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Dio Returns - Islington O2, London (UK) - 19 December 2017

This show features original members of the Dio band – Craig Goldy, Simon Wright and Scott Warren – fronted by a hologram of the late, great singer Ronnie James Dio and real live vocalists Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest), Oni Logan (Lynch Mob) and bassist Bjorn Englen (Quiet Riot). On offer are classics sung by Dio in celebration of his life and legacy.

Dio Returns Live 1

Therefore, what we have are great musicians, great material and a great reason to come together... what's not to like? The problem is the use of a hologram has come under criticism for not doing the great man justice. The sources behind the show, including Dio's wife Wendy, have only good intentions towards the late, great man and musicians involved in the show (such as Goldy) have expressed how Dio was like a father to them, a godfather perhaps and so there's no doubt that the best motivations are behind this show. The fact is a hologram is never going to replace Dio the man, statuesque in both voice and persona, and so it is not surprising that the hologram is the most disappointing part of this performance.

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However, to judge this show by the hologram alone is a disservice to the fabulous musicians delivering these Dio, Black Sabbath and Rainbow classics. The voices of Owens and Logan are titanic. I could not think of anyone who could do a better job if Dio himself is not available, and there is no doubt that we see rip-roaring versions of the 'King Of Rock 'N' Roll' and 'Mob Rules' before the hologram makes an appearance. It's great to hear Dio's voice again, but frankly (and unsurprisingly) the real live performances of the superb vocalists on stage are much preferable to me than listening to a recorded voice, no matter how great, when I could do that anytime in my own home. I could be imagining it, but I think Goldy particularly appears super conscious on stage that (again unsurprisingly) as a replacement for the great man, the show has fallen short.

Dio Returns Live 3

That all said, I am super pleased I got an opportunity to come and see this show which, although in its infancy technology wise, must be a growing phenomenon in a world where so many irreplaceable legends are shuffling off the mortal coil. I left with the thought I was super glad I was present at the first of these type of performances, and the chance to also see some Heavy Metal greats on stage made this well worth the visit. Nothing is going to replace Ronnie James Dio himself, and once you're over that there is no reason why you won't have a great time at this show.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

Dio Returns Live 4

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