The newly revamped Ronnie James Dio hologram made its debut over the weekend on the Dio Returns North American tour.
The month-long Dio Returns tour kicked off at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers, Florida on Friday night (31st May) before hitting The Plaza Theatre in Orlando on Saturday (1st June).
Unfortunately, the third planned gig at Palladium Theater in St Petersburg, Florida last night was cancelled at the eleventh hour due to “production issues.”
The tweaked Ronnie James Dio hologram was once again created by Eyellusion and it uses archive audio from Ronnie’s live performances from throughout his legendary career alongside live music played each night by Dio Disciples.
The Dio Disciples line-up is guitarist Craig Goldy, drummer Simon Wright, keyboardist Scott Warren and newer Dio family member Bjorn Englen on bass. They’re also joined by singers Tim 'Ripper' Owens (Judas Priest/Yngwie Malmsteen) and Oni Logan (Lynch Mob).
You can watch fan-filmed footage of ‘The Last In Line’ and ‘Holy Diver’ from Orlando right here:
Speaking to Patch.com last week about the hologram, Ronnie’s wife and long-term manager, Wendy, said the current hologram is “a million times better” than its previous incarnation, which made its debut at Wacken Open Air in August 2016.
“Technology has come a long way since the first one was created,” Wendy said. “I'm much happier with the new one. It's a million times better.
“I wasn't happy by the end of the last tour. I wanted Ronnie to look more like Ronnie. I was very picky about the eyebrows actually. Maybe someone else wouldn't have noticed it but I noticed it. I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. He's also now in the same line as the band, in front. Before he was at the back of the stage.”
Asked how much work and planning went into creating the new hologram, Wendy said: “It's been about a year. It's like a cartoon. Every stroke, every eyelash, has to be done individually. Then there's me going, 'I don't like that!' The people involved really care about it. We're all there during the creation, making it exactly what we wanted to do.”
Reflecting on the show as a whole, Wendy added: “I think it's an experience. It's a fun night celebrating Ronnie's life and his music. It's done with love, certainly not for money. When Ronnie was passing away I promised myself I would do everything possible to keep his music and legend alive.”
The Dio Returns tour continues at Vinyl at Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia tonight and wraps up in Las Vegas on 29th June.