It dawned on me earlier today that, in the midst of all the chatter and meme-making inspired by Hologram Tupac’s Coachella performance and possible tour, I’d shockingly yet to read any first-hand account — outside of a few tweets — of what it was like to actually be there at Coachella at the precise moment Hologram Tupac took the stage. I mean, this has all the makings of one of those rare “I was there” moments in life where a few people get to witness something in person with their own eyes that human beings will be talking about for years. Imagine how pissed you’d be if you were at Coachella on Sunday night but had gone to pee in a Port-O-Potty and missed the whole thing? (Maybe this is why some people just piss in their pants at Coachella — so they don’t miss anything?)
Anyway, this morning I reached out via email to a friend who was there for her thoughts, impressions, etc. What follows is her response to my query.
If I’d just seen it on YouTube I would have thought it was lame. I think you had to be there in person to appreciate how real it looked. Like, anyone can make something look real on YouTube. But (Hologram Tupac) was running around stage and looked like a human. And I was standing two football fields away.
The other thing is: it cost Dre like $400K. They couldn’t have gotten much more than that to perform Coachella, so this was totally and completely a balls-to-the-wall risk like, if this sucks I’ll be mocked and out half a million dollars. The other thing is, Snoop managed to somehow not f*ck it up, despite smoking through the entire set. And do you really think Snoop Dogg spent a lot of time in dress rehearsal?
I was, and continue to be, so impressed. A lot of us stupid people generally assume Radiohead is about a million times more creative and artistically brilliant than rappers like Dre and Snoop. But then you remember, Jesus, Dre must be a genius because look at everything he’s accomplished in his life, and all the popular music he’s responsible for. The set was a relentless hour of hits. And whenever you can get 50 Cent or Eminem to drive two hours to the f*cking desert to hop on stage and perform two songs, you’re a f*cking boss.
The main thing I kept thinking during that show was that I got my money’s worth on two fronts. Coachella tickets are not cheap. (Mine was $375 with a shuttle pass). That show felt expensive — like I could see where my money was going — and it also felt important, like I am here right now witnessing this moment in history.
Another way to look at it as the Coachella organizers may have helped Dre pay for that hologram because of all the publicity the festival is getting because of it. I don’t think they did (I don’t think they had any way of knowing how spectacular it would be unless they went to a dress rehearsal in Long Beach somewhere, and even then there is no way to know how it would play in front of 70,000 people). But now on Twitter if you search Coachella it’s nothing but people saying “I WILL NOT MISS COACHELLA NEXT YEAR” or “COACHELLA IS ON MY BUCKET LIST.” They are going to wind up making so much money off this sh*t. They might have to extend it to three weekends next year. And Dre will take the hologram on a stadium tour and make a sh*tload of money, and everyone goes home happy.
And the thing is! The thing is! I was completely freaked out. I was the only person in my group not on drugs (I was on tequila) and I was so pissed that they’d played California Love right before it and NOT mentioned 2Pac at ALL. Like HOW COULD THEY DO THAT. I was asking my friends HOW COULD THEY DO THAT. And then there he was. I thought I was seeing things. One of my friends who was really high got really upset that 2Pac was dead and why are they doing this. A few were confused and thought he might be alive now. I knew it was a hologram right off the bat but then it looked so real that I got pissed like WHY DO THEY HAVE A 2PAC impersonator?! But then they showed his face on the big screen and then I just got quiet, as did everyone around me. And then at the end he vanished.
Whether you loved it or hated it Dr Dre gave people more to think about at a concert than anyone else has in a long time. Not only from a technology standpoint but from a raising people from the dead standpoint. And ew! This company says when they do this it’s usually to bring executives back to life at private events. Gross!!
Man, I kinda wish I could have been there now. I guess I’ll have to settle for living vicariously through people like my friend and this guy instead…
(Coachella guy pic via Buzzfeed)