fluent his playing was. The second half of the song is a truncated version that eliminates the fast ending instead it goes into a keyboard interlude and center piece of the show, a 13 minute epic take on Sacred Heart, complete with spoken word intro, there are long parts of just the band playing but during this part of the show it was a more visual thing, dragons, lasers, and crystal balls.
The song finally ends with a Last In Line reprise and the crowd roars its approval. Rock ‘n’ Roll Children is the vehicle for a rock and roll medley, first a rollicking Long Live rock ‘n’ Roll and a fast tempo take on Man On The Silver Mountain, Vivian’s playing is stellar, fast and fluent solos that have structure, his riffing is killer. The band rolls back into Rock ‘n Roll Children and a blistering almost speed metal take on Stand Up And Shout ends the main set.
“Something you do all the time, something we do all the time” is Ronnie’s intro to the encore We Rock. Again Vivian seems to take center stage and leads the charge, his transition to riff to solo and back are so fluent. His time in the Dio band would end during this tour, a real shame but thanks to the tapers we have the documents to enjoy.
The packaging is a simple gatefold sleeve with a large DIP on the front, a picture of Ronnie and Jimmy Bain on the back and a picture of Ronnie in the center along with info on the first to Fresno volumes, “Ask For Your Local Dealers” in the center. With silver bootlegs from this tour a rarity this release is easily recommend to all Dio fans and is a numbered limited edition of 200 copies.