Concerts in the Digital Age
After posting about the documentary Biggie & Tupac last week, Tupac graced us with his presence again only days later at Coachella. By now it’s pretty much old news, but for those not in the know, an extremely realistic, three-dimensional representation of Tupac Shakur performed alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday night.
The hologram was apparently synced with a series of audio clips from past live performances before Tupac’s death in 1996. Surprisingly, Tupac isn’t the first hologram used for live performances purposes, but his appearance made quite an effect. Some individuals expressed their fascination with the technology used to create a realistic visual of Tupac while other expressed that they were mildly disturbed.
The general opinion though seemed to be vastly positive and video footage of the performance quickly went viral (unfortunately Cashmere Agency, who is responsible for creating the hologram, has already had all the videos removed… I say this is a bad publicity decision on there part). There is now talk that he will even be going on tour with Snoop Dogg later this year.
The popularity of a digital Tupac’s performance brings up an interesting concept. Could Tupac be just the first of a string of artists who have already passed away making a reappearance for sold out concerts and music tours? There are always new generations of music listeners claiming their love for artists like Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. If record companies are always looking for ways to bring in the big bucks then it only seems natural that they would consider hologram artists as a new means of making more money.
On one hand I’m in agreement for using holograms in place of artists who are no longer with us – we should be taking advantage of the latest in technological advancements and I definitely wouldn’t turn down a Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, or Janis Joplin concert.
On the other hand though, one aspect of music that seems nearly impossible to recreate is the emotional connection that is often formed between an real, live artist and a listener. This is why we music fans usually boast a more intimate experience from listening to a record versus an mp3 track or going to a live concert versus watching a concert on DVD.
Nonetheless, as technology continues to make its way to the forefront of our daily lives, we should probably welcome it to everyday aspects of contemporary visual culture as well.