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High Voltage farewell to Ronnie James Dio

Staffordshire | | Published:

Midlands rock stars Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Glenn Hughes helped pay an emotional farewell to heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio at the inaugural High Voltage classic rock festival in London.

High Voltage festival

Victoria Park, London

Concert review and photos by Ian Harvey

Midlands rock stars Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Glenn Hughes helped pay an emotional farewell to heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio at the inaugural High Voltage classic rock festival in London.

Black Sabbath founder members Iommi and Butler, from Birmingham, were joined by Cannock-born Hughes as well as Norwegian singer Jorn Lande, in the tribute to Dio, the former Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath and Rainbow singer.

Check out our High Voltage festival photo gallery to the right

Dio, who died from cancer in May, had been due to perform at the weekend event.

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Heaven and Hell recruited Hughes and Lande to share Dio's vocal duties, in a tribute that was also intended to promote the Ronnie James Dio "Stand Up And Shout" cancer charity.

Dio's wife, Wendy, spoke movingly at the event. "My dear Ronnie so much wanted to be here," she said in a faltering voice, as she urged fans to support the charity.

The band played a gloriously brutal set that culminated in Hughes and Lande trading lines in the final two numbers, Heaven and Hell and Neon Nights.

Moments after coming off stage, Hughes revealed exclusively to the Express & Star that there will be a tribute album, "with some mega stars", to raise funds for the charity, as well as a major show in Los Angeles in March.

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"Ronnie was more than a musician friend to me. He was a really good friend," said Hughes.

"Tonight I got to sing the songs that I saw him write. I was around when he got the gig in Black Sabbath.

"It's been a very emotional week for us all. We're all grieving and we wanted to come here and celebrate his life . . . the majestical magic of Ronnie. He was a dear, dear man."

The Midlands was also represented by Magnum and The Quireboys at the two-day festival.

Magnum, whose members come from Wolverhampton, Aldridge, Burntwood and Tamworth, took to the Prog stage on Sunday in a set which leaned heavily on their more recent material but which ended with the title track from their 1978 debut Kingdom of Madness.

The Quireboys started proceedings on the main stage on Sunday, their Geordie frontman Spike, who now lives in Wolverhampton, whipping up the crowd as the band got the day off to the perfect feelgood start.

Former member Guy Bailey, from Staffordshire, came on as a special guest as they launched into their hit 7 O'Clock.

Other bands appearing at the festival included Saturday night headliners ZZ Top and the reformed Emerson Lake and Palmer, who closed the event on Sunday.

There were also appearances by Foreigner, UFO, Marillion, Def Leppard's frontman Joe Elliott, Ian Hunter, Gary Moore, Saxon, Black Label Society, Down and Uriah Heep among many more.

Were you at High Voltage? What were your highlights? Let us know in the comment box below.

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