@Newcastle O2 Academy 2, December 1 2016

The life of a rock and roll star is rarely as glamourous as the fabled image would have you believe. And when Inglorious turned up on Tyneside for their riff-laden tag team alongside label mates Last In Line, little did they know their ‘dressing room’ would double up as the balcony overlooking a sold-out night of wrestling!

Frontman Nathan James, of course, has the look of a latter-day WWF brawler and we’d fancy him to don his Lycra and do some serious damage inside the ring any day…whether local slip of a lad Wil Taylor would fare quite so well is open to debate.

As musicians, however, their double team is just one of the reasons why Inglorious continue to capture the imagination of those UK fans schooled on Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake et al. Alongside flash Swede Andreas Eriksson and red hot rhythm section Colin Parkinson and Phil Beaver, their heady take on the classic rock greats will only intensify following the release of next spring’s second long player.

For now the classy quintet remain curtain jerkers for the likes of Last In Line when, in all fairness, headline status beckons. The band’s new material – a couple of tantalising tracks were showcased here – confirmed why super producer Kevin Shirley described Inglorious as the best British rock band since Led Zeppelin. And a strident set – replete with a rousing cover of Whitesnake’s Fool For Your Loving – piled the pressure on Dio revivalists Last In Line.

As the wrestling show downstairs reached its outrageous conclusion the night’s headliners could have found themselves floundering on the ropes. Instead a spirited response to their rowdy support resulted in a triumphant celebration of all things Ronnie James and Jimmy Bain.

Featuring Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell and the ageless Vinny Appice there is more than a whiff of authenticity about this well-drilled outfit. Both men were members of Dio – alongside the late Bain – but it was the vocalist drafted in to play the part of classic rock’s much-missed pocket rocket who comfortably stole the show.

Singer Andrew Freeman carries the weight of history and heartache on his shoulders but somehow manages to do justice to one of classic rock’s true heroes. Rousing renditions of Holy Diver, Don’t Talk To Strangers and Rainbow In The Dark drew adulation and admiration in equal measure from fans increasingly willing to accept Dio’s passionate replacement.

Last In Line – named after Dio’s second album – might have released a mediocre album earlier this year but live the new material is re-energised. Campbell played with the same glint in his eye that marked the guitarist’s short but sweet stint in Thin Lizzy and Appice’s ceaseless energy belied an individual fast approaching his 60th birthday.

Both Dio and Bain were duly honoured and Freeman’s promise that Last In Line aren’t going anywhere fast went down a treat with the fist-pumping masses. Inglorious might have shaded a fascinating match-up but Last In Line have the look of a band that means business.