The first time I saw Dio was in 1998 at the Birch Hill in Old Bridge, NJ. It was about 2 hours away from where we lived, and knew there was no real way I could feasibly get there. I remember asking my dad every day if we could go, as far fetched as it seemed, I kept bugging him and he kept saying no. Then the day of the concert, I had almost given up all hope, my dad came home from work and casually says to me - Wanna go see Dio tonight? So off we went! This was also my first time going to the Birch Hill, which became my favorite club for many years after that night. I was front row and center for the Dio concert. I could not believe how close I was to such a legend. I had my Holy Diver CD cover with me, and during the show I held it out like a dork with a sharpie and asked Dio to sign it for me, while he was performing. He laughed and made a gesture that he was kinda busy at the moment. So here I thought I just pissed him off, then in between songs, he ran over to me and asked if he could sign my CD. I was shocked, and honored. What a great guy.
During the Magica tour, same club, Birch Hill, Dio had just given an amazing performance of the entire Magica album, plus more. Turns out Dio was sick that night. I was waiting for him outside the bus, but he didn't hang out, because he was ill. But he did sign items for everyone from inside the bus. What a class act, even when he is sick, he is still there for his fans.
Fast forward to the Master of the Moon tour, this time I saw Dio at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. I waited to meet him again. We talked for a while in the alley outside the Troc, and I have great photo of me and him together, that I will treasure always.
Those are just a few stories that come to mind, and stand out, I'm sure there are many more, as I think of more, I'll post them. So many great Dio memories through the years, as happy as they make me, I am equally as saddened that there will be no more Dio memories to make.