I would imagine that by now everyone has seen, heard or even read about the “holographic” performance of Tupac Shakur at Coachella this weekend. (The performance was actually in 2D so technically not “holographic”) No one needs to be a fan in order to recognize the significance of such a posthumous appearance. It would seem there is no limit to what technology can do – if it can whisk people out of their graves in order to have them back onstage in time for a short gig – I’d say it can do just about anything.
But can it really?
There’s no denying that seeing Tupac was quite a trick, and for some in the audience that night it may well have been a dream come true. However, smoke, mirrors and mylar screening does not a live performance make. (Now that I’ve drifted into Yoda speak…it’s time for more coffee for this American!) I don’t wish to trivialize the show, but the facts speak for themselves here. Could such a projection become anything more than a novelty? Granted, there’s not a music news blog around that hasn’t covered Coachella, and with each article or blog that has been written there’s been paragraphs written about Tupac and yet nearly nothing about the rest of the festival as of yet (there’s one more weekend on tap). Obviously that was the big news coming out of the festival for the first weekend. I’ve also read that the price tag for creating Tupac’s appearance was nearly $100,000. Not exactly play money these days, so it’s no surprise that there are rumors circulating that Tupac will be making appearances on tour with Snoop long after the lights go out at Coachella.
This appearance from the Great Beyond by Tupac begs questions to pondered. What stops this from becoming the next greatest thing? I’m honestly surprised they haven’t conjured up Elvis, John Lennon, George Harrison, or even Michael Jackson for that matter. Money is to be made here, and I’m pretty sure that the labels still have quite a love affair with the green stuff!! I’m sure there’s got to be some out there that would gladly pay whatever price necessary in order to even see a projected image of John and George in order to recreate the Fab Four again. Elvis fans are still out there – the attendance figures at Graceland each year prove that one over and over again. Heaven (or Hell) is the limit!!
Did I just hear groaning out there??
In recent days I just read an article about the Summer Olympics in London. Planning is well-underway for the Opening Ceremonies and while no – there were no rumors put to rest about a certain band we all know and love – the current discussion is that the music for these ceremonies will not be live. When I read the article, I have to admit that I didn’t quite understand the uproar. Many “live” productions are filmed with the music on a backing track. Even TV shows are done that way. According to the articles I read, the musicians had no issues with the ceremonies being handled in this way, and the show itself would be far too complicated for the music to be done live.
It would seem that more and more often these days, there is less and less importance being hung on the word “Live”, which can really be heartbreaking. When one pays for a ticket to see Britney Spears live, for example – are they really getting a live performance, or nothing more than someone lip synching on stage? She’s certainly not the only artist that’s been accused of lip synching, and most assuredly not the only one who doesn’t even have a band on stage with her while she’s performing. What counts as being enough to say it’s live? There’s been so much discussion about using backing tracks – most bands admit to using them for one thing or another – but honestly – who plays EVERYTHING live anymore?
With the invent and success of a holographic Tupac along with a realistic backing track – who is to say that bands won’t start just touring holographically at some point? Even Duran Duran, with the amount of countries that insist that they visit – could at some point choose to use this method to reach more people in more places in shorter periods of time. Touring? Traveling away from the family? Who needs that?? Let’s face it, the band isn’t getting any younger, yet there are many of us out there who are not at all excited by the prospects of their eventual retirement. Would you pay to see them holographically if there was no other way?
What does live really mean these days, and where is the real limit between a live show and a “taped” one?