This years Coachella festival in California brought up one of the edgiest and provocative moments in musical history with the performance of the late Tupac Shakur in Hologram form. Was this projection a testament to his legacy or an economical exploit?
I really couldn’t believe it when I heard about Tupac’s ‘guest’ appearance during Dr Dre and Snoop Dog’s headline set at California’s prestigious Coachella festival last weekend. Nor could I apprehend the level of realism the Tupac imagery would indeed have. However, one thing I did predict correctly, along with a lot of people, is the conflicting opinions in regard to this technological and musical embrace. Taking a step back, initially it does draw an exciting picture of possibilities when it comes to live performances. Imagine being at lengthy, mundane gig that’s not living up to expectations when your favourite musician suddenly appears on stage from beyond the grave. That’s certainly one way of the lifting the general anesthetic at a boring concert.
But is that the true purpose of these holograms? The purpose of Dr Dre and Snoop Dog vivid imagination in bringing one of their valiant own back from the grave for a six minute performance was clearly a genuine act of musical legacy and remembrance. Regrettably, their act of stage-man brilliance, I fear, will result in the pockets of those we hate most of all being filled with green paper generated by this very concept. They bring the people what they want, but for the vilest of reasons. One thing music has taught me on my short time on this planet, is that money plays a bigger part in music then it was ever intended on doing.
This very corporate oppression is what has given us some of the most memorable acts and timeless eras in music. Nirvana and the grunge-pop ’90’s dominance, the punk movement and working class persona’s of bands that have literally made it from the street into the recording studio and on to the stage. Tupac himself was more of an artist than a man draped in riches, although he was a wealthy man, as many people know. More delicately, making money off of dead celebrities if they were hypothetically brought back to life in the arrangement of a hologram is the likelihood of damaging the reputation of these celebrities. Clearly, for those who do not know how complex these hologram images are to compose, like myself, when it is done wrong very little can be left to the imagination. Tupac’s choreographed moves at Coachella and speech code did evidently come off as spectacular, and the controversy he created reflected that of his former flesh and bone life. But one slip of the programmers finger could destroy the legacy of a performer forever.
Image if Ian Curtis, the infamously melancholy tortured soul of post-punk outfit Joy Division, was brought back to the dust of the stage via hologram image and he cracked a smile during a performance. Ian Curtis smiling? That’s about as likely as Alan Hansen getting a haircut that doesn’t make him look like Captain Scarlet, or Coldplay releasing an album that isn’t dosed to the brim in their own pretentious, self-indulgent trademark shit. I don’t want to see Kurt Cobain holding his guitar in the wrong way, I don’t want to see Amy Winehouse strolling on the stage robotically and I don’t want to have to cringe at every nonsensical spike on Sid Vicious’ head that doesn’t quite resemble the living specimen from all those years ago.
That’s isn’t the half of it though. Before any antecedent discussions can be put forward by those parties interested in bringing back a few of our late favourites, there are a few ethical and consensual issues that need addressing. Assuming that anyone is indeed at all intrigued in this hologram project, which, if you ask me, is inevitable, than the companies looking to get involved need to seek some kind of consent from the deceased’s relatives. Hmm, the phone call that Courtney Love may be receiving would be interesting for any fly on the wall. Many families and loved ones, I’m sure, would reject the proposal. It must be hard enough dealing with their passing in the first place, never mind reliving the experience again every time the projector is turned on or off.
Perhaps reliving and reincarnating the ghosts of our past is another taboo best left alone. The Tupac saga, being the exception, was phenomenal. One of those truly implausible and and curious moments in music that seem to make complete sense and no sense at all all at the same time. And that, I’m afraid, is where it should end. Legacy can be created and destroyed in the blink of an eye.
If there is any danger in ruining those who brought joy to million, than why take that joy and remembrance away?
Listen to our discussion on this matter at http://www.sparksite.co.uk tonight between 7:00pm-8:00pm!