According to the internet, the whole holographic thing started in 2012 when Dr. Dre asked Tupac Shakur's mother permission to use his virtual likeness at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Electronics company AV Concepts built a holographic Tupac from old footage and put it (him?) on stage with Snoop and Dre himself. In 2014, Michael Jackson did something similar, performing on stage with a five-piece band and sixteen dancers. Only, the king of pop had been dead for five years.
Now, this 'Dio Returns' tour is announced (dates below this article).For this tour, Dio's hologram with be joined by The Dio Disciples: guitarist Craig Goldy, drummer Simon Wright, keyboardist Scott Warren and bassist Bjorn Englen. Hologram company Eyellusion will be responsible for the virtual performance of hits like 'Holy Diver', Rainbow's 'Man On The Silver Mountain' and many others. It's a unique tour, that's for sure, but also one that received mixed reactions.
Face it, we love novelties. When the holographic Tupac performed at Coachella, people were in awe. Suddenly, something unthinkable had become possible and of course other deceased artists would soon follow. I expect this thing to boom. I predict new world tours by Elvis, Michael Jackson, The Doors, Freddy Mercury, Motorhead, John Lennon. Who knows, maybe we soon finally see Beethoven, Wagner and Mozart live. Isn't that exciting?
No, it's not. It's a novelty and it should stay exactly that. Sure, I will go watch a holographic version of The Ramones but probably only once. The programmers will have to do their stinking best to make the gig something exciting instead of something emotional and depressive. I'm one of the old school concert goers, the ones for whom the quality of the gig depends on the interaction between the artists and the crowd. I don't expect a lot of interaction at the Dio gigs, for example.
Second. Technology evolves extremely fast. In ten years or so, the hologram technology might be affordable and by then plenty more musicians will have passed on too. My strange imagination foresees a wide array of unoriginal cover bands using a hologram as frontman or -woman. Why would that happen? Well, why not? People are opportunists and this looks like a great opportunity to gain more attention. They just have to press the "Freddie Mercury" button on the holo-machine and play the song.
I don't know. Perhaps it's just this deeply embedded philosophy behind Merchants Of Air, but I would prefer to see a living, interacting Aidan Baker, Slowdive or Emptiness over a holographic Peter Steele. Ok, perhaps I'd go see that thing once but I would certainly expect to be disappointed at the end of such a gig, especially when I have seen the real thing. Come to think of it, this whole thing scares me.
There are lists of deceased artists on the internet, many of them beloved. If all of them return as holograms and go on world tours and play festivals, where does it leave the smaller bands? Supporting for a dead singer? Playing in front of six people while others rather watch a bunch of pixels ruminating old hits? Even more so, what does that say about our respect towards the deceased?
I mean, if you can revive Dio, you can revive anyone. Just push the button and your grandmother sits at the dinner table. Stalin will return, Ghandi too. Your future movies will feature Marlon Brando, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin and Audrey Hepburn. You will be able to see Copernicus debate with Einstein. Wrestlemania will feature a match between Muhammad Ali and Bam Bam Bigelow. The possibilities are endless..
...but they're not real. They're illusions and they scare the hell out of me. The difference between life and dead is gradually becoming smaller and smaller. Deceased people are not allowed to be deceased anymore. We care so much about them that we don't want to remember them, we want to relive them, again and again. Programmers are working on a website where you can chat with your late mother. Not her spirit but an artificial intelligence, culminated from data about her found on the internet.
Perhaps I do know how to feel about these holographic concerts. I feel about them like the people felt when they first saw 'Riding Galloping Horse', the world's first moving picture. Back then, it was something new, hence the term "novelty". Holographic concerts might be cool, awe inspiring and emotional but they're novelties and I really, really, really hope they stay that way.
Dio Returns Tour Dates
November 30 - Helsinki, Finland @ The Circus
December 3 - Stockholm, Sweden @ Fryshuset
December 4 - Oslo, Norway @ Rockefeller Music Hall
December 6 - Warsaw, Poland @ Progresja
December 13 - Barcelona, Spain @ Bikini
December 15 - Santander, Spain @ Escenario Santander
December 17 - Bucharest, Romania @ Arelene Romane
December 20 - Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix
December 21 - Tilburg, Netherlands @ 013