Ronnie James Dio’s hologram made its first appearance on the Dio Returns: The World Tour at the Matrix venue in Bochum, Germany.
His hologram appeared for the first time last year, alongside real-life members of his band, delivering a set that included “Holy Diver,” “We Rock,” “Rainbow in the Dark” and much more.
The show presents live recordings of Dio’s vocals, with the hologram programmed to perform along with the audio. Former Judas Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens plays a leading support role, with Lynch Mob’s Oni Logan booked to appear at some shows. The band includes guitarist Craig Goldy, drummer Simon Wright, bassist Bjorn Englen and keyboardist Scott Warren.
The hologram project caused controversy when it was introduced, with some fans uncomfortable with the idea of Dio’s “return,” and others calling it as a “cash-in.” The project was masterminded by the singer’s widow and manager Wendy Dio, who told Ultimate Classic Rock earlier this year that “we didn’t need to do it, but we’re doing things that we always did. Ronnie did things for his fans, and we’re trying to continue doing that.”
On November 25, 2009, Wendy announced that Dio had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and was being treated at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, but that he would be back on stage when recovered.
On May 4, 2010, Heaven & Hell announced they were canceling all summer dates as a result of Dio’s ill health. His last live performance was with Heaven & Hell on August 29, 2009, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
A statement made by Dio’s wife had stated that Dio had died at 7:45 am (CDT) on May 16, 2010, of metastasized stomach cancer, according to official sources.
A public memorial service was held on May 30, 2010 at The Hall of Liberty, Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles. The hall was filled to capacity, with many more fans sitting outside the hall watching the memorial on multiple giant screens on both the east and south sides of the hall.
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