Hey, remember when deceased rapper Tupac Shakur came strolling onto the stage at Coachella and yelled, '“What the f*** is up, Coachellaaaaaaa?" and people totally lost their minds because it looked exactly like Tupac only it was a hologram (except it wasn't really a hologram but it's easier for us all to say "hologram" than "projected 2-D image") and all of a sudden it seemed like digitally resurrected musicians were going to take over the world? Well, we've seen the technology used to bring other famous dead people back to life, but Keith Urban may have started a lucrative new trend with his "Keith Urban Experience" Australian mall tour.
See, Keith Urban isn't actually appearing in the malls. It's his hologram. And if this is the future, I think it's weird as hell.
Urban's hologram setup is all part of a promotion for a new app by ANZ Bank. What banking has to do with Keith Urban, I have no idea, but they clearly have lots of money to invest in this marketing venture, which includes an interactive element where fans can get on stage with "Urban" (this is me doing exaggerated air quotes) and choose from a variety of instruments in order to perform with him.
As far as likeness goes, I feel like Tupac looked more realistic -- Urban comes across more like a video game character:
That didn't stop fans from cheering, clapping, and taking photos of the hologram, though. Check out the Keith Urban Experience in action:
You know, I can understand how seeing something like this at a mall would be entertaining. It's eye-catching and different and it's probably fun to get up on stage and shake a tambourine if you're the sort of person who likes to get on stage and shake tambourines. But the fact that people were whooping and cheering for a computer-generated image just seems ... crazy? Hey mall-goers, Keith Urban can't hear you.
(Also, is it just me or does it look like he's simply being displayed on a bigscreen TV? This seems like an even bigger misinterpretation of the term "hologram.")
I don't know what Urban was paid to lend his appearance for this, but I imagine it was worth it. A digital performance is a total win for everyone -- musicians don't have to actually do anything, promoters get a crowd-pleasing production without the ass-painery of dealing with real human beings, and apparently audiences are ready to eat this stuff up. How long before we see digital world tours? Heck, we no longer expect musicians to be able to sing, so why should we expect them to appear in person?
Would you go see a "hologram" version of your favorite musician?
Image via KeithUrban.net