A wave of some of our favourite artists have recently announced their comeback tours, and are set to play Irish dates in 2019. Fleetwood Mac, Bon Jovi, The Cure and the Spice Girls are just some of the acts who will be returning to the delight of their fans. But as exciting as the return of such acts may be, many have become familiar with the disappointment of missing out on tickets. Nowadays it seems everyone is hunting for concert tickets, but no one is getting them as fans look to secondary resale sites in bids of desperation.
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell for say… €700? That’s the price some Fleetwood Mac tickets are being sold for on resale sites. Ticket touts have increasingly become somewhat of a plague within the concert industry, leeching on genuine music-lover’s pockets. The recently approved Private Members Bill proposed by Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly and Fine Gael’s Noel Rock seeks to amend this issue by banning the extortionate resale of tickets for entertainment events and also cracking down on the use of bot software swiping up excess number of tickets. Here’s hoping Stephen and Noel get their much desired Spice Girl tickets eventually!
Along with a love for their music, the sell-out popularity of these comeback tours speaks to a nostalgic captivation with the past, and the fact that there are fans spending ridiculous amounts of money for resale tickets also bears testament to this fascination. Perhaps the fear of never getting another chance to see some older acts plays a part. The older these bands and artists get, the more desperate fans seem to become; could this be the last chance they ever get to see Keith Richards before he finally succumbs to death?
But in some cases, the death of the artist might not be the be-all and the end-all. If you had the chance to go back in time and see any band or musician perform in person, who would you choose? Without sounding too morbid, if you’ve ever felt some generational dysphoria and wished that you could go back in time and see a deceased artist perform, there may still be hope. Indeed, the future of concerts may soon lend from music history as holographic imagery now makes it possible for audiences to watch music legends of the past perform seemingly in the flesh – giving new meaning to the comeback tour trope. The question of whether these holographic concerts are a technological marvel or macabre display divides opinion and also raises an important question on the control an artist has over the continuation of their own legacy, and maybe even life, after they’re gone.
Mitch Winehouse, Amy Winehouse’s father says of his daughter: “We’re keeping her legacy alive, her legacy is not just music now, her legacy is something else”. Her holographic return to the stage “is something that we’re all going to have to get used to” he adds, to the disgust of many of her fans. Set to launch late next year, a 3D projection of the late singer will perform digitally remastered versions of her biggest hits, accompanied by a live band and backing vocalists.
These beyond-the-grave performances are not necessarily new as departed icons such as Tupac at Coachella in 2012 and Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards have caused their share of controversy. Base Hologram, the company which will also roll out Amy’s ‘comeback’ tour, has already begun the U.S leg of “Pretty Woman” singer, Roy Orbison’s hologram tour which is set to reach Ireland in late April of next year. The late Prince even publicly declared his disdain for holographic performances saying that they are “the most demonic thing imaginable” adding “if I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age.” So don’t start getting excited thinking you might be in with a chance of catching ‘Purple Rain’ or ‘Raspberry Beret’ live at some point in the future.
Ethics aside, a hologram can ultimately never replace the authenticity of a live performance, something that real-life artists can offer through comeback tours. Although it can afford people the opportunity to appreciate the music of their favourite acts in a unique, if not strange, way, the lack of real crowd engagement could leave fans with a feeling of disconnect. Considering this, it becomes a personal decision; is it worth it? Maybe we can just make do without watching Freddie Mercury at Live Aid for the hundredth time.