Everything I know about holograms I learned from them too Star Wars or Star Trek† Princess Leia’s glitchy SOS to Obi-Wan Kenobi projected by R2D2 onto a stunned Luke Skywalker. The occasionally faulty holodeck on the USS Enterprise† The acerbic Emergency Medical Hologram Mark I on Voyager† All technologies from the distant future – or so we thought.
That all started to change on day three of the 2012 Coachella Festival when Tupac Shakur was resuscitated 15 years, seven weeks and three days after he was killed in a drive-by in Las Vegas. A ghostly figure appeared during the set of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg and immediately addressed the crowd. “What’s going on, Coachellaaaaaaaaa!” He then launched a few songs, leaving audiences stunned and the concert industry salivating at the idea of future resurrections.
Progress is slow, but hologram representations are becoming more common and much more sophisticated. The Tupac show featured a 2D image based on a 19th-century trick called Pepper’s Ghost, which was recreated for Coachella by the same special effects team that worked on Titanic with James Cameron. More recent performances by late performers (Ronnie James Dio, Roy Orbison, and Whitney Houston, to name a few) use different types of projection techniques that look much more realistic.
The Japanese have taken things in a different direction with appearances by Miku, an insanely famous pop star (formally known as a “vocaloid”) who sells thousands of tickets wherever “she” appears.
Meanwhile, ABBA fans await the opening of ABBA Voyage, a residency in a bespoke London theater that will show the state-of-the-art avatars of each of the band members as they appeared in the late 1970s. This is … Wow†
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The potential for the concert industry is virtually limitless. Along with dead performers magically coming back to life, this technology can bring fictional supergroups together.
For example, imagine that Elvis, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, and Keith Moon are all in the same band. People who want this to happen tell me we’re pretty close to the technology. A driving force behind this is the billions of dollars spent buying song catalogs from heritage artists. That money has to be earned back and profits made. Using hologram performances, these artists will continue to sing their songs and generate revenue for the rights holders for decades to come.
This brings us to Our Lady Peace and their upcoming The Wonderful Future Theatrical Hologram Experience, a tour that kicks off in Victoria, B,C, on June 6. I had heard rumors of interesting things, so I contacted singer Raine Maida.
Maida continued: “I was with him in Boston earlier this year and thought, ‘Obviously he won’t come out and tour with us, but with the use of holograms, we can have him on stage, be part of the show, and delve deeper into some of these predictions, such as global universal income, completely solving climate change through the use of computers, computers that pass the Turing test, and the singularity. by having the songs on the album, but now we get him on stage talking about these things like a hologram.”
And that’s not all. “There are a lot of different components in this. Molly is part of this show, as is a new, much more advanced AI created by Ray called Cassandra. From that moment on, we’ve had the opportunity and we think we’re going to surprise some fans. We can now have guests on stage that we could never have before. Hopefully at the end of the day it’s just a big spectacle.
“We are working with this great Canadian company called ARHT Media. You cannot see the difference. When you stand in front of one of their holograms, you think they’re standing there.”
We are about to enter a new era of virtual concerts. And it’s going to get really, really weird.
The holograms will be generated by three heavy “capsules” that will be used in ways that have never been done before.
Maida says fans will encounter these creations immediately upon entering the theater. “There will be a hologram—Molly actually—in the lobby to greet people as they enter. It will probably take away our merch sales because people will be staring at this hologram!
“Fans will see old faces they haven’t seen in a while. (SPOILER: Ex-OLP lead guitarist Mike Turner will appear as a group of focused photons.)
“It is 100 percent rock concert, but it does have a theater aspect. And we combine all kinds of technologies. People get a poster just like you would if you go to a play like Hamilton- but as NFT. It will be a real technological leap for us.
“Fingers crossed that it all works!”
Alan Cross is an announcer with Q107 and 102.1 the Edge and a commentator for Global News.
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