I have seen the past/future of rock n roll, and it's a hologram! I'm a huge Buddy Holly fan as well as Roy Orbison and last night I saw them both performing in hologram form at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood. The show will be at the State Theatre in New Brunswick Tuesday, Nov 12. To learn about the show click here.

Photo courtesy of State Theatre New Jersey
Photo courtesy of State Theatre New Jersey

What I saw was an amazing performance. It started off with a video presentation on Roy Orbison's life and career over the top of the stage with a backup band playing a "Pretty Woman" overture on one side and 2 female backup singers on the other. Before the vocals kick in, up pops hologram Roy Orbison center stage singing "Only The Lonely"

He looks so incredibly real standing behind the mike and delivering the songs in remastered audio. How do they do it? Marty Tudor, who's company BASE holograms productions, tells Allan Sculley in the Kansas City Star.

“We go through a casting process where we look for a body double,” Tudor said. “Then once we find the body double, we put them into rehearsal, and that is typically about 12 weeks of rehearsals, intense rehearsals (with the live band), and we use archive footage for reference, really. It’s a pretty intense process. Then we capture the body double doing the performances and we marry that up to the original vocals of the artist.”

The Kansas City Star article goes on to say that, "Computer technology used on the photos and footage of the body double to create highly accurate facial features of the artist, and that final footage is projected to the stage to create the hologram that looks very lifelike as it sings and performs to the music played by the live band."

Hologram Roy Orbison is opaque and so incredibly lifelike. He goes on to perform  "Running Scared," "Love Hurts" and "In Dreams," among others thanking the audience after the songs and motioning to the band and singers at different times throughout.

It doesn't take long, maybe a few minutes, to get over the fact that it's a hologram and then enjoy the show which you never would have gotten to see any other way. What I was waiting for was Buddy Holly and they didn't let me down.

After another video presentation featuring Buddy, he popped up center stage singing "Crying, Waiting, Hopin," "Peggy Sue," and "Maybe Baby." Holly was much more animated than Orbison because that's the way Buddy was live. You're reminded when you see him looking so young and vibrant that he was only 22 when he died in the infamous plane crash that some call "The Day The Music Died."

After an intermission, we're greeted with another video featuring Buddy's wife Maria Elena talking about her late husband. Then Buddy pops up singing "It's So Easy," That'll Be The Day" and an intimate performance of "True Love Ways," which was written for Maria and recorded four months before he died. You can only imagine how much bigger that song would have been had Buddy lived to tour it. Buddy would return later to sing "Well Alright"

For the second part of Roy Orbison, the video featured Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne,and Bono telling stories about their friend Roy then he pops us singing "You Got it", "Drove All Night" and finally wrapping it up with "Pretty Woman."

Classic rock has never been more alive but those who created it continue to pass away. Hologram shows are a great way to not only keep the music alive but present it the way it was meant to be by the artist at the age when they created it. I can easily see a young Bruce Springsteen hologram one day touring everything up to "Born In The USA", as well as "The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones or anyone else you can think of.

As they used to say on "The Six Million Dollar Man, "We have the technology."


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