RONNIE JAMES DIO's Public Memorial Service: First Photos, Video Footage - May 30, 2010
The first fan-filmed video footage from Ronnie James Dio's public memorial service — which was held this afternoon (Sunday, May 30) at the Hall Of Liberty at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, in Los Angeles — can be viewed below.
More than 1,200 fans attended the event, which featured performances by Geoff Tate (QUEENSRŸCHE), Glenn Hughes (BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE), Paul Shortino (QUIET RIOT, ROUGH CUTT), Joey Belladonna (ANTHRAX), John Payne (ASIA), Oni Logan (LYNCH MOB), Claude Schnell (DIO) and Scott Warren (HEAVEN & HELL, DIO), along with personal tributes from Ronnie's family members, bandmates and business associates. According to the Associated Press, hundreds more gathered in the scorching heat outside the auditorium to watch monitors of the proceedings.
"He touched all of us with his music and his message and his magic," said David "Rock" Feinstein, Dio's cousin and ELF bandmate. "I know that Ronnie truly loved all of you. He had a great appreciation for your loyalty. I'm talking about all you out there, all the fans."
According to the Associated Press, Dio's son, Dan Padavona, cautioned the memorial crowd to be screened regularly by a doctor and take care of themselves, something he said his father did not do.
"I beg you not to make the same mistake my dad made," said Padavona. "For dad, the show always had to go on. He ignored the warning signs for years, and all along the cancer was growing and mutating from something that was probably easily defeatable into a monster which even Dio couldn't slay."
"He had that magic," remembered Willie Fyfe, Dio's longtime personal assistant. "He always called it magic. Once he had a crowd in his hands, that's where they stayed until it was time to go, then he'd give them back, and walk off and do his thing. Bless him. He's still doing that now, and the guy is in a coffin."
It has now been confirmed that two major concerts are being planned to celebrate the life of the late Ronnie James Dio.
The gigs — dubbed Ronnie James Dio "Stand Up And Shout" Memorial Concerts — will take place in London and Los Angeles in the fall. Annual concerts will then be held in the years to follow.
Ronnie James Dio's widow, Wendy Dio, recently asked fans to ignore a protest by members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a fringe Christian congregation from Kansas, at Dio's public memorial service. The far right church announced its plans shortly after Dio's death, calling the late metal vocalist a "Satan-worshiper" and claiming he was "residing in hell."
As news of the group's protest began to spread online, Wendy Dio posted a message saying, "Ronnie hates prejudice and violence. We need to turn the other cheek on these people that only know how to hate someone they didn't know. We only know how to love someone we know!"
Westboro Baptist Church is led by "minister" Fred Phelps, who has previously claimed that terrorist attacks and natural disasters are God's revenge for a society that tolerates homosexuality.
The church feels that they "have the duty to protest and picket at certain events, including funerals, to promote their religious message."
Members of the church have staged demonstrations at funerals of fallen soldiers.
Dio, who fronted BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW and his own band, died on May 16 from stomach cancer at the age of 67.
Ronnie James Dio's casket (photo credit: Paul Legerski):