Remember when a hologram of late heavy metal legendary singer Ronnie James Dio set out on a world tour, backed by musicians who played with him? Well, there will be more of that in 2019. Billboard is reporting that Eyellusion, the hologram company behind touring shows for Ronnie James Dio, Frank Zappa and pianist Glenn Gould, has signed with the Agency for the Performing Arts for more than 100 Dio Returns shows in 2019. Also appearing are former Judas Priest singer Tim “Ripper” Owens and ex-Lynch Mob frontman Oni Logan.
Launched in 2015 by Jeff Pezzuti with partners that include Zappa’s son Ahmet Zappa and Dio’s widow Wendy Dio, Eyellusion first presented the Dio hologram at Wacken music festival in Germany and then made the U.S. premiere at the Pollstar Awards in 2017 in Los Angeles.
“That’s actually where I met Steve Martin and we began talking about touring plans for Dio,” which is set to hit over a 100 cities in 2019 with an accompanying live five-person band, a first in live music.
“The big question when we first toured Dio through Europe was ‘Is anyone actually going to show up?'” Pezzuti tells Billboard. “We sold out the last three shows in Europe and we did really, really well. We’re such believers in what we were doing and we’re all such massive fans – in my sixth grade class picture, I’m wearing a Dio shirt, so you can imagine taking this all the way across the finish line has been a dream come true.”
Dio Returns hits the road in April and Eyellusion is also planning a tour for Zappa:
“The Zappa show is going to set the bar for everything and totally blow everything else out of the water. It is the most incredible visual show that’s ever been assembled and every song has a different look and feel. It’s going to be an absolute mind fuck, in a good way.”