Wendy Dio spoke to the "RocknRoll Beer Guy" podcast about the all-new Ronnie James Dio hologram which made its live debut late last month at the opening show of the 2019 leg of the "Dio Returns" tour. The production uses audio of Ronnie's live performances from throughout his career, with the DIO DISCIPLES 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 singers Tim "Ripper" Owens and LYNCH MOB's Oni Logan.
"It's done with love," Wendy said (hear audio below). "The fans loved Ronnie. And it's done for the fans — that's who it's done for. 'Cause Ronnie loved his fans — he loved his fans more than anything. I think his fans came first, his animals second, and probably me third. [Laughs]"
According to Wendy, a substantial amount of money went into creating the Dio hologram (more than a year ago, she said that two million dollars had already been spent on the production), and she is optimistic that it will turn out to be a long-term success,
"This is an investment that we've all made, and we're all very proud of it," she said. "And hopefully it goes well. And if it doesn't, well, you know what? We tried. And it is a fantastic show. And everyone should just enjoy it and celebrate Ronnie's life and keep his music alive. And as I said, I hope it goes well. I think it's the way of the future. A lot more people are deciding to do holograms, so let's hope this is the way of the future… The Frank Zappa tour just went out, and it did really rave reviews on that… So there's a lot more people that are starting to think about it."
Dio died in 2010 at the age of 67 from stomach cancer. His hologram was created by a company called Eyellusion — with Wendy Dio as part of the team — and made its debut at the Wacken Open Air festival in August 2016 in front of more than 75,000 fans.
Wendy told Rolling Stone that she "cried the first time" she saw the Ronnie hologram prior to the Wacken show. "It was quite, quite scary," she said. "Our crew, when they first saw it at rehearsal, they were in tears. It's absolutely amazing."
Wendy previously said that critics of the Dio hologram are "entitled to their opinion. I just ask that people come and see the show first before criticizing," she told Patch.com. "We got a lot of flak in the beginning but I think more and more people are getting used to it. It's for the fans. It's for the fans who would love to see Ronnie back up on the stage and the ones that never got a chance to see him. I think Ronnie would approve. If anybody saw the 'Sacred Heart' tour in 1986 we tried to make a hologram then. We had Ronnie in a crystal ball hanging from the stage talking through it. Also he was an innovator in music, so why not be an innovator in technology."