THURSDAY 12/14/00

"The world is full of kings and queens
Who blind your eyes
And steal your dreams
It's Heaven and Hell"
Ronnie James Dio

It was a very bizarre night.
My crazy cousin and I went to a heavy metal concert.
Nothing new there…we've been doing it since 1983 when we saw Iron Maiden in the fabled halls of the late, lamented Hollywood Sportatorium.
Things have changed. With the exception of ubergroups like Metallica, heavy metal doesn't play arenas or stadiums anymore.
They play clubs now.

Case in point…after making the almost 2 hour drive from my area, Kendall, to Boyton Beach, we found ourselves in…a shopping center.
Over in the corner, in what I truly think was a refurbished Winn Dixie, was the venue, Orbit, a place so new it only had a banner…no actual signs.

It was the right place though. We laughed so hard at this discovery that we didn't think about what it all meant…clubs work by different rules.
We're used to shows starting at 730 and being over by 11PM.
And we're used to SEATS!
The first act went on at 830 PM (keep in mind we got there at 645 PM)
The final act was not actually finished when we walked out at 1 AM.
And there wasn't a seat to be had in the joint…so basically it was 5 hours plus of standing in a mosh pit. Of course it wasn't really a mosh pit, but by the third act, some ne'er'do'wells were pushing and causing all sorts of chaos. I guess you never really have to look to hard to find the assholes, huh?

But hey, this is about music, right?
The first act was Doro Pesch, a very hot German chick who has to be pushing 40 by now…if not more. Hell she fronted a German metal act called Warlock in the early 80s.
You know what, she was still hot, and very energetic, if not particularly talented. She was backed up by a very young band, and even though I wasn't crazy about the music, I enjoyed them over all.

Second up was Yngwie Malmsteen. In the 80's Yngwie basically invented a musical movement called shredding. Shredding is very fast guitar playing. Unfortunately, I never really got into Malmsteen, because to me all his songs sounded the same…juts a million notes in a semi-classical style burning over pretty cheesy melodies, lyrics and vocals. Still, he's very prolific…I dunno, an album a year since 84, or something ridiculous like that. Anyway, he came out looking strangely enough like the cowardly lion, what was that about?
His set, um, sucked? VERY annoying.

Finally, there he was…that evil elf of rock and roll and heavy metal…Ronnie James Dio.
Ronnie James Dio began with his own band called Elf in the 70's! He's no spring chicken…in fact, he's pretty freaking old…and I'm sorry, the man is just unattractive. I mean, scarily unattractive. I mean he's all teeth and receding hairline….it's just not a pretty picture. But you know what? He must be pushing 50, and the man STILL has one of the best voices ever!
After Elf he sang for Rainbow, which was the offspring of Deep Purple.
But he's best known for replacing the irreplaceable Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer in Black Sabbath. He didn't last too long with Sabbath, but he was there long enough to co-write the classic album Heaven and Hell, the title track to which is one of the greatest hard rock songs EVER!
In the early 80's Dio went solo, and I don't know how many times I've seen him before, but I know I saw him once in the aforementioned Sportatorium! Wow!

Anyway, Dio took the stage and did an almost two hour set of classics as well as most of 2000 release, Magica, a concept album. His voice was in great shape. He also seems to be a very nice guy despite being this weird looking older guy who sings evil sounding songs that usually deal with the dichotomy of good versus evil and the like.

He was with a long time guitarist, Craig Goldie, who really impressed me…but I was a little disturbed by how much he looked like an older version of Val Kilmer in Willow. Goldie really rocked, and unlike Malmsteen's messy guitar, you could actually hear his.
Also there was longtime bassist Jimmy Bain. Jimmy, I don't know you at all. Maybe you're the nicest guy on the planet…but damn dude, you make Dio look like a stud.
Hell, you make Keith Richards look pretty damn good.
But I digress…
An unexpected surprise was when Dio introduced IronMaiden drummer Nicko McBrain to sit in on a Dio classic, Rainbow in the Dark! McBrain, as well as other members of Maiden have homes in the Broward county area, and I don't know why.
It was a real treat!

So when it was all said and done, it was definitely an experience.
I truly hope no other act I really wanna see ever plays at Orbit again…I'm just to old and tired to deal with it all.
But what mattered was the music, and Dio in particular, and he did not disappoint…