Tours, fans and holograms

If you were asked to name your favourite musical artists, you might answer with Michael Jackson, Tupac, Elvis Presley or Freddie Mercury. But what would you say if they could be brought back to life, so you could see them perform one more time? You’d most likely say yes.

But what if you were told that you could watch them perform as a simulation, would you still say yes? All these artists have been reborn as holograms at some point. Now, another iconic performer is about to join this world.

Hologram. Defined by the Cambridge dictionary as ‘a special type of photograph or image made with a laser in which the objects shown look solid, as if they are real, rather than flat’. It seems like such an ominous and futuristic concept. Yet holography has been a theory since 1947. However, only recently have holograms come out of their comfort zone and explored the 3-dimensional world. 2009 marked the year when holographic displays came into existence and not just in the world of Star Wars. Now they are everywhere, for better or for worse. Little did we know that the following year marked the development of moving holograms and therefore the resurrection to come of many departed artists.

Amy Winehouse is the latest artist to join this strange realm. The artist renowned for her iconic musical style, dark yet tragic private life and subsequent untimely death will tour as a hologram in late 2019. The artist, also known for her unique beehive hairstyle and dramatic eye makeup, sky-rocketed into fame after her award winning 2006 album ‘Back to Black’. Unfortunately, her toxic relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil led to Winehouse’s downhill spiral into erratic and violent behaviour, weight loss, drugs and alcohol. In the following years, Winehouse divorced Fielder-Civil and attempted to mend her ways in rehab. She attempted to make a comeback to the limelight; but was frequently called out for being intoxicated at these shows. Then on 23rd July 2011, Winehouse died at her home in Camden, London as a result of alcohol poisoning. But now she is in a sense, making another comeback.

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Photo sourced from Karen Blue on Flickr

Some people have called this tour disrespectful to the artist’s legacy, others say it is a great way to honour the singer and her music.

After hearing the news of the hologram tour, Amy Winehouse fan Alex was eager to share her views and experiences on the situation.

“I love her music and voice, seeing her live was exciting as she was such a big character, you never knew what spontaneous thing she would do next.” She added that: “I don’t think there has ever been a voice, sound or character like her, she may leave a legacy to her fans, who will forever love her music.”

When raising the discussion of hologram performances, Alex said: “I would be interested to see hologram tours of some artists that I never got to see when they were alive, however I don’t think I would be happy to pay a similar amount for that experience. It will never be the same.” In relation to Amy Winehouse, Alex said: “Having seen Amy in her prime live, before the drugs and fame, I am happy to have the memory of that experience.”

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Photo source: ‘Amy Winehouse singing at the Virgin Festival, Maryland by Greg Gebhardt’

In light to the whole discussion, what a better person to comment than an eccentric girl sitting in a café enjoying her coffee, who also happens to be a singer-songwriter named Nief Carroll.

“I believe she was an excellent singer and I really enjoy her music.” However, Nief then added that Winehouse’s life: “Just highlighted the damage in which fame can cause artists and the turmoil they do often go through.”

When asking Nief what she thought of the idea of a hologram tour, she said: “I must admit that I see more negatives than positives in a hologram tour… why would you pay potentially the same price as you would to see the artist truly be there, when you know it isn’t authentic?” She added: “Holograms completely cheapen what live music is and I feel is a corporate ploy for someone to earn a lot of money from something which isn’t rightfully theirs to earn from.”

I then spoke to Jessica Howe, who was not a great fan of Amy Winehouse.

When asking Jessica why she didn’t like Amy Winehouse, she laughed and said that: “She’s a bit too wild for my liking, her voice is good, but it does drone on too much.” Although she agreed with Nief and said that: “I feel her legacy leans more towards the dangers of fame as opposed to the music she created, for instance she does not have the same legacy as say Whitney Houston.”

When mentioning the whole controversy around the hologram tour, Jessica’s stance completely changed. “I don’t agree with it, I think it’s disrespectful and is only a way to make money.” She added that: “It just isn’t the same thing, and I think for the music to be truly enjoyed they should leave it as it is.”

Jessica then noted that: “I suppose it would provide an opportunity for fans to see artists once they have passed and ensures the artist’s music lives on and is still enjoyed live.”

It is hard to deny that controversies will inevitably surround bold decisions such as creating holograms of deceased artists. Different people will have varying opinions of the inevitable event. However, hologram shows do introduce the closest chance to see performances particularly by artists who passed long ago or suddenly. In most of the instances of artist holograms, this is clearly the case.

As noted by the interviewees, the public is quick to jump to the ulterior motive of corporate gain from the hologram tours. Perhaps this is true, but then can you not argue that if the technology is possible, what is to stop you?

It is clear that seven years after Winehouse’s untimely death, her music is still honoured and remembered whilst providing sentimental experiences for many groups of people, and not just fans.

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