Sub- header

Sub- header

Monday, 17 May 2010

Ronnie James Dio R.I.P.

A very sad day today when I heard the belated news that one of my musical heroes, Ronnie James Dio (ex- Rainbow, Dio, Heaven & Hell) finally succumbed to stomach cancer and died at 7.45am yesterday. I often play his music on the drive to a twitch.
Although, small in stature, Ronnie was a true giant of rock, one of rock's true gentlemen, with a very distinctive and almost operatic voice with an extremely diverse range. He crafted 3 exceptional classic rock albums in Rainbow "Rising", Black Sabbath's "Heaven & Hell & Dio's "Holy Diver" as well as making many other fine albums too.
My own memories of him are from the 10 concerts I was privileged enough to attend. 7 with Dio, 2 with Heaven & Hell and 1 with Deep Purple.
He always gave 110%, a true icon of cool (an overused word this days but totally valid here) and in concert it showcased his exceptional voice, his showmanship and rapport with the fans to the full. 
My first Dio concert was 1983's "The Last in Line" tour at Ipswich Gaumont, where I drove back from a fantastic show on my motorbike to Lowestoft, frozen solid one winter's evening with just a parking light for illuminating the road ahead as the main beam bulb had blown! 
I remember Ronnie's great showmanship in fighting Dragons as part of the impressive stage show at "The Sacred Heart" tour at Hammersmith Odeon a few years later and guesting with Deep Purple at the Royal Albert Hall recreating their Philharmonic album in 30 years on in 1999, all precious memories.
The hairs on the back of my neck, always stood up when he sang Rainbow classics such as "Man on the Silver Mountain" "Stargazer" or "Gates of Babylon" and my last memories were of the immense energy and dynamism he showed 3 years ago as he bestrode the stage on the "Heaven & Hell" tour at Wembley Arena, where again his vocal talents were undiminished, despite him approaching his mid- sixties. Hopes of him teaming up again with guitar legend (and in my opinion, best guitarist on the planet) Ritchie Blackmore (ex- Deep Purple, Rainbow) and recreating the legendary "Rainbow Rising" tour are now finally dashed.  A true legend, an exceptional, but modest talent who will be very sadly missed. His musical legacy lives on.

No comments: