Roy Orbison thrilled a Los Angeles crowd last month with haunting renditions of his favorite hits such as ‘Only the Lonely’ and ‘Candyman.’
It was quite a striking performance because, as you may recall, Roy died 30 years ago of a heart attack.
Yet, there he was with a live orchestra, rising out of the stage in a dark Wiltern Theatre with his thick dark shades and iconic guitar and that smooth, emotive voice that sold millions of copies of “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Crying,” “Blue Bayou” and my favorite, “In Dreams.”
In fact, Roy is headed out on yet another national tour.
The native Texan can still bring audiences to tears and their feet courtesy of modern technology. He’s returned as a living hologram now, an electronic remastering of an iconic, long-deceased singer. It’s all creative, captivating and creepy.
Thanks to this technology and the music industry’s desire to tap languishing revenues from bygone days, Roy is among the first to be giving full live concerts long after death.
Three-dimensional holograms of other singers like Billie Holiday and Michael Jackson have given performances. But Orbison’s 65-minute, 16-song set, with orchestral accompaniment, is among the first full-length concerts to feature a holographic dead singer.
Judging by ticket sales in Europe and LA, we’ll be seeing more such resurrections.
The Orbison show was made by Base Hologram, which projects images of deceased celebrities through a single machine. The LA company paid a model to mimic Orbison’s movements. Computer animation created a digital representation of Orbison that’s beamed on the stage.
The singer’s voice came from old recordings and was then synced to the hologram’s movements and matched with a live orchestra.
“Not only can we experience these artists again,” said Brian Becker, head of Base Hologram, “we can experience them in different ways, in a new environment.”
Next up is famed opera singer Maria Callas, dead lo these 41 years. Her magnificent voice and performances live on now for new audiences through a hologram, and this time without the temperamental outbursts.