Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg hired a company to “resurrect” the deceased Tupac Shakur at Coachella 2012. AV Concepts built a realistic “hologram” version of the rapper. As cool as the technology is, I have to say I’m in the minority here: the whole thing creeped me out. Of course, I’d give my (Lisa) left eye (Lopes) to see Tupac, who was fatally shot in 1996, in action but reanimating someone — a real person with a life and family — in front of a crowd is so, so weird to me.
I watched the video six times and each time I alternated between muttering, “Cool” and “Weird.” What if AV Concepts starts animating, I don’t know, my grandmother who died of cancer when I was 14? Or my friend who passed away when I was in high school? It’s like a crazy Isaac Asimov short story.
That being said, there are definitely some dearly departed acts I’d love to see brought back to life in concert. Here are 14 musicians AV Concepts should animate next.
1. Kurt Cobain
Cobain, the lead singer and guitarist in Nirvana, committed suicide in 1994. I can actually see Coachella and the Foo Fighters collaborating on this one, though lord knows they’ll have to up security to keep Courtney Love outside the gates. Plus, how weird would reanimating Cobain be for his daughter, Frances Bean? Or for Dave Grohl? I want to see it, but I know it’s creepy.
2. Ian Curtis
Curtis was the lead singer of Joy Division, and died too soon at 23 years old. Like Cobain, he tragically committed suicide. Could you imagine him reuniting with Joy Division or hell, playing with New Order?
3. John Lennon and George Harrison of The Beatles
THIS. THIS. PLEASE. PLEASE. I would immediately devolve into one of those screaming girls from the Ed Sullivan videos. If you’ve ever seen George Harrison’s son, Dhani, performing with Ringo and Paul at The Concert for George, then you know a little bit about what this would look like. What era Beatles though? Mop tops? Sgt. Pepper? Let It Be? How about 1964 George Harrison and then someone let me know if you can make out with holograms? Thanks!
Jeez, do any musicians not die tragically? Selena, the crowned princess of Latin music, was murdered in 1995. The 20th anniversary of her death is in three years. Plenty of time to start planning this, Coachella. Tomorrow, we could be holding Selena tight.
Why should the holograms only be for recently-passed acts? I can just see Beethoven putting on a sold out show at Lincoln Center. What a privilege to get to see that. Upper West Siders, gear up. And I guess, you too those three or four college students who dig Beethoven. History!
6. Jeff Buckley
Buckley is another musician who died young, tragically and mysteriously. He drowned in the Wolf River in 1997. His hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Hallelujah” made him a household name. What if they made a hologram of him and then had a concert where he played all of Grace? Shivers.
7. Elvis Presley
The King died in 1977 and I bet Tennessee’s hankering for Elvis to put on one last show at Graceland. Diehard fans, like my own dad, already trek there like a pilgrimage. Why not give them a concert by the hologram hip-swinger himself?
8. Jimi Hendrix
Wanna watch arguably the world’s best guitarist set fire to a guitar like you were really there in 1967? Can a truly iconic moment like that be recaptured by a hologram? I don’t think so, but it’d be pretty awesome to get to watch live.
9. Janis Joplin
Joplin’s been a favorite of mine ever since I read the biography her sister, Laura, wrote about her called Love, Janis. She was a fantastically strong, complicated, messed up genius who sadly died of a heroin overdose in 1970 at just 27 years old. She’s one act I would really love to have seen live. Her big presence, her big hair, her even bigger voice belting “Cry Baby.” Yes.
10. Freddie Mercury
I saw Queen tour with Paul Rodgers from Bad Company filling in for Freddie Mercury. The show was exceptional, mostly due to Brian May’s guitar playing but seriously, no one can replace Mr. Fahrenheit himself. Let’s get hologram Freddie back fronting Queen.
11. Frank Sinatra
How about reanimating the whole Rat Pack and going on tour. People think they love Michael Buble? Wait until they get a load of the real old Blue Eyes.
This seems like a no-brainer after bringing back B.I.G.’s West Coast rival 2Pac. Plus, I think fellow TC writer Josh Gondelman would buy out all the seats and have a solo dance party. Coachella for one. Party and bullshit. (PS: Bring back Big Pun too!)
This one cuts deep. I think a lot of us remember when we heard about the plane crash that killed R&B’s little sister. Imagine hologram Aaliyah on stage with Missy Elliott and Timbaland. Just keep her away from real-life R. Kelly.
14. Marvin Gaye
When I was in middle school, my mom took my sister and I to a Motown impersonators show in Las Vegas and then proceeded to flip out when faux “Marvin Gaye” came on stage. I think reanimating the famous “Let’s Get It On” singer would be a personal favor to her, AV Concepts.
BONUS: Michael Jackson. Too soon?