The Hologram Tour – The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA – 6/28/19
May 16th, 2019 marked 9 years since the passing of Legendary Metal Vocalist, Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie’s loss left a big black hole in the soul of metal that few artists today are able to fill. So bringing back Ronnie in the form of a hologram definitely peaked the interest of many who miss him. So what are the results? Well, I don’t think there’s a definitive answer. First off the hologram is not exactly what I (and many at the gig) had expected. Instead of being a 3D image (Google “Tupac Hologram at Coachella”) it was more of a projection on to a screen. It’s easy to pick at the flaws that this brings with it (pixelation, the feeling you’re watching more of a cartoon at times…) but it didn’t bother the packed Wiltern Theater AT ALL! The crowd were in full voice and wether it was in awe at the image of Ronnie or just getting to hear the live recordings of him singing the classic Dio/Sabbath/Rainbow songs once again, they were united in their love for everything that RJD gave to them.
The stage show (even without the hologram) was better than a lot of today’s bland productions. For most of the show the band, consisting of guitarist, Craig Goldy, drummer, Simon Wright, Keyboardist, Scott Warren and bassist, Bjorn Englen, were flanked on either side of the center canvas with which Ronnie was displayed. The center piece acted as a backdrop for a stunning array of imagery as well as videos of some classic Dio performances.
The show doesn’t rest all on the shoulders of Dio and the hologram; Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest) and Oni Logan (Lynch Mob) take on a healthy dose of the vocal duties (as they have been doing with the Dio Disciples who make up the DIO Returns band.
The setlist is a journey through the greatest of Ronnie’s catalog including Sabbath’s “Mob Rules”, “Children Of The Sea”, “Heaven & Hell” and “Neon Knights”, Rainbow’s “Gates Of Babylon”, “Catch The Rainbow/Stargazer”, “Man On The Silver Mountain” and of course the solo years material, “King Of Rock N Roll”, Last In Line/Holy Diver”, “Stand Up and Shout”, “Don’t Talk To Strangers”, “Rainbow In The Dark”, “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”, “Invisible” and “We Rock”.
Technology and time will fuel the debate as to whether this sort of show (bringing back artists that have passed) is something that is to be embraced or shunned. I will say that the one person that knew Ronnie best, his wife Wendy, was rocking out at the back of the venue with a huge grin on her face watching the show.
The concert is truly a celebration of all things Ronnie. The first thing “Ripper” did when he came out on stage was to raise the Horns & praise the Man. The rest of the evening was a fitting tribute to one of the greatest Metal had to offer. At the end of the evening Oni left the crowd chanting the refrain, “Dio Forever…Dio Forever…”
For at least this night, Magic, Dragons, Castles, Rainbows and Ronnie were reunited in all of their Metal Glory.
Long Live Rock & Roll and Long Live Ronnie James Dio
Jizzy Pearls’ Love/Hate
Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate kicked off the evening. The band consists of Jizzy Pearl – vocals, Stevie R. Pearce – guitar, Michael Doc Ellis – bass, and sitting behind the kit, Mike Dupke.
The Wiltern is not a place for opening bands to shine, and even though the band did a great job and got the crowd rocking…the sound was passable and the lighting was minimal at best. It was great hearing Jizzy who didn’t let any of the venue’s faults slow him down. Highlights of their set were “Spinning Wheel”, “Wasted In America” and of course, “Blackout In The Red Room”.
RJD Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund