After debuting at last year’s Wacken festival in Germany, a hologram of late heavy-metal singer Ronnie James Dio will set out on a world tour, backed by musicians who played with him, this fall. The trek, dubbed “Dio Returns”, will kick off with a European leg of performances in theaters on November 30th in Helsinki before hitting South America, Australia and Asia. The tour will arrive in the U.S. in the spring of 2018 and hit select festivals next summer.
“In 1986, for the Sacred Heart Tour, Ronnie and I created the Crystal Ball with Ronnie filmed and speaking in a suspended crystal ball effect, done with back projection, which was the closest we could get to a hologram,” says the singer’s widow, Wendy Dio. “Ronnie was always wanting to experiment with new stage ideas and was a big Disney fan. With this said, I am sure he is giving us his blessing with this hologram project. It gives the fans that saw Ronnie perform an opportunity to see him again and new fans that never got to see him a chance to see him for the first time. We hope everyone will enjoy the show that we have all worked so hard to put together.”
At that time of its debut last year, the band was billed under the name the Dio Disciples. Dio Disciples’ guitarist Craig Goldy said, “We know how much the fans miss Ronnie and the special and unequaled element that he brought to his live performances. Being able to recreate that same kind of magic for his fans at Wacken was incredible. For so many years Ronnie always invested big in his live shows as his way to give back to the fans, and that is exactly what we aimed to do with this latest performance. Ronnie was always about spectacle, theatrics, dragons and everything like that,” Dio Disciples’ drummer Simon Wright told Mitch Lafon. “So I have a feeling that this is something he would have liked to see. I think it turned out pretty cool.”
The Dio estate has worked with hologram company Eyellusion so the singing specter could perform many of the late vocalist’s hits, including “Holy Diver,” “Rainbow in the Dark,” “We Rock,” “King of Rock and Roll,” Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights” and “Heaven and Hell” and Rainbow’s “Man on the Silver Mountain,” among others. The production uses audio of Dio’s live performances from throughout his career with a live band backing him up in front of a stage set that hearkens back to the singer’s Sacred Heart and Dream Evil tours. The hologram’s set will differ from night to night, and audiences should expect to see the Dio Band also perform with vocalists Tim “Ripper” Owens and Oni Logan on select dates. The Dio Band will consist of guitarist Craig Goldy, drummer Simon Wright, keyboardist Scott Warren and bassist Bjorn Englen. The musicians have previously made appearances as the Dio Disciples.
Eyellusion is also working on securing the rights to bring additional holographic artists to the stage for tours, though reps for the company have yet to reveal future names. The company is currently raising funding to secure additional artist rights and finance other tours. “We are doing this because we were all a family and when a family has lost their beloved family member, they try to keep the memory of their lost loved one alive,” Goldy says. “That is the spirit behind all that we do. When we perform on this tour, for me, it is a memorial service in the form of a rock concert. … This gives fans a chance to experience Dio live without relying on the poor-quality videos on YouTube.”
Dio Returns Tour Dates
Nov 30: The Circus, Helsinki, Finland
Dec 03: Fryshuset, Stockholm, Sweden
Dec 04: Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, Norway
Dec 06: Progresja, Warsaw, Poland
Dec 13: Bikini, Barcelona, Spain
Dec 15: Escenario Santander, Santander, Spain
Dec 17: Arelene Romane, Bucharest, Romania
Dec 20: Trix, Antwerp, Belgium
Dec 21: 013, Tilburg, Netherlands