Dio DisciplesDio Disciples bring down the House of Blues
By Naughty Mickie  notymickie@gmail.com
Photos by Dean Lee

One of the hottest tickets on tour currently is Dio Disciples. The group is an all-star tribute band of sorts, not impersonating Ronnie James Dio, but rather honoring him through his music. The band is a mix of Dio's players, guitarist Craig Goldy, keyboardist Scott Warren and drummer Simon Wright, with Bjorn Englen (Yngwie Malmsteen/Quiet Riot) on bass and two vocalists, Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest/Iced Earth) and Oni Logan (Lynch Mob). Yes, you read that right, it takes two well-versed singers to handle what Dio did alone-- and they do it very well.

Much of the set was upbeat with songs like "The Mob Rules" and "Stand Up and Shout," which went over well with the crowd. Englen was quickly accepted by the audience, as were Owens and Logan, as they stepped into their places with the needed musicianship and, more importantly, the right attitudes. It was amazing how seamlessly the two singers traded off during some of the tunes, with Owens taking the harsher parts and Logan vocalizing the softer pieces, as well as sometimes the both singing together for maximum effect.

Dio Disciples worked through a nice swath of Dio's repertoire, sometimes with a medley, other times the full song. The choices on what to perform must have been hard, as Dio has so much memorable material, but I feel that they served him well and satisfied the fans too.

The band's friendship shined on stage, as they would flash smiles at each other during the songs and ventured from their part of the stage to "hang out" with another member. Their camaraderie was infectious, making for a calm, yet still excited crowd. The audience often sang along and, if there was a moment of silence between tunes, they began chanting "Dio, Dio, Dio." In turn, Owens and Logan both remarked on how they hoped to honor Dio.

One of the most moving moments of the evening was during "Catch the Rainbow." A quiet song, it featured Warren's graceful key work and Logan's pipes. Logan, with his looks and movements, plus tone and pitch-perfect voice seemed to channel Dio. It was eerie and beautiful all in one and I was left quite teary-eyed.

I'm not sure how long Dio Disciples will circle the globe on tour, as it has to be emotionally wearing to continue performing the music of their fallen leader. But in many ways, the concerts are cathartic. Many fans didn't have a proper way to say goodbye to Dio when he passed away in 2010 and this may provide some needed solace. I hope they will come around a few more times before putting his memory to rest and, as they do, I would like to believe that Dio himself is looking down from heaven on the band as they play and smiling.

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