TO HOLOGRAM OR NOT TO HOLOGRAM

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I have to admit that when I heard about Wendy Dio’s intention to realize a touring hologram of her late husband, I faced the whole thing as kind of a joke. Something inside me insisted that in the end this wasn’t going to happen, that the endeavor was overambitious wishful thinking and nothing more, that it would get swamped in technical difficulties or even strong opposition by fans. This was a few years back and the silence that followed the initial announcement seemed like an abortion of plans. So eventually stopped thinking about it. This was the case until an announcement that rocked the social media, caught me off guard.

 

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“Dio Returns” announces first confirmed shows for the year 2017! I had to overcome the initial chills originating from the macabre tour title and the inevitable Walking Dead thoughts before diving for info. The poster of the announcement is just name dropping of countries from 4 different continents (even Venezuela is mentioned while Africa is unfortunately excluded for the time being…) while only 9 European shows are confirmed for November and December. The plan is for the tour to include all big summer festivals as well.

I don’t know if “Dio Returns” will make it to Venezuela (or Terra de Fuego for all I care) but I am definitely troubled. Frankly the motives behind the whole plan are not of my immediate concern. Could be Wendy Dio’s selfless love for her late spouse and his legacy of it could be a shameless money making effort on the backs of the loyal fans (although a truly selfless act of respect towards Dio and his fans was Doug Aldrich’s decision to give Wendy an unreleased song from the unfinished Magica II sessions). What really bothers me is the endeavor itself. A touring hologram of an artist who is no longer with us. I know that thoughts and talks have been made concerning Elvis, Whitney Houston and 2pac Shakur but the specific thing knocks on our own front door. Today is Dio. Tomorrow Lemmy. Chuck Schuldiner. Freddie Mercury. And before we even realize it, holograms of entire bands. Come and see the hologram of the original Black Sabbath. The hologram of the MKII Deep Purple performs Machine Head in its entirety. Science fiction? Prophetic images from an ominous artistic future? These thoughts alone definitely bring some chills…

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The commercial success of “Dio Returns” will be the judge for the future. If the audience turns its back to this experiment them it’s most likely that our beloved music will get rid of other attempts. But I cannot risk any predictions. Unfortunately people remain stuck to the past. Most of the fans refuse to accept the mortality of their icons. They find it difficult to embrace the new, to give a chance to those who work hard in order to surpass their teachers and influences. They might prefer pay an inflated price to watch a hologram than to support the local band, the upcoming artist, the self-financed album with significantly less money. And how exactly is a hologram show connected to a real concert experience? The term we use for concerts, live performance, opposes in every sense to the whole hologram thing. And please spare me the excuse that this is an opportunity for all those who never had the chance to watch him perform while he was still alive. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about it. I won’t be able to see Freddie Mercury perform. Hell, Rush disbanded and I never went to any of their concerts! That’s how it is. People perish but their legacy lives on and more vivid that a product of digital antics. Freddie Mercury is immortalized through Wembley 1986 and we are very lucky that this particular moment in time was captured. Ronnie James Dio had a remarkable career. He participated in some of the greatest moments this music has to offer and is survived by his immortal legacy. Craig Goldy (one of the musicians that will accompany the hologram on stage) recently claimed that Dio would love the idea of a performing hologram. On the other hand, I am personally 100% sure that if someone asked him concerning the possibility of his hologram generating money even after his death, he would prefer that this money would be handed out to the struggling artists inspired by his legacy and not collected by a company that would profit in his name, years after his Immortal Soul exited his mortal body…

Kostas Kounadinis

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