Dio guitarist Craig Goldy has once again spoken up in defense of the world tour featuring a hologram of late singer Ronnie James Dio. He’s currently performing on the Dio Returns road trip, which brings the band leader back via digital projections while the living musicians play along.

Recently posted video clips (like the one below) triggered a series of negative comments, with some fans feeling that the effect was disappointing and others calling it “creepy.” Goldy – who previously admitted to struggling during early rehearsals, and who’s also insisted the hologram tour is a worthwhile endeavor – responded to a Facebook comment from a journalist calling on him to “put an end to this s--- show.”

“You've missed the whole point,” the guitarist wrote (via Blabbermouth). “It’s your way that disrespects Ronnie, and you think it’s what I’m doing that disrespects Ronnie.” He went on to say that he’d seen fans enjoying the emotional experience of the show in Warsaw on Dec. 9, and when he met some of them after the performance, their mutual affection for Dio and his music meant that “the hologram and the band became pointless. … It was no longer about anything other than what was in our hearts, and that transcended past any bulls--- like this.”

Goldy argued that those who’d seen only video clips had missed out on key elements of the experience. “When I got a chance to go out onto the floor and talk with the fans, they were sooooo happy and emotional, kind, appreciative, with only love in their hearts because they gave me a chance to face them, talk to them, and they could see and hear for themselves the love we shared together for Ronnie," he noted.

“One guy read my posts and came just to see if once he met me if I was full of s---, and he too was full of apprehension and disagreement about the hologram," Goldy continued. "But once he saw the whole concert and the heart of those onstage, the pumping PA equipment, and was able to look me in the eye and say, 'I came here to see if you were full of s---,' and instead ended up hugging me because he was so overwhelmed by the true spirit behind and within this thing. This is something that just simply cannot be translated over a computer screen on YouTube.”

Goldy accepted that some people would never be in favor of the hologram show, and revealed that he’d found himself at odds with “one of Ronnie’s most treasured friends.” “We had a mutual bond – our love for Ronnie – and our disagreements did not leave a single scratch on our friendship," he explained. "That is what hurts the most, because every fan to Ronnie were his friends and family, and if I can have a civilized conversation with the man Ronnie had the utmost respect and love for, who also dislikes the idea of the hologram, to me, that is a conversation that does not disrespect Ronnie. Ronnie loved us both, and we both had a special connection to him, but we were on opposite sides of this subject matter, and we simply talked it through without any words like ‘whore’ thrown around.”

In another attempt to explain his motives to those who disagreed with him, Goldy pointed out that “[many people understand the simplicity of this. It’s not anything other than a grand gesture with the lights from the same gifted man who was the lighting director on the Sacred Heart and Dream Evil tours [of the ‘80s], the images on the two screens on each side of the stage and only a handful of songs done with the hologram.” Other parts of the show are fronted by former Judas Priest and Iced Earth singer Tim "Ripper" Owens.

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