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Deceased Singers Perform Again as Holograms

Do you see the light?

band on stage all dressed in white playing instuments

Courtesy Hologram USA

A hologram "Lady Day" performance featuring Billie Holiday.

Billie Holiday is singing at a theater in Los Angeles. And Roy Orbison is on tour in the U.K. This after Michael Jackson moonwalked at an awards show, Elvis Presley appeared on American Idol and Tupac rapped at a music festival, all despite having passed on. Each of these performances was possible because of the latest high-tech advances in holograms. BASE Hologram has resurrected Orbison, while Hologram USA is staging the Billie Holiday show at its new theater dedicated to the technology; the company has deals with the estates of Whitney Houston, Jackie Wilson, Buddy Holly, Andy Kaufman, Redd Foxx and others for more “revivals.”

We asked some music experts: Are hologram performances cool or creepy?

Cool: “If people are interested, more power to them. Music can bring light no matter how you experience it.” ­— Craig Rosen, Yahoo Music

Creepy: “I still cling to the enduring music-fan dream that when I look at a performer, they actually could be looking back. But if Elvis Presley or Tupac wants to get together and discuss it with me, I’m happy to reconsider.” — David Wild, contributing editor for Rolling Stone

Cool: “A conscientiously created hologram might afford insight into performance styles of artists no longer available to observe: How did Elvis do that hip shake after all? It can be recreated.” — Ann Powers, NPR Music

Creepy: “All the holograms I’ve seen to date look like apparitions. I assume they’ll look more and more real as that technology gets perfected, but I’d just as soon watch the real thing on my Betamax.” — Donnie Simpson, Washington, D.C., radio personality and TV One talk show host

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