All it took was the one and only Coachella music festival to bring Tupac back from the dead…at least in Obi-Wan Kenobi hologram form. A hundred grand plus and the unequaled genius of Dr. Dre was what proved necessary to display Tupac’s hologram performing “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Gangstaz” with Snoop Dogg (for those with a more technical interest in the technology used, see this article). The shocker is that, from the youtube videos and first-hand reports, the hologram actually looked pretty good. This may not prompt the esteemed writers of LxL to rush out and buy tickets for the inevitable tour of Tupac reborn (who am I kidding, I’m in), but it did get the ball rolling on which deceased musicians we would like to see show up at a music festival near us. Our preference would be that these legends show up in hologram form, as opposed to zombified (aka Bob Dylan’s most recent tours), because zombies give us the willies. Enjoy, and let us know who you would like to see brought to computer-generated life.
10. Notorious B.I.G./Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Alright, so maybe the connection between Notorious and ODB are tenuous at best (Jay-Z sampled ODB’s “Brooklyn Zoo” for his track “Brooklyn’s Finest”, which contains a verse by Notorious). But with the power of post-humus production, we would like to see a Watch The Throne-esque collaboration featuring Big Poppa and Big Baby Jesus in a feast for the ears. Yes, ODB went by Big Baby Jesus for a period of time during his late-career nosedive.
9. Jerry Lee Lewis
Maybe the original “flamboyant” musician, who wouldn’t like to see a young Jerry Lee Lewis get on stage and attack a piano as only he could. If JLL could have picked up a piano and destroyed like Pete Townshend with a guitar, then I assure you, he would have done it.
8. Jim Morrison
This is the first entry on the list where it would be mandatory that the subject, like Tupac at Coachella, be shirtless. There is probably no more iconic shirtless musician than Morrison, and backed by the living members of The Doors performing “The End” would be a more-than-appropriate use of this new technology.
7. Bob Marley
Personally, I think that pure reggae in and of itself is only redeeming in a live setting. I just feel that it takes some rock, punk, or hip-hop infused into the genre to set it off on record. But live we have all been known to get down to the grooves of some pretty heady reggae, and the soulfulness of Bob Marley would be a great treat in an open-air sanctuary.
6. Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was a weirdo, and by all accounts one of the greatest performers of all time. Just watch this full recording of Queen at Live Aid in 1985, and try to tell us that a hologram Freddie backed by the boys of Queen wouldn’t bring Wembley to its knees 25+ years later.
5. James Brown
I’m not sure if a computer-generated hologram could move its feet the same way that James Brown does in the video below. Whether the mad scientists behind this new technology could pull it off or not, the hardest working man in show business would still command the attention of a crowd of people.
4. The Beatles
Throwing John Lennon and George Harrison holograms alongside currently living Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr would be every Beatles’ fans’ wet dream. Throw in a hologram Mark David Chapman to take out hologram John Lennon after the show: Priceless.
3. Jimi Hendrix
Like many of the people on this list, Hendrix had an incredible peak, and a demise that was much too soon. Hendrix’s larger than life persona and the possibility of seeing a digital reenactment of perhaps the greatest axe-man ever vault Hendrix to number three on our list.
2. Michael Jackson
The possibilities of a hologram performance by MJ and the number one our list are endless. Both artists had very long careers, and a “through-the-years” retrospective spanning every high point of said career would be truly thrilling. Just imagine hologram black MJ of The Jackson 5 opening the show and white emaciated MJ closing the show. Two ends of a spectrum and the feel-good story of the year.
1. Elvis Presley
“The King” narrowly beats out “The King of Pop”, and luckily Lil’ John is still alive or “The King of Crunk” may have taken the cake. The endless possibilities associated with longevity also apply to Elvis. A young hungry holo-Elvis begins the epic show, and fat (and probably still hungry) holo-Elvis could kick the bucket on the shitter backstage after the show. Long live the king.
Todd – John Coltrane
Todd’s got a bit of a hard-on for jazz pioneers, which is fine, just not really my thing. That being said, a Coltrane hologram in a smoky dive would put a smile on any music-lovers face, even if just for nostalgia’s sake.
Wes – The Beets
Yes, those Beets. You know, the cartoon band from the Nickelodeon classic Doug with such hits as “I Need More Allowance” and “Killer Tofu”. Wes’ pick raises the more existential question of whether something that was never living may be dead. In any event, The Beets in hologram would rock Wes’ panties right off.
Austin – Shannon Hoon
I love Blind Melon, and had the pleasure of seeing them within the past couple years with their new lead singer, who was a Shannon Hoon sound-a-like. It was awesome, but still lacked the emotion that the holographic image of this unsung frontman may provide. I considered Kurt Cobain, but don’t want to see Dave Grohl in either in person or hologram backing him up.