Ronnie James Dio was a very talented musician; he was loved and was one of metal's best voices. It's sad to think that he's not among us anymore but Dio was a great man who cared about not only the music but his fans and he always had a positive message, he was also a strong influence on metal in general, he left his mark. Few have sung with as many bands as Ronnie has: Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, solo as Dio and finally, Heaven & Hell. With Dio's passing Neon Knights 30 Years of Heaven & Hell (also called Live In Europe in the U.S. and Live At Wacken in Europe) is released, the show was recorded on July 30th 2009 on the tour promoting Bible Black. Due to Ronnie's passing the band disbanded, however, they played a final show in tribute to Dio this summer with singer Glen Hugues, it's smart of them to end the band (and the tribute was a nice touch! And no, Glen won't be replacing Dio). But this isn't only about Ronnie, it's also about Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice who are all great musicians in their own right, it's together that they are Heaven & Hell.
Ronnie sounds incredible (especially on Children of the Sea), his voice is so powerful and strong for his age it's amazing. Tony Iommi is the master of riffs and shows us what he's capable of. Bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Vinny Appice make a strong rhythmic section. 8 of the songs here also appear on the first live Heaven & Hell album, Live From Radio City Music Hall (which has 15 songs), they are still different versions because the band doesn't play the exact same show every time so I'd say this album is worth the buy. Plus the songs from their only studio album, The Devil You Know, are terrific live! (Follow the Tears and the title track being amongst the best songs on this live album). The show starts out with a strong version of Mob Rules, goes into what I consider perhaps THE best Black Sabbath/Dio song, Children of the Sea (this live version is the better one, Dio couldn't be more into it, simply amazing). Then there's an excellent super long version of Heaven & Hell, there is also a great version of Time Machine and the superb new songs.Live in Europe features songs from all four albums Dio recorded with Tony Iommi and co. (three under the name Black Sabbath and one as Heaven & Hell)
From Heaven & Hell: Children of the Sea, Die Young, Heaven & Hell, Neon Knights.
From Mob Rules: Mob Rules, Falling Off The Edge of the World.
From Dehumanizer: I,Time Machine.
From The Devil You Know: Bible Black, Fear, Follow the Tears. (H & H already had a live album out but this one features some different songs from their studio album The Devil You Know, plus this performance is very good)
This is an excellent live disc, it has only 11 songs but great performance by the band and the sound is very good. If you're a fan these songs (the show was one of Dio's last) are a great way to remember Ronnie are worth hearing if you're curious. A week before Live In Europe was released a double disc Dio live packaged called Dio: At Donnigton UK 1983 & 1987, live shows from his solo career which is another great way to commemorate Dio's career. Live In Europe would be a good addition to your collection; the sounds is good and the musicians perform to the degree you'd expect, if you're into live albums this is highly recommended (if you're not why are you reading this anyway?). The first Heaven & Hell live album was a nice one and this is a nice companion to it, don't be afraid to buy just because they have some of the same songs, they always sound different in a way or another. The DVD of the show is a good companion to this live album and is also worth looking into. RATING: 4/5.