Last In Line / Diamond Head Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     July 12, 2019    
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Last In Line / Diamond Head - O2 Academy Islington, London (UK) - 12 June 2019

It is strange to me to see a band as significant as Diamond Head in a support band position. I am aware that many fans are sniffy when an original vocalist is replaced and, also, that the band were away for many years, yet it still seems curious to me. Also with a set of only eight songs that is always going to seem super short to me, particularly when I am photographing for the first three songs. However, that said, to see the band alive and kicking is still a treat and the shortness of the set just makes it special. Diamond Head are another beast without Sean Harris, but they are now pursuing a purely Heavy Metal agenda which should resonate well with most of their fans.

It was the live premiere of three songs from the new album 'The Coffin Train'; 'Death By Design', 'Belly Of The Beast' and 'The Messenger' and so was an occasion in itself. Vocalist Ras Bom Andersen is far more comfortable with the new material than the older stuff having been totally involved in the writing and recording of the latest album. Of course, this is to be expected. However, he totally does justice to classics like opener 'Borrowed Time' and quintessential Diamond Head songs 'In The Heat Of The Night' and 'Am I Evil' with the usual killer riffs from Brian. Ras is very good at getting the crowd involved and the band get good buy in for singalongs for their most famous songs.

Diamond Head Live

Last in Line are unusual in that the instrumentalists are much better known than the vocalist Andrew Freeman, but he is an experienced frontman and undoubtedly possesses great pipes, doing the great man Dio proud which is no mean feat. He also works hard to excite the crowd and so does a good job. The attention in this band is inevitably, however, on Vivian Campbell (also of Def Leppard and recipient of a Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame award), Vinnie Appice on drums (Dio and Black Sabbath) and Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne and Billy Idol), a veritable supergroup!

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As such they are seasoned veterans, extremely comfortable on stage and deliver faultlessly on every occasion I have seen them. Tonight was no exception. The chanting of "Vinnie, Vinnie" by the crowd and his comedic hamming up of this was also good comedic value, as were Freeman's joking musings about Appice claiming he is deaf and so talking about him when he could clearly hear every word.

Last In Line Live 2

Out of the sixteen songs tonight just over half were Dio songs. Respect for Dio was an integral part of the raison d'etre for Last in Line so it was not surprising, but the band is not only a legacy of the great man as this band has now brought out two very strong albums of original post-Dio material. 'Starmaker' and 'Devil In Me' are monster songs and remembering that Phil Soussan reportedly wrote the Ozzy number 'Shot In The Dark' it's unsurprising that they can come up with fine songs that stands up to the Dio material. The dedication of 'Starmaker' to recently departed Jimmy Bain was also nice to see. The sheer firepower on heavy song 'Blackout The Sun' was remarkable. Of course, gigantic Dio hits like 'Holy Diver' get all the attention and these widely familiar numbers showcase the talent on stage and are instant crowd pleasers. Tonight was typical in that regard.

Last In Line Live

It was nice to hear a declaration that Last in Line intend to carry on until they die. The band are certainly majestic on stage and are perhaps underrated having sometimes been described as a "tribute" band, which can be used with negative connotations despite the incredibly positive meaning of that word. I would certainly argue strongly this is not a tribute act as it contains a number of members of the actual Dio band, although their work is certainly a tribute to the great man and a worthy one at that. I am looking toward to the future of this band and had a great time tonight.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

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