Dio with Dokken

dokken001dio_851 Bands: Dio with Dokken

Venue: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland CA

Date: December 1983

When Ronnie James Dio made his way to the San Francisco Bay Area in the winter of 1983, the diminutive singer was on a major career upswing. Having completed successful stints as lead vocalist in Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow and the Ozzy Osbourne-less Black Sabbath, the early years of the burgeoning heavy metal friendly eighties were prime time for Dio to forge a path as a solo artist. He had two powerful albums to his credit, Holy Diver and The Last in Line, legions of hard rocking and rabid fans, and a headlining tour with arena newcomers, Dokken, in a supporting role.

But enough of the ancient heavy metal history lesson, let me tell you about the Dio/Dokken show from the perspective of a fourteen year old metalhead.

840824_generic_view_22This show was the first concert that my friends Roger Arbelbide and Toby D’elia and I were allowed to travel to on our own. Since we lived on the Peninsula and the show was in Oakland, our parents decided it would be best for everyone involved if we rode on the BART train to the Coliseum. That plan was cool with us because it gave us more freedom than we would have had if one of our folks had actually driven us there. So it was with a newfound sense of independence and maturity that we boarded the train in Daly City, our jean jacket pockets loaded with several cans of Coors each and a tin of Skoal between us for the ride.

840824_ronnie_3We sat about ten rows up from the floor directly behind the sound man. Even though we were near the back of the room relative to the stage, hearing the band was no problem; they were freaking loud. In fact, the only thing louder was the sound of the M-80 that exploded near Roger’s head when Dio first hit the stage. Thinking back on it now, the only person in attendance that evening who was spared the probable likelihood of Pete Townsend-like permanent hearing damage was the guy I saw on the floor below us who spent the entire duration of the concert, from the first note of Dokken’s set to the final power chord of Dio’s encore, hunched over, face buried inside a trash can, vomiting. I wonder what his blog would say about the time he went and saw Ronnie James Dio.


One Response to “Dio with Dokken”

  1. I am not sure that Dio played Oakland on that tour, if you can find it listed somewhere please post it. I saw Dio at The Barn in Antioch in July of 1983 and then again on New Year’s Eve at the Cow Palace. I was 20 at the time. Y&T opened and then Dokken. Dio was about 20 minutes late for the new years countdown (pretty funny with a bunch of people looking at their watches). The 49er’s won a playoff game that day against the Lions and everyone was pumped. They could have played Oakland and night or two before I just can’t remember and I can’t find anything online that verifies it. Anyway, good blog with a lot of great memeories. I went to tons of shows in the Bay Area growing up. I still have most if not all of my ticket stubs. First show- Led Zeppelin 7-24-77

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