Apr 172012
Authors: Matt Miller

Holograms can be put to a lot of good uses, like sending help messages to old Jedi in adorable astromech droids. They can be used to provide entertainment to members of Starfleet on the Enterprise, who have nothing better to do than listen to Data ramble charmingly about his inability to comprehend human emotion.

Concerts, on the other hand, are not a good place to use holograms.

On Sunday, a holographic image of Tupac Shakur performed at Coachella music festival, providing fans with a creepy concert by the late east west coast rapper.

Pac stomped across the stage, rapped a few songs, used mannerisms similar to the real deal and even performed a few tracks with still-living and organic rapper Snoop Dogg.

Who do we have to thank for this voodoo magic? Well, the evil mind of Dr. Dre and the mad scientists at Digital Domain Media Group (who make movies better with special effects), of course.

This little science fiction show caused such a buzz (like, Twitter trending-sized buzz) that almost immediately, word spread that Dre might be taking it on tour.

So in the near future, holographic Tupac could be haunting a venue near you, and if you’re lucky you can watch a digital image dance on a stage while pre-recorded music plays.

Once that catches on, other artists will start selling tickets for holographic concerts. Instead of busying themselves with touring the world, playing show after show, presumably artists like, say, Rihanna can play one show a year. This one show can be broadcast to venues across the globe where you will buy a ticket to watch holographic Rihanna perform.

How cool does this sound?! You and all your friends will stand in line to see Rihanna, and then she’ll, like totally, be on stage in front of you. Well, she won’t totally be right in front of you, but it’s like almost the same thing right?

It’s not.

I’ve seen a lot of live music in my life –– in fact I can never really get a good opinion on a band until I’ve seen them live. There is an energy in live music –– the fans feed off the artist in front of them, and the artists feed off the energy of the crowd. It’s a symbiotic relationship, a give and take that sets a unique tone for every concert.

No matter how realistic a hologram might look and act, it’s not the same. It’s like going on a date with that guy/girl you really like and have that person be replaced with a life-sized cardboard cutout.

Unfortunately, our technology-obsessed generation will love the idea of a holographic concert. Immediately after the Coachella performance, Twitter was going crazy with people, even famous people, talking about how much they wanted to see holographic Pac.

We young consumers are easily seduced by technology. You make anything high-tech and we will buy it. Look at the hit smartphone game Words With Friends. It’s Scrabble, just Scrabble. No one younger than 50 has bought a Scrabble board in decades, but when you put it on a touch screen, it becomes one of the top ranking mobile games.

3D movies are another example. When the craptastic “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” was re-released in 3D, enough people went to see that terrible movie repackaged with a bit of technology that it has grossed $101,887,215 worldwide to date.

We love anything that seems like a technological marvel, so why would a holographic concert be any different? It doesn’t matter that it’s not actually a hologram and just a 2D image projected on a slanted piece of Mylar. It doesn’t matter that this illusion has been around since the 1800s. It’s got the word “hologram” attached to it!

How cool will you sound when you tell your friends you’re going to the “holographic Rihanna concert”? Really cool, like “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century” cool.

Holographic concerts will become the next fad like 3D movies and Words With Friends. They will draw in fans with the allure of the future.

And it’s really too bad, because even though holographic concerts may sound like an awesome idea, they will destroy the connection between fan and artist suck the soul out of live music.

News Editor Matt Miller is a senior journalism major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. He can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter

 Posted by at 3:56 pm

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