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Last in Line

Date: 1/31/19
Venue: BLK Live, Scottsdale, AZ
Report By: Jack Mangan


We lost Ronnie James Dio to cancer in 2010, but in 2011, his former bandmates, Vivian Campbell, Vinny Appice, and Jimmy Bain recruited vocalist Andrew Freeman (ex-Lynch Mob) to keep his music going before live audiences. Sadly, Jimmy Bain died a few years later in 2016, but Last in Line continued with Phil Soussan (ex-Ozzy Osbourne) on the bass.
From their beginnings as a Dio tribute band, they began to write and record new original material, which is better than you expect it to be. Their first album, “Heavy Crown” was released in 2016, and “II” is due in 2019.
OK, now that that’s all out of the way: It’s a surreal experience to watch Metal royals Vinny Appice and Vivian Campbell - - the latter of whom is headlining sold-out arena shows with his other band, Def Leppard - - playing some of the greatest music ever made, in front of a tiny crowd at BLK Live in Scottsdale.
Last in Line do play a few of their own tracks - - but the main focus is on the hits and deep cuts from the first two Dio records, “Holy Diver” and “The Last in Line.” Andrew Freeman doesn’t sound much like Ronnie, but he sings faithfully to the original album recordings, rather than trying to make them his own, and brings all the power and reverence these classics deserve - - and he’s a killer frontman to boot. As for the other guys, Vivian and Vinny may both be elder statesmen of Metal, but neither has lost a step at all. The guitar solos were spot on, close-to-perfect enough to satisfy those of us who have every note memorized. Credit Phil Soussan too, for honoring Jimmy Bain with words and with his playing.
Last in Line are a four-piece - - guitars, bass, vocals, and drums - - so the iconic synth parts are sometimes missing; I’d love to see them get some keyboards for the key riffs. Still, that’s a minor complaint; it didn’t detract from the greatness of any of the music, not even “Rainbow in the Dark.” That was an absolute highlight, along with the obvious classics, “Holy Diver,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Stand Up and Shout,” “The Last in Line,” etc., but it was also great to hear the lesser-known “Egypt (The Chains Are On).”
A Last in Line show is a dream come true for any Dio or Metal fan, young or old. Personally, I haven’t banged my head and screamed along so much at a show in ages. The rain started coming down at the outdoor venue just in time for their encore, “We Rock,” which just added to the momentousness of the evening, pouring a bit of dramatic flair onto their finale.
Side note: Phoenix locals Mourning Grey did a pretty fine set to open things up. This is a band to watch.

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