The CEO of the company behind the hologram of Ronnie James Dio says that the first leg of the "Dio Returns" tour was a resounding success, with "thousands" of fans coming out every night to take part in "an unforgettable experience."
Dio died in 2010 at the age of 67 from stomach cancer. His hologram was created by a company called Eyeillusion and made its debut at the Wacken Open Air festival in August 2016 in front of more than 75,000 fans.
The production uses audio of Ronnie's live performances from throughout his career, with the DIO band playing live, consisting of Craig Goldy on guitar, Simon Wright on drums and Scott Warren on keyboards, along with Bjorn Englen on bass. Also appearing with them are former JUDAS PRIEST singer Tim "Ripper" Owens and LYNCH MOB's Oni Logan.
Last week, Eyellusion CEO Jeff Pezzuti posted a message on the company's official web site thanking fans for their support and underlining the project's goal of sharing the gift of Ronnie's music with future generations.
"Last month, we had the privilege of reuniting the late Ronnie James Dio's fans in celebration of the timeless music he left behind," Jeff wrote. "The incredible DIO band and our Ronnie James Dio hologram played seven countries and ten dates in 18 days! As the 'Dio Returns' shows went on and word spread about this special experience, the crowds kept growing. By the final dates of the tour, thousands were coming out for an unforgettable experience.
"It's not easy to be the first to do something in an industry that doesn't change all that often. But we're fans first. We had a vision that the music that has helped form the foundation of rock and roll should be passed down for generations and generations to enjoy. In the current business climate, that means live tours. After all, there's nothing quite like leaving everything behind for just a night to join fellow fans for an unforgettable experience. It's about the sound, the lights, the memories — just getting lost in the moment.
"A huge thank you to the extended DIO family for their unflinching support as we set out together to make history. None of this would have been possible without Wendy Dio, the band (Craig Goldy, Simon Wright, Scott Warren, Bjorn Englen, Tim 'Ripper' Owens and Oni Logan), the crew and everyone else who believed in us. With a successful tour leg under our belt, we head to Pollstar Live! next month to meet again with the industry and start plotting the rest of the dates that will feature even more songs and a bigger stage show. Yes, we're truly just getting started!"
Owens said in a recent interview that Ronnie James Dio's widow/manager Wendy, who is also a member of the Eyellusion team, "spent a fortune" creating the Ronnie James Dio hologram and ultimately just "wants to please the fans." Goldy also disputed the assertion that he was doing the "Dio Returns" tour as a way of "cashing in," explaining that he is "always out of pocket on these things."
Craig added that while he is aware some of Dio's fans have an issue with the hologram tour, "many people understand the simplicity of this. It's not anything other than a grand gesture with the lights from the same gifted man who was the lighting director on the 'Sacred Heart' and 'Dream Evil' tours, the images on the two screens on each side of the stage, and only a handful of songs done with the hologram," he said.
In 2018, "Dio Returns: The World Tour" will make stops throughout Scandinavia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, United States, Venezuela and other countries, with many more dates to be announced.