Monday, April 16, 2012

Tupac Shakur's Spirit Loomed Large At Coachella 2012

On Sunday night April 15, a frighteningly lifelike hologram of the late rap legend Tupac Shakur miraculously appeared onstage and performed two songs before an amazed audience during day three of Coachella 2012 in Indio, California. The hologram entrance came right after headliners Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg performed the monster rap anthem "California Love." The Tupac apparition appeared like a mythical rap prophet and blew the minds of the 100,000 concert-goers. It was truly a chilling moment and felt like a resurrection. Fittingly, the first song performed by hologram Tupac was "Hail Mary." The track is from Pac's album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, which was released just eight weeks after he was gunned in Las Vegas in 1996 at the age of 25.

The performance was eerily haunting and also quite powerful. I can imagine how incredible it must have been for those in attendance watching it firsthand. "Hail Mary" was followed by Snoop Dogg and hologram Tupac performing "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted," a song that the two rap superstars recorded together for Pac's multi-platinum double-disc album All Eyez on Me (1996). The hologram Tupac tribute was by far the biggest highlight of Coachella's concert yesterday and will no doubt go down as one of the epic moments in rock-concert history. It was also one of the finest examples of how the integration of art and technology can sometimes produce magic.

However, in addition to the many positive responses to the Tupac hologram tribute, there were also a number of negative reactions to it as well. Some felt that it was disrespectful to the slain rapper's memory, that it was in poor taste and bordered on the creepy side. I personally thought it was brilliant and showed how Tupac will forever be remembered: the gifted, charismatic and controversial rap giant who out-swags most other rappers even in death.

But I do foresee a possible problem with all the buzz that the Tupac hologram tribute has generated. I have a feeling that the hologram tribute thing is going to spread like wildfire and ultimately be run into the ground. Many other late music legends will probably start getting the hologram treatment. I can see it now, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performing onstage with holograms of John Lennon and George Harrison for that long-awaited Beatles reunion, or a hologram of Michael Jackson moonwalking across the stage one last time for those who never got a chance to catch him in concert while he was alive.

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