Since the Tupac hologram performed at Coachella in 2012, heated debates have raged on about whether we should resurrect our favorite stars for the sake of nostalgia or leave them to rest in the afterlife.
When Justin Timberlake broached the idea of bringing out a Prince hologram during his 2018 Super Bowl performance, The Purple One's longtime collaborator, Sheila E, quickly dissuaded him, as Prince called the practice "demonic" in a 1998 interview. Chicago drill rapper Chief Keef (who is still alive, but banned from playing in London—where the tour kicks off—due to legal troubles) is currently gearing up for a hologram tour featuring a digital version of himself alongside Tupac, Biggie and Michael Jackson.
The latest hologram tour stars Roy Orbison, who died 30 years ago in 1988. The "In Dreams" singer's hologram is slated to perform at Oakland's Fox Theater on Oct. 1. For some fans, it'll be a dream come true. For others, seeing Orbison in the not-quite-flesh might trigger an uncanny valley feeling.
The Orbison hologram is set to perform his greatest hits with a full human orchestra, and his tracks have been remastered to suit the Fox's modern-day acoustics. The mystical-sounding marketing copy for the event from Base Hologram—eerily written as if Orbison is still alive—promises that the hologram will interact with the musicians and the audience.
The digitization of live music is a trend that doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon: scientists are currently developing AI that may soon be able to compose pop songs on par with what we hear on the radio, and the computer-generated Instagram influencer Lil Miquela—who was built by a tech startup and boasts 1.3 million human followers—has been releasing singles throughout the year.