at “ARK” Athens, Greece – June 30 2003


photos by:   © Vagelis and Mike     

review by:  Dimitris "Heartcollector83" Theodoropoulos 

the public use of these photos is strictly prohibited without written permission.



This was the best concert of my life and I’ll make this review something like a story.


Let’s begin a day before the concert…I arrived in Athens in order to be present in the meeting of the Greek Fan Club of DIO in “Texas” rock bar. We had prepared a night full of Dio’s music and we started at 11 pm, ending at 3 am. A big part of the fan club’s members were there and our DJ played the best moment’s of Ronnie’s career from the first Rainbow album up to the latest DIO album, Killing The Dragon. A good warm up night before the gig. I got back home at 3.30 am and slept at 4.00 am. Woke up at 6.00 and started looking how to find my way to the airport where DIO was about to arrive with the 9.30 plane from Turkey where he played last night. I went to the airport with 4 other members of the DIO fan club but to our disappointment DIO was not with the 9.30 plane. We waited until 11.30 for the next flight to arrive…we saw Rotting Christ arrive, they played with DIO last night as well, and then after a few minutes Jimmy Bain was seen along with Simon Wright. Yes, the band had arrived! We greeted DIO,gave him a bunch of flowers, 10 in total,each flower for each year that had passed without seeing him live here (he last played here in 1993).He signed our cds/lps we took pictures with him and some other band members and then they left to their hotel in order to rest. I arrived home at 2.00pm and then at 3.00 I had to leave again…me and 4 other crazy DIO fans arrived at the ARK venue, a field that could take up to 5000 people without problem. So there we were at 4.00pm listening to the roadies doing a soundcheck. There very few crazy fans like us waiting there, we were all about 20 people until 5.30 when more people started coming. Doors opened at 7.30 and we started running in order to win ourselves a place in the very first row. My friends didn’t make it but I managed to get a very good place in the right side in front of the guitar player. Still I had to wait for 4 hours for the show to begin but I met many cool metal fans in the front rows and we started talking and finally it was 9.20…ten more minutes and we were going to see the legendary Ronnie James Dio. A roadie seemed to have problems with the microphone testing it all the time and getting on our nerves, the crows started throwing bottles and other stuff at him until he finally left and the light went out leading to Killing The Dragon’s intro! Dio came on stage in shoutings and screams, everyone went mad. He greeted us after the song ended and introduced the next one which was the classic tune from Holy Diver album, Straight Through The Heart. I was happy to hear this song because I knew that the band was going to play my all time favourite song next, Stargazer!  The famous drum intro was played, not so good, from Simon Wright and the riff kicked in. Finally I heard stargazer performed live by 2/5 of the original line up that played it back in 1976.Jimmy Bain was there on bass in all his glory playing his parts while Ronnie was singing it as good as he did 27 years ago, I couldn’t believe it! The song was played with a verse less and the guitar solo started. I was very curious to see if Craig Goldy could handle it well enough, Blackmore’s solos are difficult to play, especially in the emotional part. But Craig played so brilliantly, the guy ruled. The show remained in high standards, Dio screamed ‘Stand Up And Shout’ and moshing started. Noone could stand and just watch in this song. In order to let us rest for a while Simon Wright did a nice drum solo, including the 1812(the famous classic song that Cozy Powell used to follow with drum solo). It was the first time I saw the crowd enjoying a drum solo! The classic Black Sabbath song The Mob Rules came to cause madness in the crowd after the short break of the drum solo. Another song of Killing The Dragon album was next, Rock N Roll. Nice tune for sing along, good choice for the set list. The next song was dedicated to Motorhead as Ronnie said because that’s what they do, the song was I Speed At Night. This great, speed metal classic caused pain to our necks once again from the non stop headbanging. A slower song to calm us down, the super heavy Lord Of The Last Day was next with Dream Evil following with it’s monstrous riff to get everyone jumping up/down again. Craig Goldy shines once again. After the song he did a guitar solo, not so interesting in mu opinion but still cool. Then it was Evil Eye’s turn, a song that hasn’t been played live for many many years, killer track! But the crowd’s favourite was about to begin after Evil Eyes…the keyboard intro of Holy Diver started and with the huge riff this song was sung by everyone there. Probably the most popular DIO song, it easily brought excitement to this excellent show. With the end of the song the riff of Heaven And Hell was thrown in, this all time classic metal hymn by Black Sabbath from the Dio era had started and once again noone could stop screaming, shouting, headbanging and me living the best moments in a concert. Brilliant song, performed by a great band, I was looking around the stage to see if Iommi was playing guitar because Craig was doing a fantastic guitar work! In the middle part of the song before the fast part, Dio did the usual live vocal improvisation, red lights thrown to his eyes, awesome sight! The title track of the second DIO album, Last In Line was next, with it’s slow and melodic intro and the powerful main part of the song, caused panic in the crowd once again. I was wondering how good this show could continue to be when Rainbow In The Dark started, another all time classic, I doubt if there was anyone that didn’t know this one! After the end of the song I threw to the stage the banner of the Greek Dio Fan Club and Ronnie opened it with the other band mates, he thanked us and I was so thrilled to see him holding our banner. The song that was going to close the night was We Rock but of course everyone knew that he wouldn’t leave without an encore. We Rock was very cool, he usually finishes his gigs with this song, but we got an encore, a medley of two Rainbow classic songs, Man On The Silver Mountain/Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll. Rainbow being my favourite band I can’t describe how much I enjoyed listening to these songs live. Everyone participated on these songs ,during Long Live Rock N Roll we did a sing along with Ronnie on the chorus. This concert ended in shouts of excitement, everyone enjoyed this gig so much, I could see many smiles of satisfaction and tired faces as well from the non stop headbanging. Me being in a terrible situation, my t-shirt totally wet from sweating, I didn’t sleep for 2 days, walking around athens for many hours, I wanted something to end this with a meet with the band. We went backstage with the other fan club members met, the band, Dio was so friendly once again, a true legend but he talks to you like he is your friend. It was a great honour to meet him and to see him live,don’t ever think of missing a DIO gig if he comes to your town. You won’t be disappointed, this guy is a living legend.


P.S.Many thanks to Vagelis and Mike for giving me pictures to add in this review, I wasn’t able to take any pics because of my excitement for the show. Can you think of anyone taking pictures while headbanging like crazy?! ;-)         

Dimitris Theodoropoulos  


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