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Tupac Hologram Projects the Future of Live Music

April 17, 2012

Is the Tupac hologram a mirage of live music's future?In the days leading up to the 2012 Coachella Music & Arts Festival, rumors began to spread that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, headliners for the festival’s closing performance Sunday night, had something truly special planned.

Now consider this ‘concert spoiler’ as a token of good fortune, as hysteria could have ensued when a holographic form of the late rapper Tupac Shakur was projected onstage, accompanying Snoop Dogg on two songs, to a bewildered crowd. Within 24 hours, the videos of the performance have gone viral while news outlets across the globe discuss what the hell just happened here.

Meanwhile, I was rolling my eyes and praying that P Diddy (I don’t care if you changed your name again) was taking this performance as a challenge to recreate his own Notorious B.I.G. (Call it the Notorious CGI)

One can’t deny, the Shakur hologram appeared frighteningly realistic; a kudos to AV Concepts, a Tempe, Arizona-based lighting, video, audio and digital services company that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars producing the visual spectacle. For most, it is a stunning preview of a future in which lost musicians, artists and performers of all backgrounds can be revived onstage through the use of technology.

For a select few, it is just another wise trick; none more advanced than what we saw at the 2006 Grammy Awards, in which the cartoon band Gorillaz were digitally produced onstage to perform alongside Madonna. (It’s worth crediting AV Concepts, who also assisted in the production of that show.)

And yet, Sunday’s show still felt like a breaking wave in the evolution of live entertainment. Popular music commentator and musician ?uestlove of the Roots shared his thoughts via Twitter this morning stating…”damn: Dre Now Changed The Game 5 Times: 1) NWA 2) The Chronic 3) Col Tom Parkering Em 4) Beats By Dre & 5) http://t.co/mHD4yLdJ

Now, talks of a full-length Tupac hologram tour and online polls listing what artists fans would like to see recreated in hologram form next are a grim indicator: will concert producers treat this as a passing fad, or the sobering technology that it seems to be? The use of live holograms as part of musical performances is not necessarily fresh, as examined in this 2006 Grammy performances featuring Madonna and the cartoon band Gorillaz.

Let’s consider for a moment that the days of paying $60 to see someone turn on what is essentially a 3-D light (to the tune of music) are upon us.

Movies had the advent of 3-D in the 1950s and even today, Hollywood is riding a massive return to the 3-D productions as an attempt to lure audiences back to theaters and away from their home entertainment systems.

Who’s to say live music companies don’t need another reason to lure listeners outside again?

While the concert industry has not necessarily suffered the same hardships as film, the application of more holographic technologies feels as imminent as the early days of concert lighting (old) or performance live streaming (new).There’s no rejecting the response from fans online.

I admit, it is still fresh and we have to let this one burn out before we roll another.

Yet whether you thought Tupac’s ghost was creepy or fascinating, it is certainly a subtle mirage in the landscape of what is to come.

I guess it’s only fitting that it made it’s claim-to-fame in the desert of Palm Springs, California.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Vitor Avilez permalink
    April 17, 2012 4:17 am

    Tupac Shakur, we miss you. The best rapper in the world.. West Side nigga! Fuck P. Diddy; Bad Boy we will kill ya!

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