On May 16th 2015 I attended the Memorial Event to celebrate the life of the late legendary rock singer Ronnie James Dio. We lost him to cancer on May 16th, 2010. He was a major influence of so many of our contemporary rock singers of the day. He also invented the heavy metal rock horns that we all use (I’m so guilty of that, lol).
Ronnie was a major supporter of various charities while he was alive so it was no surprise that his Stand Up and Shout Cancer Foundation founded and ran by his wife Wendy Dio has raised money for cancer research.
This year Dio’s memorial event was held at the Forrest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills. I decide to attend at the last minute when a friend sent me a text me to see if I was attending. I really hadn’t planned on it but since I was actually having lunch near the event so I decided to check it out and I’m so glad I did.
When I arrived I had no idea what to expect but immediately noticed that there were so many cars parked outside the theater at the cemetery. When we drove up near the building a security guy instructed me where to park which was way down the hill from the venue. Luckily they had people with golf carts shuttling attendees from their cars up to the event. Once we were shuttled up to the theater we checked in and were given wristbands. The event was free admission and open to the public.
After checking in, they had a tent with some cool RJD merchandise (all the proceeds went to support Ronnie’s Stand Up and Shout Foundation). Once we entered the lobby there were lots of displays with cool Ronnie memorabilia and there were free programs for all attendees to show including performances and speakers.
After running into a few friends in the lobby and chatting for a few while watching the video screens in the lobby of the proceedings on stage. We quickly went inside and managed to get some seats. The place was truly packed to the hilt with friends and fans of Mr Dio. Several of Ronnie’s friends came up and spoke and told great stories about Ronnie and there were several great live performances of Ronnie’s songs from his long music career. The event’s MC was radio DJ and now the host of VH-1’s The Metal Show, Eddie Trunk. Eddie was a long time friend of Ronnie’s and he did a great job of hosting the event. There were also cool video snippets from friends and fans of what Ronnie meant to them.
It was really a great event and goes to really show the impact that Ronnie had on his fans and what he meant to the entire Metal Community. From all accounts he was a great human being and really cared for his friends and fans. The event was one of several events through the weekend to celebrate Ronnie’s life and to raise money for his foundation. I finished off the day by paying my respects to Ronnie’s grave site just down the hill from the theater. Ronnie’s Stand Up and Shout foundation does events all year round including the events in Hollywood in May on the anniversary of his passing. If you were a fan of Ronnie’s, or you just would like to help beat cancer, check out the foundation by going to www.diocancerfund.org.