By Shane McGinley
Technology can bring deceased artists back to life or singers who are not physically in the emirate
Hologram 3D concerts and theatre productions, which enables deceased superstars to be brought back to life for one last performance or can allow existing artists to play exclusive concerts without being physically present on stage, will be the future of live entertainment in Dubai within a matter of years, a leading industry player has predicted.
“I think it is the future of clubbing and entertainment. The reason why it hasn’t come to Dubai yet is because it requires a lot of investment and long-term planning but I think there is a big room for that market,” said Joe Tabet, chairman of Pragma Group, the Lebanese firm which manages the Cavalli Club and Cirque du Soir venues in Dubai.
Earlier this year, Michael Jackson appeared on stage as a 3D hologram at the Billboard Music Awards, almost five years after his sudden death. The Jackson hologram materialised sitting on a golden throne amid a host of real backing dancers and sang tracks from his latest posthumously released album Xscape.
Jackson joins a long list of other singers who have been brought to life in such a manner. Deceased rappers Ol' Dirty Bastard and Eazy-E made hologramatic appearances at concerts in 2013, while it was Tupac Shakur's hologram at 2012's Coachella festival in California which really got the trend started.
It is not just deceased singers that have used the technology, performers Janelle Monáe and M.I.A were able to jointly take to stage for a performance, even though they were 3,000 miles apart.
Similarly, the theatre world has incorporated the technology into productions, with a 3D hologram of Irish actor Liam Neeson playing the part of the narrator in a 2012 London production of The War of the Worlds musical.
The holograms reportedly cost around $400,000 to produce, a lot less than most artists cost to bring to Dubai, so what is to stop deceased actors like Marlon Brando appearing in a Dubai theatre production, a 3D Elvis Presley playing his greatest hits at the Dubai Media auditorium or Bob Dylan playing an intimate concert in the Madinat Jumeirah while sitting in a studio in London?
“Usually, the States is the leader in that industry. It started in Vegas a couple of years ago so give it three or four years before it becomes mature and it will be rolled out across the world and to Dubai,” Tabet predicted.