It’s been another tough year for the rock community. It’s only August, and already 2017 has claimed the lives of legendary rockers like Gregg Allman and Chuck Berry, as well as alternative icons that include Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.
As we know all too well, fans simply don’t stop worshipping their rock idols, even after they’ve left this earth. Many music stars – notably Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson – have raked in more cash posthumously than they did when they were still alive.
But now, hardcore fanatics can do more than just purchase old albums, CDs, and memorabilia on eBay. Thanks to technology, they can still see their favorites in concert – that is their hologram versions.
At least that’s the working theory behind the upcoming Ronnie James Dio suitably called “Dio Returns.” The iconic rocker who gained fame for his vocals in Rainbow and later Black Sabbath passed away after a bout with stomach cancer back in 2010.
This new tour concept kicks off in Europe and will feature Dio (his hologram that is), along with a backup band of all-star players.
This is not the first time that holograms have been featured in live performances. Back in 2012, we blogged about a Tupac Shakur hologram performing with Snoop Dogg at Coachella. And a hologram version of Michael Jackson performed at the Billboard Music Awards two years later.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that an entire tour is being built around a Ronnie James Dio digital apparition. His wife, Wendy, told Rolling Stone “Ronnie was always wanting to experiment with new stage ideas and was a big Disney fan. With this said, I am sure he is giving us his blessing with this hologram project.”
According to Blabbermouth.net, a company called Eyellusion has created the hologram technology for the tour. According to CEO/founder Jeff Pezzuti, “We are creating a completely new hologram of Ronnie, designing an amazing light show and continuing to add more dates around the world to make sure that as many fans as possible get an opportunity to take part in this experience.” They’re looking to book 80-100 gigs for “Dio Returns.”
Interestingly, Wendy Dio is also involved in a bizarre trademark dispute with KISS’ Gene Simmons. The issue? Who was first to use the devil horns hand gesture. The symbol is displayed prominently on the “Dio Returns” artwork displayed at the top of this post.
Whether fans take to this virtual concept of seeing a dead rock star perform live remains to be seen, but you have to believe the families of a number of deceased music superstars will be paying close attention to those European arena box office numbers starting this fall. Live entertainment and the concert experience is changing, as technology takes a more prominent role in performance.
Could this pave the way for Elvis, the Doors, Pavorotti, and Sinatra hologram tours? Or will it be perceived more like Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean?”
Wendy Dio thinks fans will be happy to pay to see Ronnie James one more time. The tour kicks off (so to speak) in Helsinki, Finland on November 30th.
Here’s the Dio hologram appearing at the Pollstar Awards earlier this year.
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