I personally did not make it to Coachella 2012 (and from all of us stuck at home to those who just returned or to those who will pack and head out to the sunny desert of Indio next weekend, we hate you). This is not a review of the festival, that comes after next week, but instead a hats off to the producers of the show and an article of shock and amazement and what was most likely the most surprising surprise guest of all time.
We had all heard the rumors of a Tupac hologram at Coachella 2012 weeks before the show began. I simply don’t think that anyone was quite prepared for the reality of the performance. For those of you that don’t use the internet except to check AOL with dial-up or for those of you who are still in shock and haven’t processed the situation, this is what happened: an incredibly realistic hologram of Tupac Shakur performed ’2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted’ and ‘Gangsta Party’ with Snoop Dogg on stage at Coachella 2012. Yes, all the other guests were cool and the entire set was incredible, but this, above anything else, has pushed the boundaries of music technology in a way unprecedented by any show ever. All jokes aside, this is some goddamn Star Wars shit. This is the future of music technology, but where is it leading us?
Truth is, nobody can really tell. Will big artists start phoning it in and using this technology to avoid the stress of performing live on tour? I certainly hope not, especially because I believe this technology is heading to much more interesting and progressive applications. Tupac’s performance was incredible for a few reasons. First, this man was one of the most influential rappers of the ’90s and perhaps of all time. He practically invented the west coast hip-hop sound. His death was unexpected, tragic, and senseless, and even if you weren’t alive, Tupac’s death has affected you in some way if you’ve ever listened to hip-hop. At Coachella 2012, if only for two songs, we were able to catch a glimpse into the legacy and influence that both Tupac and Snoop had and continue to have on rap, as well as pay tribute in the most proper of ways. The sentimental value of this performance may be lost on some, but those who attended Coachella this year and those who truly appreciate hip-hop saw the hologram for what it actually was – not some sort of gimmick to attract more attendees, but a true, honest, and well executed tribute to the man that has changed the face of west coast music. Obviously, it would be a crime to overuse this technology. But the possibilities of hyper realistic hologram technology offer a ton of exciting opportunities to the producers of large shows like Coachella, even moving outside the realm of hip-hop. A Kurt Cobain hologram would have a similar effect on a rock audience, and a Daft Punk appearance would be an incredible way to honor the two most influential Frenchmen on electronic music (once they’ve stopped for good, of course).
The possibilities of this technology are endless. Look forward to our continuing coverage of Coachella 2012 once weekend 2 has finished!
Some say they saw a tear on Snoop’s face as the hologram faded away into the warm Indio night. R.I.P. Tupac. You really are gone but not forgotten.