Wendy Dio, wife and longtime manager of Ronnie James Dio, says that the hologram tour of her late husband will likely hit the U.S. in the summer of 2018.The hologram of Ronnie James Dio made its debut at last year's Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. Created by Eyellusion, the surprise appearance of the heavy metal icon during DIO DISCIPLES' set closed out the massive metal event which was attended by more than seventy-five thousand fans. Eyellusion recently announced initial dates for "Dio Returns: The World Tour", featuring the Ronnie James Dio hologram reunited with the late rock star's former bandmates from the DIO band. The tour will make more than eighty stops around the globe, kicking off in Europe in early December. During an interview with Argentinean rock journalist Lucas H. Gordon, Wendy stated about the "Dio Returns" trek (see video below): "We will start December 6th in Germany; we're doing a couple of shows in Germany. Then we're doing London, we're doing Poland, Bucharest, three [shows] in Spain, Belgium and Holland. So that's from the 6th of December to the 22nd of December. And then we're in talks about doing some in South America — in Argentina, Chile, Brazil — and a big Mexican tour, actually. Hopefully everything's good by then. So we're in talks about that. That would be in February. And then we're hoping for America for the summer." The Ronnie James Dio hologram will perform for the majority of the show, treating fans to an alternating set list that will feature songs such as "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" and more.
The "Dio Returns" tour will feature Dio's actual live vocals, backed by a live band consisting of former DIO and current DIO DISCIPLES members Simon Wright (drums), Craig Goldy (guitar) and Scott Warren (keyboards) alongside Bjorn Englen (bass). Singer Tim "Ripper" Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) will also perform, with Oni Logan (LYNCH MOB) joining on select dates. Englen told "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show" last month that "Dio Returns" will see him and his bandmates perform "quite a few songs with the hologram — probably, I would say, about half or maybe more than half. And then the rest of them are gonna be without the hologram, with 'Ripper' Owens and Oni Logan singing," he said. "So it's gonna be the DIO DISCIPLES. And the hologram is gonna be in the middle of the stage, but I don't wanna reveal too much. It's quite a large… it needs quite a bit of space onstage, so hopefully most of the venues are gonna be able to accommodate that, as far as the places that haven't been booked yet. But we're excited about it. It's gonna be great." According to Englen, the tour will consist of shows "at theaters and large clubs. And as long as the stage is big, we can do it. It has to have a certain width," he explained. Regarding what is involved in planning a tour like this, Englen said: "We have to do some choreography, as far as where to be and what song and all that stuff. All the music is live, and we obviously have to play to a click track — or Simon does — so that we're synced with Ronnie's vocals. Other than that, we play the songs like we normally play them. We've just gotta make sure the arrangements are the same, and they usually are — we haven't done many changes to the songs since the DIO days. So they're the same anyway." Asked if he finds it "haunting" to perform with a Dio hologram, the bassist said: "You know, we're not really looking at it while we're playing. Looking at it after, I think it's just a nice thing. Some people wonder, 'Is it creepy?' or that kind of a thing. We're excited. We feel good about it. It's done really well, and it's with live vocals — you know, you get that live feel and everything — and they've done a really nice job as far as the content and the photography and all that stuff. I think a lot of people are gonna be — even the people that have been negative about it, or pessimistic — are gonna be positively surprised."