In a recent Interview with WSOU Radio, drumlord Vinny Appice discussed Ronnie James Dio’s final gig in New Jersey. He said:
The final show of HEAVEN & HELL‘s “The Devil You Know” tour “was the last time I ever played with Ronnie and it was the last performance of his life. I remember we came offstage, and everything was cool. We played [BLACK SABBATH‘s] ‘Neon Knights’ as the encore.
“When I first joined [BLACK SABBATH] in 1980, I went down to audition with them and play with them.”
Appice further added: “I met Ronnie. I met Geezer [Butler, bass], and Tony[Iommi, guitar] I met the night before, and Geoff [Nicholls], the keyboard player. And the first song I chose to play was ‘Neon Knights’, ’cause I kind of knew it a little bit. So that was the first song I ever played with Ronnie, and it was the last song I played with Ronnie. And that was a whole 30-something-year journey between those songs — the same song. That’s weird the way those things wind up.”
Vinny went on to say that if anybody watches video footage of Ronnie‘s final concert on YouTube, “you can see that we were having fun playing together and you can see that Ronnie was really singing his a*s off. Meanwhile, he was sick,” Appice said. “He was only gonna last another probably six or seven months after that. He was singing with actual stomach cancer. It didn’t bother him. He just did what he loved. He sang great. He was a trooper.”