This winter has been pretty slow for concerts.
I did have a request a couple weeks back to write something about Ronnie James Dio so here it goes.
Coincidentally, Dio is re-teaming with former Black Sabbath bandmates to tour the world this year, beginning with some Canadian dates in March. The group is calling itself Heaven & Hell.
No local tour dates have been announced as I write this.
Dio was in Black Sabbath from 1980 to 1982 and to many, it marked a highlight of the band's long career.
Sabbath, with Dio, released "Heaven & Hell" in 1980 and followed that up with "The Mob Rules" in 1981. They released the double-live album "Live Evil" in 1982 and Dio left the band not long after that. I read online that Dio left because he was dissatisfied with the mix on the live album. Who knows?
Both "Heaven & Hell" and "Mob Rules" are solid albums.
I recently came across a couple of live shows from 1980 and the Dio period. Dio does a good job with the old Sabbath material, including "War Pigs" and "N.I.B."
Dio has been releasing solo albums ever since he left Sabbath, starting with 1983's "Holy Diver."
"Rainbow in the Dark" was a modest hit off "Holy Diver" and it's a tune with a cool guitar riff.
In 1984, Dio continued his hot streak with "The Last in Line."
Many Dio fans call his 1985 release, "Sacred Heart," one of his weakest, but then say the 1987 album, "Dream Evil," was a worthy follow-up.
I had "Dream Evil" on cassette when I was in high school, but couldn't find it the other day while looking for it.
More recently, I picked up a couple of Dio live albums, including "Evil or Devine" and "Holy Diver Live" where the band plays the entire "Holy Diver" CD in concert.
Guitarist Doug Aldrich, who has been in and out of Dio's band, really smokes on these live shows.
In other news, I heard The Cure is going to release a new CD in April. Hope this is true. Not sure I'm a huge fan of the Cure's 2004 album called, "The Cure." It just didn't seem up to their usual high standards.
Also, fans of the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree should be excited because a new CD is slated for April. Band leader Steven Wilson also is releasing "Blackfield II" which is a side project with him and Israeli recording artist Aviv Geffen. The first Blackfield CD was quite good.