Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The weird week of Tupac, Coachella and Pepper’s Ghost

Man of the week? That would Tupac Shakur – or rather, his 2D image. The highlight of last weekend’s Coachella festival in the Californian desert didn’t turn out to be Radiohead, David Guetta, Bon Iver or any of the other …

Fri, Apr 20, 2012, 08:40

   

Man of the week? That would Tupac Shakur – or rather, his 2D image.

The highlight of last weekend’s Coachella festival in the Californian desert didn’t turn out to be Radiohead, David Guetta, Bon Iver or any of the other highly paid acts on the bill. Instead, everyone who was there or watching via an online stream was talking about the eeriely realistic visual projection of the rapper who was shot dead in Las Vegas in 1996.

Thanks to an old Victorian visual effect called Pepper’s Ghost, which was first used in an 1862 performance of a Charles Dickens’ novella, Tupac appeared onstage at Coachella alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre to perform “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted”

Perhaps, though, the man of the week accolade on this occasion can be shared with Dr Dre. While the rapper and producer has not released a scintilla of new music since 1999’s “2001”, he has made many millions flogging his Beats By Dr Dre headphones. It turns out that it was Dre’s idea to create a Tupac projection and he approached the Digital Domain tech company about the idea in 2011. The virtual Tupac is estimated to have cost between $100,000 and $400,000.

The fact that all involved managed to keep it a surprise until the actual reveal meant there was a massive reaction to Tupac’s appearance onstage. Such a buzz has led to widespread speculation about a tour and Tupac could well be coming to a shed (or field) near you.

We’re sure many promoters are currently dreaming of what other dead stars they can resurrect for world tours by projecting their images onto a sheet of Mylar plastic. Given the amount of spurious and dodgy posthumous releases which many dead acts get lumbered with, a hologram may actually turn out to be quite tasteful.

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