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Is Jimi Hendrix Touring North America This Year?

Is Jimi Hendrix Touring North America This Year?

Posted by Dalton Higgins on May 29, 2014

Back in the early 90s I remember for the first time watching a music video that featured legendary vocalist / musician Nat King Cole singing one of his classics “Unforgettable” as a duet with his daughter Natalie. The only thing that struck me as odd was that he had passed away some 25+ years earlier! 

While it was great to see old Nat crooning again, having grown up and hearing from my parents about his broad musical repertoire across the jazz and pop spectrum, which sat neatly alongside his hugely successful TV broadcast career, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he would have enjoyed seeing himself positioned this way. 

Fast forward to today, and the Hologram concert phenomenon has taken this concept of viewing computer-generated “live” performances for music audience to another level. From Tupac Shakur’s surprise appearance alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at the 2012 Coachella festival, to Japanese virtual performers like Hatsune Miku selling out stadiums, all the way to the late Michael Jackson’s recent, ahem, performance at the Billboard Music Awards, will what you understand to be a “live” concert experience mutate into one big phat 60 minute CGI clip? 

Should Hologram-styled concerts go the way of dial up internet and jheri curls, or is there some deeply hidden merit in seeing someone like Canadian songwriter extraordinaire Leslie Feist simultaneously perform in three different cities via hologram, despite the fact that she’s actually alive and fully capable of performing in the flesh?

To be fair to Feist, there have been incidences where a masked MF Doom reportedly appeared at two different gigs on the same day. Or how about if you book Jamaican reggae sound system Stone Love. There is a possibility you might now know what part of the crew you will be receiving, because they could conceivably be playing a slew of shows on that same evening under different guises. But that’s all different because there is still flesh and blood involved in seeing them ply their musical wares live (or as in MF Doom’s case, their alleged imposters).

However if you’ve paid a hard ticket cost to see an act, and covered your parking cost expenditure, or want to fully take in the whole concert experience by treating yourself to a cholesterol filled cheeseburger at the concession stand, it might not turn out to be as great an investment, if the act you planned on seeing is not even there (or still alive).

While as a long time festival and concert presenter, I was at first irked, dismayed and horrified to see a Tupac hologram perform a rap set to screaming ticket-buying audiences (with cuss words and vulgarities intact), another part of me does believe in supporting some industry-wide paradigm shifts. For example, while dozens of armchair critics in the blogosphere might argue that a hologram induced performance by a dead icon can never compete with seeing players who are alive, play live. And for those that cringed at the mere thought of MJ being resurrected to perform at music award show, please remember that Torontonians will easily fork out $30 to watch a DJ play songs for a few hours while annoyingly pumping their fists in the air, or shell out dough to purchase half-baked, unfinished posthumous recording projects from musicians who have long since entered the spirit world.

Sure, the live concert format’s original intent was to connect fans to their music heroes. But with the rising costs of presenting concerts combined with the logistical hurdles behind touring groups across, say, a large mass of land like Canada, overzealous concert promoters might be thinking they need to conjure up more of these hologram-styled concerts to prey on our hero worship of heavily romanticized dead performers. 

I most certainly would not pay to go see a Gregory Isaac’s, Notorious B.I.G or Marvin Gaye hologram concert. They’ve done their part and need to be left to rest in peace. While their estates might be raking in the dough for signing off on the execution of these computer generated shows, we have no way of knowing if their corpses would be doing back flips in their graves, knowing that their legacy is living on in such an unusual way.  

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