Dio Returns @ O2 Academy Islington in London, UK
Review & Photography by: Guy Hurst
Pioneer of the devil horns and an underdog rock god in his own right, Dio returned to London for a one night performance, bringing the noise to a packed out venue at the O2 Academy Islington. The only catch with this event; Dio’s appearance is in pure hologram form due to his passing back in 2010. Although controversial by nature, the room was electric with energy as Dio’s full band were in effect with huge vocals from Tim ‘The Ripper’ Owens and Oni Logan alongside obvious live recording vocals from Dio himself. The aptly named tour ‘Dio Returns’ is the first of its kind due to the majority of performances taking place in smaller, more intimate venues. Similar and more notable hologram performances have been a one-time, major festival appearances, like with Tupac featuring at Coachella back in 2012.
Hearing a fresh take on tunes ranging way back from Dio’s Rainbow and Black Sabbath days, you get the entire Dio experience. Pumping out hugely recognisable classics such as Heaven and Hell, The Mob Rules, Rainbow in the Dark, E5150, Holy Diver and many more of Dio’s greatest hits, is something I’m sure many fans thought they’d never get to experience in a live setting ever again, but luckily the tour has a huge amount of dates lined up across the world. This unique experience had the entire room mesmerised, but also singing along as if Dio himself was in the room, on stage, there in-person.
The hologram itself leaves a lot to be desired if you were to study and view every minor detail and disclaimer; it’s not every song where he makes an appearance to supply the vocals. However there’s certain things with this method of performance that really add the ‘Dio factor’ that can only be achieved via hologram. For example; Dio singing while flames are burning around him, or the occasional demon coming up beside him for those more intense lyrics. If you’re open to something new, exciting, one-of-a-kind and spectacular while also getting your socks blown off from solo after solo from majestic guitarist Craig Goldy, you’re in for a great evening.