Holograms: Revolutionary Tech or a Cheap Imitation?

Is it truly the same to experience a concert with a hologram performer?

Written by Mark Glotzbach, Follow his own blog site @markglotzbachblog

Holographic performances are becoming more and more frequent as the technology becomes easier to use and more people are willing to pay money for such an experience. But I personally do not understand the appeal of such a gimmick; I feel like this sort of thing makes the music world a little more cheap and plastic feeling.

According to Billboard Magazine, holograms entered in to the music world thanks to the animated characters of one of my favorite groups: Gorillaz. The fictional band members of Damon Albarn’s band came to life during the 2006 Grammy Awards to perform their hit single “Feel Good Inc.” From that moment, the technology was then used to bring performers back from the dead.

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Artists like Elvis, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur and several others have been brought back to life with hologram technology. It gives fans a chance to see a deceased artist in concert, but is it really the same as a live performance? I would think not. I would guess that it has a very hollow feel to it in person.

I’m not saying that these types of shows are completely empty of entertainment value, I just dont see how people can pay over a hundred dollars per ticket to see an illusion lip sync to a pre-recorded track. Maybe its like attending a magic show; you know it’s all an illusion but it still looks cool.

I didn’t think much about these hologram performances until I recently heard there were plans to make hologram tours for some of my favorite late artists, Dio and Frank Zappa. These were revolutionary performers who made a deep impact on the rock world, and my personal musical taste.

Dio’s hologram greatly fails to capture the legend’s stage presence, and the band that plays along side it are definitely not Black Sabbath quality. It seems like these holograms can distort how modern concert goers perceive these legendary artists and actually cheapen their legacy

Here is a clip of Dio’s hologram performance in Germany:

Frank Zappa’s hologram tour was announced in late 2017 amidst a bit of Zappa family drama. Frank’s son Dweezil has been fighting for the rights to continue to play his Father’s music, as well as use his legal birth name. His siblings who own the Zappa Family trust don’t want him making money off the name Zappa and claim to own the name Dweezil as well.

Immediately that makes the Zappa hologram seem like a horrible idea. Dweezil has always performed his father’s music in a tasteful and musically accurate way, so it’s very sad to see his siblings take that away from him only to turn around and use their fathers image for a hologram tour. Frank Zappa’s former guitarist Steve Vai has announce his involvement in the tour which does restore a bit of credit for the quality of the tour. Vai believes this could be a great thing for Zappa fans, as long as they come in with an open mind and genuine appreciation for Frank’s music.

Although these holograms have been used to revive performers of the past, they have also been used to add modern living performers into a show. ABBA have announced that they will be doing a strictly virtual reunion tour. According to Cvent.com, South Korean artists have been doing virtual tours for years now. South Korea also has a band with a completely virtual lead singer:

Maybe holograms are the way of the future, but they will never be as good as a real live human being performing their heart out and making a real connection. Hopefully if this continues as a trend, the programmers will be able to find better harmony between the live music and the recorded hologram aspect.

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