Whitney Houston is going on tour.
Surprised? You should be, as the singer died in 2012.
OK, so it won’t actually be Houston going out on tour, but a hologram of her. You read that right – a hologram of the late singer and chart topper will be hitting the road. Apparently, her former backing band will perform the music.
Weird? Certainly. Uncommon? Not as much as you would think. Ronnie James Dio, a heavy metal singer who died in 2010, has had one hologram tour completed, and a second one is underway. I loved Dio when I was younger, and saw the live singer in 1986. Would I go see a hologram version of him?
No, I would not.
Would you go see hologram Roy Orbison, or Frank Zappa? They have both hit the road. Maybe John Lennon, or Bob Marley or grunge icon Kurt Cobain?
Personally, I find the entire thing simply strange. Going to see a live performance, to me, means a “live” performance. That means not only live music but all a live vocal performance. Seeing the projected image of someone I know is dead up there performing away would be cold and creepy.
And I’m sorry, but the argument that this will keep the artist’s legacy alive and allow people who never had a chance to see them live see them live just doesn’t cut it.
Why? A hologram is not “live.”
But I can see a day when we have dead actors starring in new movies. Digital effects have come an incredibly long way in a fairly short amount of time. So, I fully expect that to become a reality.
Also consider video games, one of the most successful forms of entertainment these days. The look of these games can be quite stunning. The days of pixilated blobs running from left to right on the screen are long over. Now, it is basically like being a character in a movie. Add to that the giant televisions with beautiful clarity we have these days and it can be an incredible, immersive experience.
But a live performance should still be live performance, in my book. I don’t even like to see artists that use “triggered” sounds, which is basically something like a keyboard used to produce sounds or sound effects. For example, one singer can sound like 50. Or hitting a snare drum might sound like a clap of thunder.
I am old school, and I will admit that, when it comes to music. I agree that it needs to grow and change, and that just because I don’t prefer it doesn’t mean it isn’t good or valid. That is in the ear of the listener, and who am I to tell people what to like and what not to like?
But I want to see a real artist making music in the moment. Music is not a painting. Music should be created in a specific moment, in front of an audience. Sure, it can be recorded. But on the stage, it comes alive. Even if a band or artist plays the same chords and sings the same lyrics for decades, every performance is unique – a moment in time.
A hologram would be the same, every performance. To me, that does not honor the artist at all, nor the music he or she created.