It looks like Roy Orbison fans will soon have something in common with disciples of late metal madman Ronnie James Dio.
This April, the sunglasses-sporting rock ’n’ roll pioneer will be the starring attraction of a tour titled In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert. That the icon responsible for such hits as “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “Only the Lonely” died of a heart attack in 1988 isn’t a concern, thanks to the marvels of modern technology.
In Dreams, which has announced dates in England (with North American shows to follow), will feature a hologram of Orbison playing his greatest hits with live backing from London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The venture, approved by the late singer’s estate, has come to life with the technological expertise of BASE Entertainment, a company with deep roots in Las Vegas live shows. (Assuming you can remember what you did during your last trip to Sin City, chances are you might have seen BASE's Jersey Boys or Absinthe.)
Hologram performances aren’t new, with a 3-D likeness of gunned-down rapper Tupac Shakur making headlines after teaming up with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre at Coachella in 2012.
Throwing holograms out on tour has proved a bit more challenging. To date, only Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath, Dio) has managed to return to life for more than a one-off.
The singer, who died in 2010 at age 67, has been resurrected for Dio Returns: The World Tour, which has seen his likeness screech on dates in countries that include Poland, Spain, Romania, and the United Kingdom. Providing live accompaniment has been surviving members of Dio.
There’s no disputing that the above preview of In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert looks incredible, so much so that BASE Hologram has given fans of dead rock stars across the world reason to live again. (BASE Hologram is also working on a show that will bring a digital likeness of opera great Maria Callas back from the grave.)
Imagine, given such wizardry, what the future might hold:
- Elvis Presley, dressed in his white-sequined jumpsuit and deep into his cheeseburgers phase, sitting on the crapper crooning late-period hits like “CC Rider” and “In the Ghetto” (toilet not depicted)
- Scott Weiland patching things up with the Stone Temple Toilets from the afterlife, giving the faux-grunge faithful re-creations of such performances as that time he totally shit the bed with “Vaseline”
- GG Allin roaring back to life buck-naked and smeared in blood to empty his bowels on-stage and then fling his feces at the crowd, followed by intimate and interactive fistfights with fans
- Queen finally getting rid of that American Idol guy that no one can stand to reunite with the long-gone Freddy Mercury and his forever-broken mike stand
- Sid Vicious coming back to re-create his infamous performance in The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, where he emptied a revolver into a well-heeled crowd during a ripping rendition of “My Way”
And if we’re really lucky, In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert will also include a guest appearance by the late, great Dennis Hopper, who’ll deliver his gloriously psychotic Blue Velvet performance in front of a live audience.
Dare to dream of a lipstick-smeared Frank Booth standing at centre stage, screaming “You know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fucking gun, fucker! You receive a love letter from me, you’re fucked forever! You understand, fuck? I’ll send you straight to hell, fucker!” Sit in the front row if you must, but if so, remember there's one rule: Don't you fucking look at him.