Metal Injection’s Johnny Orlando Jr. attended the Dio memorial service at the Hall Of Liberty at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in California on Sunday, May 30 and filed a special report. He spoke with many Dio fans who discussed what the legendary heavy metal singer meant to them. Orlando also talked to one member of the Westboro Baptist Church, a fringe Christian congregation from Kansas, which held a protest 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-worshipper” and claiming he was “residing in hell.”
Also available is a six-minute report from the memorial service produced, directed and edited by Sean Carnage for SeanCarnage.com.
More than 1,200 fans attended the public memorial service for Dio, who died of stomach cancer at the age of 67 two weeks earlier. The service, held at the Hall Of Liberty at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, featured performances by QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate, former DEEP PURPLE bassist Glenn Hughes, ANTHRAX vocalist Joey Belladonna and others. There were also personal tributes from Ronnie’s family members, bandmates and business associates, including his wife and manager Wendy and his son Dan Padovona, who warned everyone to take care of themselves and get screened early for cancer, saying, “(Don’t) make the same mistake my dad made.”
According to the Associated Press, hundreds more gathered in the scorching heat outside the auditorium to watch the memorial on monitors.
Dio, regarded as one of metal’s finest and most influential voices, sang with BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW and his own self-named band.
Dio’s cousin David “Rock” Feinstein, who played with him in the band ELF, told the attendees, “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.”
A planned protest at the Dio memorial by the fringe Christian congregation of Kansas’ Westboro Baptist Church was, according to one eyewitness, “cordoned off outside of Forest Lawn grounds proper and were small in number with an at least equal number of counter-protesters.”
Meanwhile, two major tribute concerts are in the works to celebrate Dio’s life and music. The gigs, called the Ronnie James Dio “Stand Up And Shout” Memorial Concerts, will take place in London and Los Angeles this fall. A list of performers has yet to be determined.
There are also plans to hold annual events in the years to follow to honor Dio’s memory and to raise money for cancer awareness and support.