Dan Ruth - Among the Collectors

Dan Ruth - Among the Collectors

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Someone Stopped the Fair

One of the greatest vocalists in the extremely short history of Classic Heavy Metal passed on this morning. As his own lyric taunts us, Ronnie James Dio now knows if he was evil or divine. As a fan of Mr. Dio, I can still say with great conviction that he was both. Possessing a voice that could have only been God-given, for he always swore that he had no vocal training outside playing the trumpet, Ronnie James Dio was a complete and total showman. His voice prowled and his stage moves could almost have been described as brutally ostentatious. Two summers ago, I was finally able to see Dio, with Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, at Jones Beach. I remembered being less-than thrilled about the venue and the ridiculous stagecraft of two absurd, over-sized foam rubber gargoyles that the stagehands had placed next to the drum kit. I hate sitting down during a metal show and I hate cheep theatrics but regardless of the venue and the gargoyles, Dio soared. Even though the former members of Black Sabbath had chosen a subdued play list, which included no up-tempo metal songs, it was still Ronnie James Dio, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi for God’s sake. So, a gracious Ronnie James Dio treated us to his music, tossed a few beach balls into the crowd with a wisp of his bell sleeve shirt and gave it his all. That night was the first and only time I ever saw Ronnie James Dio live. The first time I heard that voice however, was most certainly more divine in nature and was over thirty years ago. The evil? I don’t talk about it. . .often.

I don’t always get this reflective and sad when rock stars pass on, but Ronnie James Dio is the first of his kind. I feel that my generation’s rock icons are suddenly loosing the battle right along with him. His essence of inspiration lingers on, even though the reality of the situation remains both steadfast and terrifying. In the words of a close friend, “they all start to drop now.” I know the words are true and we are all getting old. Ronnie is the first of the Metal giants to fall upon the sword and of course there will be others, but for right now, it’s only right to celebrate Ronnie the performer and yes the pool player, the dragon-slayer, and Ronnie, who loved to sign autographs. This act alone speaks volumes about him and shows how much he adored reaching out to people he loved. As I suspected, today sellers on Ebay have doubled, even tripled their prices on signed Ronnie James Dio memorabilia. It’s as old as time itself, but I choose not to make money over this sad occasion. I chose to celebrate instead. So I’m spending my night listening to Ronnie James Dio-Ronnie with Rainbow, Ronnie with Sabbath and Ronnie with Dio. I’ve lit a little candle and placed a picture next to my flowers that I actually bought on Sunday. Too bad they ended up having to play a duel role in my final farewell to one of my favorite rock singers.

“So live for today
Tomorrow never comes
Die young, die young
Can't you see the writing in the air?
Die young, gonna die young
Someone stopped the fair.”

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