More than 25 years after his death, it looks as if Liberace is headed back out on tour thanks to some technological help.
The legendary performer is set to make his return to the stage sometime this year as a sort of “hologram”, with his unveiling taking place in Las Vegas, where he made a name for himself as a showman.
Many will use the word hologram, but that technically isn’t correct. While it will look like a hologram up on stage, the technology is actually a signature kind of illusion, created by a mixture of software, new projection techniques, and optical trickery aided by what’s called Pepper’s Ghost.
While this new venture may put off quite a few people—including some of his biggest fans—the Liberace Foundation is behind the venture entirely, even supplying Hologram USA with footage and artifacts for the program.
Apparently, the “hologram” won’t just be a typical projection, but one that will actually be able to “interact” with audience members. In fact, Jonathan Warren, the chairman of the Liberace Foundation, said in a release that those who attend the show will be able to “ feel the warmth from his heart, the sparkle of his eye”.
The two partners are working on a full show, not just a short cameo during some other performance. While full details aren’t yet available, such as when this will begin, what songs he will perform, or even what else will be happening during the show (can a video projection really command a stage for any length of time?), the companies creating the experience are looking to take the show on the road, starting in Sin City and traveling around the world after that.
The company behind the digital resurrection, Hologram USA, have done this before to much success. They are the firm that first made headlines for projecting rapper Tupac Shakur into a performance at the Coachella Music Festival, where he “performed” with contemporary hip-hop stars Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Since then, holograms and other digital projections have become a cool new thing in the industry, with plenty of acts—dead and alive alike—trying them out to enhance a performance.
Last year at the Billboard Music Awards, a hologram Michael Jackson appeared on stage and performed. What really set that show apart from other examples is that Jackson performed a previously-unreleased track that was featured on his posthumous Xscape album called “Slave To The Rhythm”. Even more recently, Paul McCartney used the technology in a new music video.