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Dio Disciples' return will be vastly different than South Texas Rock Fest gig

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The group formed as a tribute to, and celebration of, the music of the late Ronnie James Dio will be returning to San Antonio next month. And there will be several aspects of the show worth keeping an eye on.

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Dio Disciples confirmed on New Year's Eve the Dec. 27 announcement by Backstage Live that it will play in San Antonio on Thursday, Feb. 13, adjacent to BSL at the Tequila Rock Bar. Doors open at 8 p.m., and special guest will be JessiKill. Tickets go on sale Jan. 10 for $20-$25 at all H-E-B stores and etix.com.

Dio, the legendary vocalist of Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven And Hell and of course his solo career, lost his battle with stomach cancer in a Houston medical center May 16, 2010. Several months later, Dio Disciples formed with the blessing of Dio's widow and manager Wendy Dio.

The group, comprised mainly of Dio's former bandmates with guest vocalists, wasn't meant to have a singular lineup throughout its existence given that many heavy metal singers want to take part. Therein lies one of three major things to watch for at the gig:

  • The six-member group that last played in San Antonio as part of the South Texas Rock Fest on Oct. 8, 2011, featured former Dio sidekicks Craig Goldy on guitar, Scott Warren (keyboards), Rudy Sarzo on bass and drummer Simon Wright. The vocal duties were handled by Tim "Ripper" Owens and Toby Jepson. Half of those guys, including both vocalists, are out of the band today. With Owens and Jepson concentrating on their solo careers, Lynch Mob singer Oni Logan will split vocals with Mark Boals, who is best known for his work on a few of Yngwie Malmsteen's albums: 1986's Trilogy, 1999's Alchemy and 2000's War to End All Wars. Boals and his band Ring of Fire will release Battle of Leningrad on Jan. 28 via Frontiers Records. Sarzo is no longer on bass, having been replaced by Bjorn Englen, who also plays with Boals in Soul Sign. Sarzo and Wright spent last spring playing with Geoff Tate's Queensryche, including a Siesta Fest gig April 26, 2012, at HemisFair Park (SAMME's coverage in blue at bottom). Curiously enough, it's not clear if Sarzo's participation in that band is the reason he is no longer in Dio Disciples given that Wright does remain with DD.
  • The show is scheduled for Tequila Rock Bar as of now because of a temporary scheduling "hold" on Backstage Live by Din Productions. Given that Dio Disciples played before approximately 4,000 fans at the STRF at Sunken Gardens, a major problem could be in store if they're forced to play inside a room that barely holds 50 people. Furthermore, the stage at the Tequila barely fits 4-5 musicians. With Dio Disciples being a six-piece, don't be surprised if Warren is forced to play keyboards off to the side. Fans and the band undoubtedly are hoping the hold is lifted come Feb. 13 and that the show takes place inside the 1,200 capacity Backstage Live.
  • Dio Disciples filmed the Sunken Gardens performance (see slideshow at top) for a potential DVD that has not been released. The SAMME interviewed Owens before he hit the stage that night (watch here), and after our chat, he shared that he was not certain if the footage would be used. After Queensryche's show last spring, I asked Wright for an update. While offering that it was just a matter of getting band members together to discuss the DVD, he asked the SAMME to "please spread the word" about it. Sounds like something definitely worth following up on at next month's gig.

The San Antonio show kicks off a brief U.S. swing for Dio Disciples. Here are the dates:

  • Feb. 13: Tequila Rock Bar, San Antonio
  • Feb. 14: The Rail Club, Fort Worth
  • Feb. 15: The Concert Pub North, Houston
  • Feb. 21: Count's Vamp'd, Las Vegas
  • Feb. 22: Brick By Brick, San Diego
  • March 29-April 2: Monsters of Rock Cruise, Miami

For more of the SAMME's related Dio coverage, click on the "Suggested" links in blue below.

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