Dio Disciples, the highly regarded and officially sanctioned tribute to the music of late metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio has announced their first U.S. tour dates, which will begin on Sept. 22 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

The group is made up of former members of Dio, with vocals by former Judas Priest singer Tim 'Ripper' Owens and Toby Jepsen (Little Angels). A message posted on Dio's official Facebook page recaps the recent European tour, calling it a "great celebration" with lots of “tears” and plenty of singalong moments with the audience.

The project is billed as a “celebration of the music and legacy of the greatest singer in the world, Ronnie James Dio.” The band is also quick to note that “we could NEVER replace Ronnie and that is NOT our intention. There will only ever be one RJD!”

In addition to Owens and Jepsen on vocals, the Disciples features former Dio members Simon Wright on drums, Craig Goldy on guitar, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Scott Warren on keyboards. They perform a setlist that covers all aspects of Ronnie's career. More tour dates and support acts for the U.S. trek will be announced soon.

Dio Disciples Fall 2011 U.S. Tour Dates:

9/22 – Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
9/23 – Asbury Park, N.J.
9/26 – Buffalo, N.Y.
9/27 – Pittsburgh, Pa.
9/28 – Cleveland, Ohio
9/29 – Chicago, Ill.
9/30 – Medina, Minn.
10/6 – Baton Rouge, La.
10/7 – Houston, Texas
10/8 – San Antonio, Texas
10/9 – Dallas, Texas

Watch Dio Disciples Perform 'Holy Diver'

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