So, the deceased Ronnie James Dio — legendary metal vocalist, post-Ozzy Black Sabbath frontman, perfecter of the high-pitched yowl — is pretty well respected. His hologram? Not as much. The “Holy Diver” singer’s 3D resurrection has caused quite an uproar since debuting at the Wacken festival last summer, with metalheads torn over whether it’s a nice tribute, or a disgraceful cash grab off of a dead guy.
Welp, buckle up, because Dio, who died in 2010, is about to embark on a world tour. The singer’s estate announced that RJD will “perform” throughout Europe later this year, and in South and North America in early 2018, for thousands of nostalgia-obsessed souls incapable of accepting reality. Apparently, the tour — titled “Dio Returns” — was the brilliant idea of Dio’s widow, Wendy, and all-star Dio tribute band The Dio Disciples. Last year, original Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell called out the Disciples for having “zero credibility” as bearers of the Dio torch.
All good, though, because in a statement to Rolling Stone, Wendy said she’s “sure [Dio] is giving us his blessing with this hologram project” and that he was also “a big Disney fan.” Oh, good.
To satisfy your morbid curiosity, here’s a clip of rent-a-Dio in action.
My opinion? As one of the lucky(?) few who saw the Tupac hologram live at Coachella — and was inebriated enough to believe it was actually him, finally out of hiding — I must admit I’m a bit conflicted. On the one hand, these holograms can look pretty real — if you’re smashed enough. On the other hand, this all seems terribly disrespectful and exploitative and creepy.
But on the first hand again, CGI Dio still has way better stage presence than real Ozzy.