Reuters asked a research firm which late performer people would like to see brought back via hologram, as the deceased rapper Tupac Shakur was during a performance at the Coachella music festival.
Surprisingly, the top vote-getter turned out to be a man whose last top 40 hit -- a collaboration with Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan -- was in 1990. The firm's polling and scoring method made Ray Charles the performer that most people would want to see perform again via hologram.
On the one hand, this makes sense. If we're going to resurrect musicians who've passed away, why waste time with any but the biggest and best possible? Especially when you consider that some of those on the list had their best days performing long before they left us. The no. 2 on the list, Elvis Presley, died in 1977 but it'd be a lot more fun to see a holographic recreation of one of his earlier shows, or even the 1968 "Comeback Special." Frank Sinatra at 80 was no match for Frank Sinatra at 40 or even 50.
On the other hand, I'm still 20th century enough to get creeped out by the thought of a dead person performing on stage. After all, the hologram is a 3-D recording of a show that already exists. It's not a new performance, so anyone on stage with the hologram can't really interact with it as much as respond to it. If the show has a 30-second gap in it, someone on stage with the hologram can't do a 35-second guitar solo. Yes, holograms could bring, say, Clarence Clemons back on stage with the E-Streeters. But while they could improvise and interact with the audience and its energy, the hologram could only do what had already been done.
Plus, how do you market this? A holographic Elvis might be a marvel of technology, but I don't think you can ever get away with calling it "'Live' in Concert."