Long Live Rock n’ Roll ~ Long Live Ronnie James DIO!

Written by on October 20, 2011 in Live Reviews, October 20, 2011 - Comments Off on Long Live Rock n’ Roll ~ Long Live Ronnie James DIO!

DIO Disciples

Dio Disciples“This is not a tribute band…” said drummer, Simon Wright, while speaking about the new act, “DIO Disciples”.  “It’s essentially a celebration of Ronnie’s life”. DIO Disciples’ members are all indeed, true devotees of the late, great Ronnie James Dio. Original DIO players; Simon Wright on drums, Rudy Sarzo on bass, Craig Goldy, guitar, Scott Warren, keyboards and the interesting decision to incorporate not one, but two vocalists; Tim “Ripper” Owens (Iced Earth, Judas Priest) and Toby Jepson (Little Angel, Fastway).

The legendary hard-hitter, Simon Wright, met with AAM in person to discuss DIO Disciples and their vision. “After Ronnie passed away last year, his close friends/band-mates realized not only how much we missed our dear friend, but also playing the music that we had played together for so long, and knew so well”. Their mission was to keep Ronnie’s memory alive through his much-loved music for his dedicated fans.  After receiving Wendy Dio’s blessing, they decided to put the act together. Simon stressed, “It was very important that this project was left in the right hands to properly preserve Ronnie James Dio’s legend and honor his music from the heart.”

Over the summer, they toured Europe, Russia, Finland, England, Germany, and Spain, playing music from Dio’s full library of epic albums dating back to Holy Diver. How interesting to watch the initial reaction of the audience at the Belgium show (on U-Tube). It was transparent that the band was concerned of the audience’s response. A sea of metal-heads obviously skeptical, even leery at first, until DIO Disciples opened with a heartfelt, moving rendition of Catch The Rainbow. Suddenly, doubtful faces throughout the crowd instantly lit up and began to sing along. Clearly, they were incredibly stirred by the song, some with tears in their eyes. Toby engages the crowd like nobody’s business. When Toby and Tim took on the endeavor as touring members of DIO Disciples, they knew some fans may be apprehensive, however, DIO followers can at least take solace in knowing that the front-men have the vocal chops to take on hits like The Last In Line and Stand up and Shout. The two singers seem to play off each other, switching verses and songs, very much keeping their own definitive styles – while still managing to embody the songs with respect and finesse. While Simon solidly ‘chopped wood,’ Craig Goldy and Rudy Sarzo did what they do best and played the familiar heavy riffs as powerfully as ever, proving they have the skills and the lasting power. The songs seem just as fresh and relevant today as they were when originally recorded.

Everyone at the amphitheatre had ‘horn’s up,’ chanting and bouncing up and down, in unison to Holy Diver. Fans reached to the sky and belted out the lyrics to Heaven and Hell, and by Neon Nights, the entire audience was clapping overhead, in time. Expressions on the band member’s faces were a bittersweet mixture of happiness and some grief, understandably so. Simon added “Even with the expected controversy, we really felt we were doing the right thing. We put together something that we felt was purely extraordinary.” It’s clear their audiences agree. Simon went on to explain how they were really more of a family than a band. He described Ronnie’s relationships with them as more of a father or a brother figure to each of them. One can only imagine what a cathartic experience this must be for the Disciples to play this music again. Yet, they played powerfully, not sympathetically – they seem very careful not to eulogize, but instead have the audience raise their glasses in celebration to the extraordinary life of Ronnie James Dio, especially during their closing song, We Rock!

Currently, DIO Disciples are touring the states and headed west, with new dates to be announced soon. DIO Disciples showcase a great overview of what can only be called an illustrious career. Given the fact that DIO had arguably some of the most influential music in the world of metal, this is a must-see for any DIO aficionados or any lovers of hard rock/metal – period. They plan to feature some exciting surprise guests – expect to be blown away!


  1. Stand Up and Shout
  2. Holy Diver
  3. Don’t Talk To Strangers
  4. The Shed/Kill The King
  5. Egypt
  6. Catch The Rainbow/Stargazer
  7. Mob Rules
  8. Magica Theme/Lord of the Last Day/All The Fools Sailed Away
  9. The Last in Line
  10. Long live Rock n’ Roll/Man On The Silver Mountain/Heaven and Hell
  11. Rainbow in the Dark
  12. We Rock