Like most night owls, I spent early Monday morning watching YouTube clips of a holographic Tupac Shakur playing Coachella with his friends Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg nearly 16 years after his death. It was at once creepy and crass, but altogether interesting no matter how you sliced it, and not just because they rendered the digital 'Pac taller and more muscular than he ever was.
Of course, if this technology takes off and the concert industry invests in it, the possibilities will be endless, and endlessly expensive for music fans willing to shell out extra dough to see a deceased artist live in concert. It's like séances have turned pro. Hell, they don't even to be deceased. The Rolling Stones could be supported on tour by their 1964 selves, or even an eerie flickering Robert Johnson.
This is different than animated bands like the Gorillaz or Dethklok touring in the past, with live musicians performing behind them. Would you even conceivably need live music for these shows? Would people care?
Elvis Will Be Everywhere
Which is certainly a fact. Will he go on tour behind a revue of every single era in his performance career. The '50s sexy hellraiser to the sweaty balladeer at death's door in the '70s could put asses in the seats for sure. Holograms would make Graceland a creepier experience than it already is, with an agitated Elvis telling you to scat from his front lawn after business hours.
With Michael Jackson
But who is to say that MJ didn't already have this in mind, as our friend and colleague Brando wondered? Generations of kids would be able to know the Gloved One not from YouTube clips, but a holographic image moon-walking across a stage.
And So Will The Beatles
You say you want a Beatles reunion? Well, why not pay to see the boys perform at the Cavern Club or perform "The White Album" in it's entirety? All we can say is thank the good lord that the Beatles survivors aren't money hungry, right? Right? This is going to happen in my lifetime, won't it?
Which Means That Las Vegas...
Vegas will surely buy into the hype, seeing that have already utilized most every technological breakthrough known to man. Want a ghostly Elvis to wake you up in the morning? Maybe the cast of your favorite Cirque du Soleil show can wow you in your suite while you eat breakfast in bed.
The Age Of Physical Touring Could End...
But not really, since the novelty will be surely hella fun, the human element -- the notion of seeing your idol sweat and point at you from the stage -- while interacting with fans will be hard to top. Besides, who wants to blow a hologram backstage? Inherently the purists will complain that they saw the real Maroon 5 back in 2007 and not this holographic shit you kids are into these days.
An Undead Concert Series
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And then, just as the holographic concert industry reaches new and fabulous heights, like a digital Freddie Mercury leading a Wembley Stadium crowd for a rousing "Bohemian Rhapsody," it will get bastardized for pop acts and the porn industry. Well, the second thing may be cool to see. Just saying.