Dio returns! Well, that’s what his latest tour is claiming, at least, as the late Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell frontman finds himself resurrected in the form of a hologram, having passed away in 2010 at the age of 67.
The world tour is set to make its way to Australia in November, with the virtual Dio accompanied by former bandmates Craig Goldy (guitar), Bjorn Englen (bass), Scott Warren (keyboards) and Simon Wright (drums) – all living, incidentally.
No dates have been set just yet, but Australian fans can start gearing up for the odd mix of a throwback heavy metal set and the hologram tech that originally brought Tupak Shakur back to life at Coachella five years ago, and hasn’t been used much since outside of Japan’s animated cartoon ‘idols’ like Hatsune Miku.
When I first heard that Dio would be dragged back from the grave in the form of a hologram, my first reaction was to roll my eyes at the idea of another artist being exploited in death. But when Dio’s widow Wendy seems so insistent that it’s what he would have wanted, and he’d apparently been interested in the technology for years, I did begin to wonder if these holograms were really such a bad thing.
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“I feel that Ronnie was an innovator in music, and why not be an innovator in technology also?” she told the Talk Toomey podcast (via Blabbermouth), pointing out that Dio had already been interested in the idea decades back.
“He tried to make a hologram in 1986. When we had the [DIO] ‘Sacred Heart’ tour, we did the big crystal ball with Ronnie’s head in there talking, which was actually done with a rear projection, but we were always trying to do new things and exciting things.
“In fact, his personal [assistant] just called me a couple of weeks ago and he said, ‘Hey, Wendy, I just found this interview that Ronnie did a long time ago, and they were asking Ronnie [if he had] plans to retire, and ‘what will you do when you retire?’ And he said, ‘Well, I don’t think I’ll ever retire. I’ll probably die on stage. Or if I don’t, I’m sure Wendy will find something for me to do after.’ [Laughs] So I thought that was quite funny.”
So while Dio himself was apparently all for the idea, I’m still not sure whether the effect quite hits the nail on the head enough right now – but I’m also curious to give it a look in person.