This last weekend, thousands of hipsters and music fans alike flocked to the first weekend of Coachella in Indio, California. Headliners like Radiohead and The Black Keys created a stir on youtube and twitter feeds, but the real talk of the weekend was an impromptu performance by Tupac Shakur.
Well, sort of.
On the final night of the three day music festival, headliners Snoop Dogg and Dr.Dre brought along crowd pleasing buddies like Wiz Khalifa and Eminem. But nobody could have foreseen the cameo of the deceased hip hop artist.
Maybe I should take a moment to clarify. It was only a hologram of the iconic rapper (look’s like Dave Chapelle’s “Tupac-is-still-alive” theory will have to be put on hold for now). However the hologram has created quite a buzz over the last few days.
The Tupac hologram was apparently the brain child of Dr. Dre, and dazzled the crowd with a performance of “Hail Mary” before being joined on stage by Snoop Dogg to perform “Gangsta Party.” The Tupac-o-gram only performed two songs and was on stage for a total of five minutes, yet people are still talking about all of the possibilities this new technology brings.
I must admit that when I first heard about the performance, I was skeptical about how good this hologram would actually look. But as soon as I watched a video of the performance on youtube, I was stunned by the lifelike quality and striking resemblance to Tupac. Aside from a few moments in which the hologram appears to be transparent, it really looks as though there is another person on stage.
While I was very impressed by the quality of the Tupac-o-gram, I can’t help but feel like this new technology may have opened up a nasty can of worms. The creators of the hologram have apparently already discussed the possibility of putting their Tupac-o-gram on tour. This opens the door for reunions previously thought impossible. So how long will it take before we’re expected to pay large fees to see a “reunion” of The Beatles or a comeback tour from a Jimi Hendrix-o-gram?
But this hologram technology isn’t only being considered for deceased artists. A few music blogs have already brought up the idea of bands being able to tour all over the world through hologram avatars. Sure it might not the same as actually seeing Radiohead live. But who knows, maybe Holo-Thom will fly over the crowd while singing “Paranoid Android.”
My biggest fear with this new technology is that holograms will eventually become the stand in for actual live performances. Will we really be expected to pay high prices for a band that really isn’t there? Should we scream or clap if the holograms on stage can’t even hear us? And will people really want to see a Kurt Cobain hologram, knowing that everything it says and does was created by a couple of engineers? I certainly hope not.