Dead rapper performs at California music fest

My daughter watched him sing last night on YouTube, so it must be true.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival is underway here in California. Weekend 1 just finished, with another three days of performances coming April 20-22. Third night's bang-up headliner: Rapper Tupac Shakur. He died in 1996.

MTV's Gil Kaufman explains how Tupac returned from the grave via hologram. You can thank Dr. Dre and AV Concepts, which is based here in San Diego.

"This show was by far one of the most exciting yet challenging projects we have ever worked on", AV Concepts president Nick Smith says. "A highly choreographed, live, outdoor holographic production of this magnitude with hundreds of thousands of people watching gave us the added incentive, and pressure, to deliver".

2Pac performed with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog, reportedly before a crowd of 100,000.

Seriously, this is every music label executive's dream come true. Rock Star X dies young and posthumously sells beaucoup albums. Then he starts performing live gigs, resurrected by hologram, generating massive ticket sales, too.

"To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time anyone decided it would be a good idea to resurrect a long-dead music icon for the sole purpose of a performance", James Montgomery observes for MTV. "I'm willing to bet it won't be the last. Whether or not that's a good thing is largely up to you. Part séance, part neo-necromancy, Holo-pac also almost certainly heralds the coming of a brave new era of revenue-grabbing, legacy-tarnishing spectacle".

Do we perhaps love our musicians a little too much to let them go? Surely music labels love the money they generate. Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Zakarin says 2Pac's hologram may go on tour.

Then there are aging rockers. Who wants to see a bunch of balding, middle-aged fat guys singing yesteryear's hits. Put the old frakers behind a curtain, instead. They play and sing while holograms of their younger selves romp the stage and scream at moshers.

Say, Bud, you better check the fine print on that recording contract and see exactly who controls rights to your image when you die. Technology that amazes today could be mainstream tomorrow.

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