• Josh Warriner

The Undead Performance - Holographic Concerts and Bringing Artists Back From The Dead

Over the last decade, we have periodically seen a surge in popularity of hologram performances. Live concerts where the leading role is held by an artist who has died. These performances have always been met with mixed reviews, with some thrilled to see some of their favourite artists back for a final performance, and others left unsettled by the prospect of someone's likeness being recreated for profit.

The first major hologram performance can be traced back to 2012 to Tupac Shakur's appearance at Coachella, sixteen years after his untimely death at the age of 25 in 1996. The performance was met with mixed reviews, and the technology was not yet perfected. Tupac did not appear truly integrated with the stage, but it was still a marvel of technology to behold.

Another major early hologram performance was when Optimum Productions brought legendary pop artist Michael Jackson back from the dead for a performance five years after his death. The unfortunately ironic song choice of Slave to the Rhythm aside, the performance shows how the technology had advanced since the 2012 Coachella show.

Recently, we've seen in influx of holographic tours. Artists who have died hitting the road once more for a new generation of fans. In particular, we have the Bizarre World of Frank Zappa tour, and the Rock n Roll Dreams tour featuring Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison.

The Bizarre World takes a wise approach to a hologram show, with one of the only artists who would fit such a method. With most of the stage filled with large screens, the holographic Frank only appears every once in a while, while most of the show is carried by the massive visual presentations, and several members of Frank's original band performing live. You can see with the band's performance of Camarillo Brillo, it isn't until a couple of minutes that Frank appears, and speaks directly to the audience.

As for the Rock n Roll Dreams tour, we have yet to see what that will hold. We have seen one of the featured artists in a recent tour of his own, Roy Orbison's In Dreams tour. An aspect of this performance which has slightly unsettled some is the way that Roy seems to phase through the floor of the stage into view.

Hologram tours are now on the rise. Tickets are selling, and more tours are being planned as a result. Will these shows ever be a replacement for live musicians? Likely not. In the same way that it was worried that radio, or music video would kill the live experience. As many others have said, there is something to be said about the slightly uncanny valley aspect of these performances that is likely to leave them as a novelty, or perhaps, albeit quite a popular one.

What are your thoughts? Let us know on social media what you think about the rise of holographic concerts. Stay tuned this week for a very special collaboration announcement coming your way!

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