TORONTO — Bring back the deceased guitarist blues Jeff Healey hologram may be a sacrilege to many of his admirers, but one of the former members of his group remains puzzled in the face of this new technology.
Tom Stephen, former drummer and manager of the Jeff Healey Band, had mixed feelings when an entertainment business australian it proposed to broadcast a hologram of his former sidekick in a show of blues.
The concert intended to celebrate the stars of this musical genre, with other holograms, including possibly that of B. B. King.
The company proposed to the other members of the canadian group to play alongside a hologram of musician star, who died of cancer at the age of 41 years.
This would allow the public to enjoy the performances very original Healey, which had sometimes his electric guitar on his knees, for them to play.
But Tom Stephen remained reluctant, he had the impression of being “exploited”.
“Is it that you’re going to really see this musical experience that you have missed?” he asks.
He imagined playing the biggest success of the group, such as Angel Eyes, and concluded that he would miss the camaraderie between the musicians.
“How this would interact every night with a hologram of a member of a group with which thou hast past 18 years? he said. Personally, I would find it very difficult.”
Stephen declined the offer of the company, but he has not ruled out the possibility of designing a hologram of the deceased musician.
More and more shows
In the next few years, the musicians and the audience will face the growing presence of the entertainment holograms.
The experience is already presented in some theaters in north america, where the virtual image of the crooner died, Roy Orbison, had received mixed reviews a few months ago. The opera singer Maria Callas has also been resurrected in a performance that, according to some critics, was more like a ghost floating to a physical entity.
Glenn Gould was added to the circuit of the holograms in 2019. The deceased canadian pianist will be accompanied by orchestras live as part of a tour organized with its domain.
At about the same time, the hologram of Amy Winehouse will be touring with a group, while the great stars of the pop Swedish ABBA will set up a meeting digital.
These shows are not real holograms in the technical sense of the term, but rather three-dimensional images projected with the aid of a mirror on a transparent screen, a bit like a movie.
And most of the performances are not just an illusion on the stage, they are also part of a studio production developed in which the faces of the performers dead are transposed on the body of actors alive. In the case of Roy Orbison, another musician has mimicked her performance before the famous face of the singer is stuck digitally on the body of the replacement.
Experiences not always conclusive
It remains difficult to convince the public by combining all of these layers are artificial, suggests Kiran Bhumber, the co-creator of Telepresence, a virtual reality experience at the arts centre on the Western Front in Vancouver, where one can see a trumpet player wearing a virtual reality helmet.
“[The challenge is] how to create an interesting experience, which pleases the public, she said. Because there is a risk that it becomes a gimmick.”
“There is nothing that can replace the physical presence of human — the feeling of a true human emotions ”
Last summer, at the square Yonge-Dundas Toronto, the risk of a performance virtual have been exposed to the great day. Passers-by curious had gathered in front of a show, which featured holograms of a young Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and members of the Black Eyed Peas.
Most people were watching the show as if it was a tv screen. But the applause suggested that the impression was mixed, even if the animators were on hand to motivate the crowd.
While the audience is wondering how to react to the hologram, some artists are fascinated by the potential of evolving technology.
The singer of the group, Walk Off the Earth Sarah Blackwood was intrigued when she saw a projection of Feist, who shone in three canadian cities as part of the launch of a smart phone. The show has inspired to consider the benefits of such technology.
“As an artist, one of the things that we always talk about is how we will leave our legacy”, she explained.
“I don’t want to disappear in the stack of musicians, including one no longer remembers. Then, have the opportunity to come back and share music with people and go on like this, I think it is a very interesting concept.”
Serena Ryder believes that the holograms may be relevant for living artists like her who do not appreciate long trips.
The singer of pop-rock sees himself as a performer, “solitaire”, then replace one of his shows by a projection of itself seemed interesting.
But Ms Ryder is not convinced that her hologram recréerait the magic of a live performance.
“There is nothing that can replace the physical presence of human — the feeling of a true human emotions”, she entrusted.
Tom Stephen admits that he is captivated by the technological possibilities, even if it was not warm to the idea of participating in a show with a hologram.
There are some performances in holograms that he wants to see. One of them would be to attend a performance of the Beatles in their hometown of Liverpool.
“I believe that I would be blown away and that this would be a really exciting experience”, he said.
Stephen recognizes, however, that it may not have always the possibility to control the production of holograms of the group.
“I suspect that in the future, it will become more common, whether good or bad. I don’t know if we can prevent that,” he concluded.