Fifteen years ago I saw Ronnie James Dio at a small nightclub on the south-side of Colorado Springs. I was always a fan of Dio and his music but I wasn’t ‘all-in’ before this show. I owned Mob Rules (loved it – still love it) and owned the first two DIO solo albums but he was another artist in my record collection.
I remember thinking how could a guy ten years playing McNichol’s arena with BOC supporting his second solo album be playing such a small nameless club. That club in Springs was short lived and nothing spectacular. Well, whatever the reason for an artist that had played the largest arenas in the world and was now playing nightclubs he put on a kick-ass show and my respect grew immensely.
Dio didn’t phone it in, he didn’t ‘save the vocal chords’, or just hype his new record. He played a set that spanned his whole career and the band was tight. Ronnie and Vinny Appice looked like they demanded great performances. I remember at different points Ronnie and Vinny giving some dirty looks and yelling to some of their crew about something they weren’t happy with. Some people can interpret that as “wow what an asshole” but I would argue that the artist who knows something isn’t right but doesn’t care if it is resolved or not is the real asshole. Ronnie, in my opinion, respected us enough to give us a great show whether it was in a shitty nightclub or not.
The downside of the show….I waited an hour or more staking my claim on a spot that gave my wife and I a perfect view and some prick kept moving in front of me once Dio came on. About the third time of this guy stepping right in front of me (only thing in front of me was railing) I freaked and instead of asking him to move I moved him over strongly and he went to the ground. I stood over him waiting for him to make his move but nothing happened – thankfully.
Then some girls behind us were standing on chairs behind us and were doing the dancing thing and to gain their balance they would lean on peoples (guys) shoulders. About the third time a girl put her hand on my shoulders my wife shoved the girl back and she went flying off the chair.
So within the first five songs my wife and I both shoved people to the ground waiting for a fight. Being in a bar with little security and packed house and plenty of beer bottles (weapons) available it made it hard to fully enjoy the show. In fact the girl that ended up flying backward seemed to be gathering some friends so about halfway through the show it was in our best interest to leave.
I would have loved to seen Ronnie James Dio with Sabbath and unfortunately that will never happen but I am very happy that I did get to witness such a great artist in person….at least for a while.