Last In Line Islington Academy 11-08-13

First up was Dendera a young 5 piece from Portsmouth who play a hybrid of Iron Maiden/Judas Priest from their early days of NWOBHM.

With a debut cd the rather good "The Killing Floor" recently released their 30 minute set flew past.
Plenty of feet on monitors, twin guitar riffing and solos and huge Halfordesque vocals and huge screams from vocalist Ashley Edison. They really were excellent with both guitarists playing their part and so nice to hear harmony guitars in a wall of sound. Andy Finch on drums also put in one hell of a shift.

With songs as good as "The Killing Floor", "The Predator", "Senlac Hill" and the last song "Bridges Will
Burn" all with huge riffs and vocals to die for this band should go far.
On the road again in September supporting Gloryhammer one to watch out for.

Next up was Sweet Savage and yes it was Viv Campbell's first band and the one that Metallica covered with their version of "Killing Time".With only original member Ray Haller on bass and blues hotshot Simon Mcbride on guitar they played a 6 song set at break neck pace that reminded me of Motorhead in it's delivery.
"Killing Time" and then another cover of Thin Lizzy's "Whisky In The Jar" , that they had covered on their 2011 Regeneration cd, finished the set to large applause.

I was really looking forward to Last In Line from the footage I had seen on youtube of their US warm up show and also because I am a huge fan of the first couple of cd's that for me are amongst the best from any era of rock music.

"Holy Diver"and "Last In Line" are masterpieces.

I saw Dio's Disciples and their take on the music of Ronnie James Dio a couple of years ago.They played a combination of Dio,Black Sabbath and Rainbow songs whereas Last In Line focus on the music they helped create.We had the whole of "Holy Diver", 5 from "Last In Line" and a couple off "Sacred Heart" which is when Viv Campbell left and was replaced by Craig Goldy.

It's not often you get such huge stars in a small venue anywhere so to see Viv Campbell on guitar, Jimmy Bain on bass, Vinny Appice on drums was a special evening.

Joined by Claude Schnell on keyboards and the man who had the unenviable task of filling RJD's shoes Andrew Freeman who has been in Hurricane and Lynch Mob.

Here is what they played

Stand Up And Shout
Straight Through The Heart
King Of Rock And Roll
Don't Talk To Strangers
Sacred Heart
Evil Eyes
Holy Diver
Caught In The Middle
Egypt(The Chains Are On)
I Speed At Night
The Last In Line
Shame On The Night
Rainbow In The Dark
Encores of
We Rock

This was the fourth and last show of a short UK run that the band have had to fit in with Viv's cancer treatment after his recent diagnosis of Hodgkinson's Lyphoma.You have to admire the man's courage at the way he is facing it head on!!!

For me he has been wasted as Phil Collen's sidekick in Def Leppard for over 20 years now.He is too good to be a number 2.His playing with Dio had David Coverdale calling to join Whitesnake at they went on the road with 1987 and went supernova.
It was joining Thin Lizzy back in 2009 that had reinvented his love for playing guitar and that led to Last In Line being formed.

Getting myself a front row position for 100 minutes we were treated to some of the finest music ever created.
The band were on fire and it was great to see Viv at close hand riffing and soloing wonderfully.

He nailed it all.To see the solo of "Rainbow In The Dark" hit note perfect was brilliant.

Vinny Appice was a monster and hits so hard and great to hear he still does as many fills as he did back in the day.He was having a ball and you could see him feeding off the energy that the band produced.

Andrew Freeman was exceptional.He doesn't sound like RJD but that didn't matter.He meant every word he sang and put so much into it and was a great frontman.You could see that he was loving being on stage with legends and in a very lucky position.

During "Gypsy" he spotted me singing (!) the words so next thing I know he's leaning out to me and letting me holler "Gypsy" very badly into the microphone.Brilliant for me sorry to everyone else.I felt 17 again for a few seconds.

In 1983 I was lucky enough to see Dio on their first ever show at the Monster Of Rock at Donington.One of my favourite all time performances and one that gets played regularly on the Evans death deck to this day.
Back  then the  Dio band focussed on all of RJD's work so some of the lesser known songs weren't played live.
That looking back was a shame as songs like "Caught In The Middle", "Gypsy" and "Invisible" deserved to be heard and all were played incredibly well.

Freeman's quip that they were to quieten things down a bit before launching into my favourite "Evil Eyes"was funny and the song was as brilliant as I could ever hope it to be.Great extended solo from Viv at the end too!

After everyone yelling "We Rock"back at the band and Freeman joining us in the crowd for an extended ending  the evening was over.

A quite exceptional evening that was the perfect tribute to the late great Ronnie James Dio and to his mighty fine band.

Keep fighting Viv and let's hope Last In Line are back soon as they need to be seen.


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