Lita Ford, Dio Disciples, Eddie Money + More Play Ride for Ronnie James Dio Concert
A wonderful weekend of festivities honoring the memory of the late Ronnie James Dio came to a conclusion on Sunday (May 17) in the San Fernando Valley of the Los Angeles area with a motorcycle rally, barbecue and concert.
The day started with bikers lining up at the Harley-Davidson of Glendale and preparing to make the ride to Encino where a majority of the day's festivities would take place at the Los Encinos Park. Lita Ford, Sean McNabb and Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund founder Wendy Dio were among those making the ride on a mostly overcast morning.
Upon entering the park, there were a number of vendors on hand, a merchandise area with proceeds from items sold going to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, an informational booth, food and drinks and a giant screen behind the concert stage showing Dio performances in between acts. There was also a fly-over held in Ronnie's honor later in the afternoon. And in addition to the day's performances, funds were raised through auctions of a signed Dio guitar featuring the signatures of many of those who appeared at the weekend's events and a photo book that also featured a wealth of rock autographs. With just those two items alone, over $8,000 was raised for cancer research.
As for the performances, Others got the day off to a blistering start with a brief set. They were followed to the stage by Dio Disciples, who played the longest set of the day, rocking such standouts as "Holy Diver," "Stand Up and Shout," "The Last in Line," "Long Live Rock and Roll," "Man on the Silver Mountain" and the set-closing "Heaven and Hell." The group, which sports such Dio alums as Craig Goldy, Simon Wright and Scott Warren, also features guitarist Bjorn Englen and the powerhouse vocal pairing of Joe Retta and Oni Logan. Retta and Logan trade off songs and occasionally share vocals, all while taking great care of Dio's legacy. At the end of their set, the fans in attendance joined Logan in a "Dio, Dio, Dio" chant.
Unfortunately, Gabbie Rae's appearance did not go off as planned as the vocalist was ailing, but Lita Ford, who was already on hand from the morning's motorcycle rally, stepped up to fill the void. She put together an all-star lineup with her bassist Marty O'Brien and Dio's Rowan Robertson flanking her, while Vinny Appice sat in on drums for a rocking rendition of "Kiss Me Deadly."
Shortly after, Hellion's Ann Boleyn took the stage with her own all-star lineup. Reprising her rendition of "Sign of the Southern Cross" that she performed a day earlier at the Ronnie James Dio public memorial, Boleyn powered through the track with Sean McNabb, Goldy, Warren and Vinny Appice sitting in.
The biggest name on the bill was rock vet Eddie Money, a longtime friend of Ronnie's who delivered an energetic four-song set featuring "Two Tickets to Paradise," "No Control," "We Should Be Sleeping" and "Shakin'." The rocker made it a family affair, as some of his kids served as members of his band. After the performance, Money told us, "You know Ronnie Dio and I, we go way back together. He's one of my favorite singers -- Black Sabbath, Rainbow. His wife and mine are very good friends. And this is great. They've raised over a million dollars for cancer." And while Money's music is more rock than metal, he did express his love for metal music and the community.
The vocalist added about the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, "It's a great organization and I really wanna thank everyone who took some money out of their pockets and I love that they've raise all this money ... I just wish Ronnie was here. He would have loved this. He really would."
Finishing out the day's performances was DC4, the group featuring Armored Saint's Shawn, Jeff and Matt Duncan, along with Dio's Rowan Robertson as they delivered a hard-hitting set.
Check out our photo gallery from all of Sunday's Ride for Ronnie festivities below.
Ride for Ronnie Motorcycle Rally
Ann Boleyn and Friends
Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund Auctions + Fly Over