A lot has been made about the Tupac "hologram" at Coachella. First off, it's not really a hologram as much as it is CGI "magic" and it's nothing new, seeing that they have been doing it Japan for a few years now. But they do lots of things in Japan. It's even to get swept up in the madness because ohmahgawd you guys it's Tupac. We all remember the Celine Dion duet with Elvis on American Idol, right?
Sure there are folks who think it is a desecration of Shakur's image, but in all honesty, it can only help create new fans and shed light on his music. Who are we to say that he wouldn't be for it? Hell, maybe if he was still alive today how do we know he wouldn't be doing corny things that would be even worse than a "hologram," like Tyler Perry movies and syndicated sitcoms.
Invariably if this technology takes off and a big spender like AEG or Live Nation sees a market, you will see these "holograms" more and more. As a commenter on the Rocks Off Facebook page put it: "It's a neat trick and I'm sure there are people who will pay money to see it. Capitalism!" Being the dirty neo-neo-con I am, I wholeheartedly agree. Make that money.
Among all the awe and child-like wonder, some are seeing this as a symptom of a rotten music industry, where the need for bankable, iconic artists to turn a buck will be a bandage on a bigger problem -- a dearth of quality acts. Sort of like the film industry remaking classics, foreign and domestic, with modern actors.
But if digital concerts are a thing of the future, what can we expect? For one, the industry will blow it's load on biggest acts first, to the chagrin of everyone else, and then the tech in time will trickle down to less-notable acts, until the cover band that plays your favorite suburban pub will be downloaded to the tiny stage in the corner each night.
What will us poor, lowly music writers be left to do, but review shows, with our only complaint being that the holograms flickered too much.
Milli Vanilli Et Al.: We imagine a time when you can see a cavalcade of one-hit wonders and novelty acts together performing one or two songs a piece in succession. Right Said Fred and Milli Vanilli opening for Dexy's Midnight Runners?? Sign me up, as long as Taco performs a loving tribute to Falco. Or is it the other way around...
The Doors & Jim Morrison:We all remember the surviving Doors' escapades in the early '00s with a revolving cast of singers inhabiting Jim, but with "holograms" this would be remedied. Of course, this needed to happen very soon, since even the surviving Doors' own time is running out.
Nirvana: Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!: Remember this blog in 30 years when you are shelling out $700 for nosebleed seats to see "Smells Like Teen Spirit". (wipes rotten tomato off of face and head)
ABBA: I like ABBA, and if they won't give me and millions of other ABBA-heads satisfaction soon, this must happen. A man can only subsist on ABBA Gold for so many years. Make digi Anni-Frid have a really big ass too. I don't know why I said that.
Devo: They sort of move robotically like they are CGI anyway, and I am sure they would get a bigger kick out of it than we all would. Plus, the set designer can make Booji Boy ten feet tall, finally.
Kanye West: Even while the holographic Tupac was still onstage at Coachella, you had to have known that somewhere Kanye West was tapping out a feverish text to someone about his dream of a stage of 60 Yeezys for his next tour. Damn, you could have faux Yeezys at the merch tables for people to snap pictures with, negating the whole icky "touching and interacting with fans" stuff.
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A Digital Classic Country Hootenanny: An all-star cast comes alive, featuring Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Waylon Jennings, and Tammy Wynette, complete with the holographic Hank Sr. falling over from too much firewater during "Kaw-Liga" to the delight of everyone with a cellphone camera. On select dates, the real Trent Reznor will duet with Cash on "Hurt". This would be a coup for RodeoHouston, right?
Black Eyed Peas: What if there comes a sad day when when Fergie, Taboo, will.i.am, and apl.de.ap are too old to rock, rock, rock the party? Thankfully they have already (I assume) digitized themselves for use in every corporate retreat and birthday party from here until eternity. I gotta feeling this is going boom boom pow audiences all over the world.