He was the singer with a hauntingly beautiful voice who penned some of the most poignant songs of the 60s and 70s. There are plenty of people that would kill to have seen Roy Orbison perform when he was alive but how about paying to watch him now as hologram?
“Of course I’d rather see him play live but, in this case, there are so many people that just missed out seeing my dad,” Roy’s youngest son Alex explains. “People that weren’t even born or that just want to see one more show.”
Orbison was 52 when he died of a heart attack in 1988. Thirty years later, he is about to sing again on a new world tour, supported on stage by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
We were invited to see the technology early on and he was beamed in as a hologram into the room I was in. Once we saw the way it moved, it does have an incredible look… It had to pass our sniff tests and we’re confident that, if we believe in it, the fans will believe in it too.
As hologram technology itself has advanced it is slowly becoming more popular.
It started with rapper Tupac wowing crowds with a one-off performance at Coachella music festival in 2012, almost two decades after his death. In November this year, deceased heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio began a world tour supported by the musicians he once played with.
As ridiculous as it may sound, death is no longer a barrier for an artist getting work. But, although Roy Orbison’s tour promises to be a unique experience, not everyone’s a fan of the concept.
Critics have questioned if it’s morally right to resurrect a dead artist without knowing if it’s what the artist would want and whether or not a hologram can ever really provide value for money for fans.
“There’s always something to be critical about – what would the critics find to do if they weren’t being critical?” Alex says.
“We waited for the technology to catch-up, to make sure we have something that’s believable. It’s something that’s not just an old concert re-broadcast, my dad will be appearing on stage and running through a set like he was here today.”
:: Roy Orbison: The Hologram Tour will arrive for 10 dates in the UK in April.