The Undead Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly Take the Stage

Arts & Culture


As digital footprints grow increasingly comprehensive, the deceased leave behind nearly encyclopedic records of their lives. Pictures, videos, emails or tweets can all contribute to a living, breathing legacy, especially when considering celebrities who have left behind bodies of work that have touched their countless fans. In the case of Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, whose careers continue to carry weight today, holograms can now enhance the staying power of their iconic music. On Monday, November 4th, the Van Wezel hosts The Rock ‘n’ Roll Dream Tour, a show in which holographic versions of Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison will perform their greatest hits accompanied by a live band. 

“Technology can make the past more relatable,” says Martin Tudor, CEO of BASE Hologram Productions and executive producer of the show. Tudor’s company specializes in the production of shows centered on the holographic representation of deceased and beloved artists. The holograms are designed from the ground up using real actors to model the movements and on-stage personas, while isolated vocal recordings of each artist are remastered to complement the live band. His company has produced reality-bending shows featuring the music and holographic likenesses of Whitney Houston and Maria Callas, as well as an immersive educational program that explores dinosaurs. But for Tudor, there is something special about Holly’s and Orbison’s place in the panoply of American popular culture. 

“These guys are eminent in the world of music,” says Tudor, “and if you think about it, you probably hear Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison songs more than Beyoncé in everyday life.” That is part of what makes the hologram tour so appealing to a diverse demographic. Tudor says he sees lots of young people at shows who were originally just interested in the novelty of the hologram format, while other show-goers grew up with the music and are in search of a bit of nostalgia. Whatever the attraction to the show, Tudor believes the hybrid format (hologram and live accompaniment) provides a very real emotional response. “This is the closest anyone can get at this time to seeing these guys perform live,” says Tudor. 

For those interested in gauging the ability of a hologram to reframe the way we enjoy the legacies of our favorite artists, tickets are still available for the November 4th show at the Van Wezel. 


Pictured: Photo courtesy of BASE Hologram Productions

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