Dio Upstaged by Megadeth at Long Beach

Heavy-metal belter Ronnie James Dio has enough lung power to blow out a forest fire, but in some ways he got blown off the stage by the second-billed Megadeth at the Long Beach Arena Saturday.

There's no question that Dio--also the name of the singer's four-piece band--mounted yet another extravagant stage show. It didn't provide quite the sensory overload of last tour's castle and fire-breathing dragon production, but there were lotsa lasers, flash pots and beasts doing battle.

All this served as a backdrop for an extended blast of majestic metal that was often well-executed, but frequently veered toward aimless, ponderous territory and sometimes--particularly during the extended solo segments--traveled well into Dullsville.

Especially compared to the set by Megadeth, which was a whole different kettle of metal. For starters, the quartet didn't fool with any visual frills. And though the band was on stage half as long as the headliner, it delivered more moments of pulverizing power as it tore through whiplash rock from the new album "so far, so good...so what!" and some older faves, including the bone-crunching remake of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin."'

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