HOW many metal fans can you cram into a telephone box?
Well, if last night's show was anything to go by it would be a doddle to cram in several hundred, given the packed to capacity Spring and Airbrake for "An Evening with Dio". Swinging from the rafters would have been the only way to get more in!
Roared hoarse? Heaven and Hell. Bounced til ya dropped? Rainbow in the Dark? Jeans stuck to you with sweat? You were down the front then!
The diminutive Rock God for once was on a stage proportionate to his size (apologies for height-related discrimination) but he dominated the entire venue.
By the second song - Sign of the Southern Cross - the front rows were rapt, caught by his gaze and presence. I would love to be able to tell you the whole venue was that way, but I couldn't turn my head to see, such was the crush! Not that any of us were complaining.
Of course, what most were there to see was the Holy Diver set. And there could be few complaints; except that is for the solo slots.
Yep, Doug Aldridge laid down an impressive guitar solo (how many noticed the wee bit of Little Wing?) with all the requisite twiddly bits. "That guy is fast," remarked Steve afterwards.
Then came the drum solo, followed by a keyboard solo. Now I have no doubt that everyone in the band is a virtuoso metal musician (they wouldn't be there otherwise) but c'mon did you not notice we were all shouting "Dio, Dio", not "solo, solo". We were here for wee man with the huge voice. Next time, trim the solos a bit add in a song instead - Neon Knights?.
But that is a very, very minor gripe. The playing was exquisite, the main man's singing was as good as Antrim '84 and Donington '87, the only other times I have see him live.
Heaven and Hell was superb, Gates of Babylon and We Rock were, to coin an understatement, fucking excellent!
Big shout out to everyone that was there; especially Baal (thanks for the lift), Sylvia, Steve, Michael B. Stevie B (long time no see, etc, etc), Maggie, Sylv and many, many more.
Now, what's next!