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By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Tuesday, February 6, 2024 @ 11:57 AM

At The Vault January 27th With Openers JUDAS RISING

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With what seems like a plethora of acts devoted to paying tribute to metal maestro Ronnie James Dio (not to mention a number original acts that have sprung up featuring ex-members of the DIO band), does the market need another one? That may have been the question heading into the Saturday January 27th concert in New Bedford, MA. But for fans of Dio's music, can there really be too much of a good thing?

RONNY MUNROE'S HOLY DIO hit the stage at The Vault having only played maybe one or two shows beforehand. While billed as "The Premiere Dio Experience" might be a bit bold of a claim for so early in the group's live performances, I was looking forward to what was also being billed as the Southcoast launch party for the group.

I arrived for the show just as opening act JUDAS RISING was hitting the stage. This is the East Coast Chapter tribute act for JUDAS PRIEST. I had seen the band once before but due to some kind of screw-up their set was abbreviated and they never even played "Breaking the Law". Since they were the only opening act this time around, I was definitely looking forward to a full set from the band.

And for the most part, I was pretty happy with their set. Opening with "The Hellion/Electric Eye", the band rocked their way through a pretty entertaining 11-song set hitting a lot of the high points of PRIEST's best known material.

I loved hearing "Freewheel Burning", "Living After Midnight" and finally, their rendtion of "Breaking The Law" among the songs that were performed.

The only nitpick I had was with the set-closing "Painkiller". I don't know if it was a sound issue or maybe something got distorted through the earplugs I was wearing. Or it could've been something I haven't considered yet. But something sounded off during the vocals for the song's first lyrical stanza.

That aside, I was pretty pleased to finally see a full JUDAS RISING set as they definitely had me wanting more.

Set List (all songs are JUDAS PRIEST covers)

  • "The Hellion/Electric Eye"
  • "Metal Gods"
  • "Heading Out To The Highway"
  • "Turbo Lover"
  • "Freewheel Burning"
  • "The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)" (originally done by FLEETWOOD MAC)
  • "Hellbent For Leather"
  • "You've Got Another Thing Comin'"
  • "Breaking The Law"
  • "Living After Midnight"
  • "Painkiller"
You can check about more about the band here HERE

CONCERT FUN FACT #1 - Early in the set, I noticed that RONNY MUNROE was watching the JUDAS RISING set. About midway through their performance he came up to the front of the stage and exhorted the crowd with raised arms to cheer the band on some more.

As a fan who loves the four albums that RONNY MUNROE did with METAL CHURCH, the chance to see finally see him live was my initial draw for wanting to see the HOLY DIO show on top of celebrating the Dio legacy as well.

With a show lineup featuring guitarist Barry Collins, bassist Mike Kaz, keyboardist Chris Turchetti and drummer Joe Cetrone, RONNY MUNROE took the stage after the intermission and proceeded to take the crowd on a journey through the music Ronnie James Dio was part of creating for RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH and the DIO solo band.

Opening with "The Mob Rules" and pairing that song with a couple more high energy rockers in "Neon Knights" and "Stand Up And Shout" got the show off to a flying start.

I did notice that some issues with the sound seemed to crop up again during the HOLY DIO set. I think it was most noticeable when it affected the vocals. I mean, I know RONNY MUNROE has a good handle on the Dio material considering he did a superb cover of "Man On The Silver Mountain" on his solo CD The Fire Within. (The song was also in the set list on this night as well.) So when the vocals dropped out or sounded off just a bit, I could pick it out.

While it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise to me considering he plays in a number of local acts, I was pretty impressed with guitarist Barry Collins. I mean he has to be Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore and Vivian Campbell all in one night. Pulling it off might be simply what you expect from a professional musician but when you can do it with aplomb, it only makes it that much more entertaining.

Other specific highlights of the set for me were "Die Young", "Egypt (The Chains Are On)" and my personal favorite song on the night, "Children Of The Sea". I thought that one was done superbly.

While the show may not have been perfect, I found my impression of RONNY MUNROE'S HOLY DIO to be quite favorable overall. The set list was pretty inclusive of the material that made Ronnie James Dio such a favorite with metal fans and the band did a great job bringing it to life once more. I would definitely love to see this show again down the line as they get more shows under their belt. Until then, I know that I left The Vault pretty happy with what I saw and heard on the night.

Set List

  • "The Mob Rules" (BLACK SABBATH cover)
  • "Neon Knights" (BLACK SABBATH cover)
  • "Stand Up and Shout (DIO cover)
  • "Die Young (BLACK SABBATH cover)
  • "Rainbow in the Dark" (DIO cover)
  • "Man on the Silver Mountain" (RAINBOW cover)
  • "Holy Diver" (DIO cover)
  • "Children of the Sea" (BLACK SABBATH cover)
  • "King of Rock & Roll" (DIO cover)
  • "Egypt (The Chains Are On)" (DIO cover)
  • "We Rock" (DIO cover)
  • "Heaven and Hell" (BLACK SABBATH cover)
  • "The Last in LIne" (DIO cover)
CONCERT FUN FACT #2 - After the show, RONNY MUNROE met with fans for photos and to sign stuff as well. You can see a photo of him and I here. He also signed a bunch of his albums that I have. He noticed and commented about the T-shirt I was wearing for his third solo album Electric Wake.

You can check out more about RONNY MUNROE'S HOLY DIO HERE.

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