By: Brennan Carley, Taylor Cavallo and Dan Siering
Maybe it’s a little too early to be reminiscing about Amy Winehouse and The Monkees, but how awesomely poppy would that festival be? So many artists have butchered Winehouse’s classics in the months following her untimely passing-it would only be suiting for the star’s memory to be preserved by her most exciting and flawless performances. She had some truly iconic moments, including a later in life studio recording with the legendary Tony Bennett, which audiences have only captured glimpses of-it would thus be easy to preserve her at her best. It would be, for me at least, a tear-jerking moment to see her iconic beehive hair flouncing around on the stage. Similarly, reuniting Davey Jones and the Monkees onstage would be one of the most exciting events in musical history. The band never really stopped making appearances over the years, frequently popping up at the Disney parks and other venues to large, supportive crowds. It might still be too raw, but people would forget all about the wounds when the opening chords of “I’m A Believer” echo across the crowd.
Similarly, Queen’s inclusion is a must in a completely holographic festival, especially considering Adam Lambert’s upcoming stint with the band replacing Freddy Mercury. While Lambert certainly has impressive vocal chops, nothing matches Mercury’s primal showmanship-treat yourself to a YouTube clip of his early performances with the band. Queen’s songs have been covered nearly to death on shows like ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Voice,’ so bring back Mercury and his iconic howl. He was the original Lady Gaga, after all.
While he might not get along with Tupac so well, the Notorious B.I. G. would absolutely slay in a holographic appearance. His presence in the rap world has been cemented as truly iconic, and he still maintains a pretty active presence on rap radio (at least in New York City, where he hails from). His appearance at Hologram Coachella would also allow Lil Kim the opportunity to step back onto the scene without having to take shots at other female rappers. Likewise, ODB’s inclusion in the lineup would bring a blast-from-the-past quality to the music. His music hasn’t held up popularity-wise like Biggie’s, so he’s primed for a comeback. Just think: these two alone would draw rap aficionados and casual music listeners. Heck, my mother would go to a festival with the two (she’s a not-so-closeted rap fan, holler at her).
My parents never really played much Jeff Buckley when I was younger, so I’ll admit that I was late to the party, but even if the star were just to sing the entirety of his swoon-worthy album ‘Grace,’ crowds would go nuts. His voice and lyrics are some of the most romantic of the past several decades. In a just world, Buckley would still be alive and headlining arenas across the country with hits like “Eternal Life” and “Forget Her.” He’s like a white Marvin Gaye, capable of capturing all of life’s emotions in several breaths.
Sure, seeing Pac resurrected from the dead was quite the spectacle, but if I had control of the holograms I would have turned back the clock a bit further. For some odd and obscure reason, I developed a strong interest for anything and everything punk rock during my late teenage years. Ever since I developed this passion, I have desired to see some of the trailblazers of the movement-the real innovators who developed the definition of the genre. That’s why, at my stage at Hologram Coachella, I would resurrect the great Sid Vicious, and have The Sex Pistols, the most influential band of the punk movement, hologrammed onto stage to kick off the night. Imagine Vicious, who died at the ripe age of 23, back on stage and slapping the bass next to Johnny Rotten and the rest of the guys while they performed a full rendition of ‘Never Mind the Bollocks.’ I couldn’t help but slap on my leather jacket.
Keeping with the angsty intensity, after The Pistols I would beam up the tweenage versions of Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Lita Ford and the rest of The Runways, L.A.’s finest girl rock group whose brief yet powerful reign over the Sunset Trip in the mid-’70s left a lasting mark on rock ‘n’ roll. Performing with the same fervor that they exuded on their ‘Live in Japan’ album, my favorite novelty act of all time would keep the Coachella buzzing with a stirring rendition of “Cherry Bomb.”
Then the punk sector would close with my favorite act to be born from punk: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Topper Headon-also known as The Clash. With the majesty of hologram technology, the three living band members could reunite with leader singer Strummer and recreate the golden days of their innovative blend of reggae and punk.
Aside from my rather strange obsession with nihilist rockers, my parents passed on to me a great love for the legendary groups of rock ‘n’ roll, two of which I would love to reunite on the Coachella hologram stage. First to grace the stage would be my favorite band from the late ’80s, Guns N’ Roses. A Coachella hologram would be the perfect means to reunite the original members with their disgruntled lead singer, Axl Rose. Clear from all drama, G N’ R could continue the hard-hitting night by selecting gems from their momentous album, ‘Appetite for Destruction.’
Then would come the time when I would slow things down and reunite the greatest four part harmony to ever grace the stage: Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. While the entire quartet is still alive, artistic differences have made it virtually impossible for the four to perform together, as proven during their unsuccessful tour in 2006. Nothing would mellow people out better after the punk fury than the soothing melodies of the folk rock super group. I would be sure to have the hologram technicians have most of the performance stem from their album ‘So Far’, perhaps my favorite folk LP of all time.
The soothing would continue with the return of Tennessee folk innovators Big Star, where deceased singers Alex Chilton and Chris Bell would be able to grace the stage together and produce their infamous acoustic sounds. The night of apparitions would then close with the most imposing female ever to hit the music industry: the one and only Janis Joplin. Joplin would end the hit with a bang using her passionate vocals and classic collection of songs. Leave it to one of the most mythical figures in music to end the most mythical night at Coachella. Just make sure that Janis, Axl, and Sid’s holograms don’t go out partying after the show.
I am unfortunate enough to say that all the musicians I hold close to my heart are dead, or on a permanent hiatus. However eerie it may be, an exclusively hologram music festival would be my ideal situation. So many people nowadays say that they had the unfortunate fate of being born in the wrong generation-they love the classic rock of the ’60s and ’70s, but will never get to experience their favorite artists live (again, these are things I say to myself). As you can imagine, I had a fairly easy time in designing this ultimate music festival that can transcend space and time and raise people from the dead.
My list obviously includes three members of the 27 Club: Jimi Hendrix; front man of The Doors, Jim Morrison; and the lead singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain. I consider it a true loss to our generation that we will never get to experience a live Hendrix guitar solo, watch Morrison work a stage and captivate his audience, or hear the sometimes mellow, always exhilarating voice of Cobain performing an acoustic session. Hendrix would no doubt perform hits such as “Fire,” “Castles Made of Sand,” and “The Wind Cries Mary.” The Doors, who always deliver a high-energy performance, would open with “Love Street” and finish their set with “Light My Fire,” always a crowd favorite. If we’re lucky, maybe Hendrix will light his guitar on fire, Morrison will strip and Cobain will famously smash one of his guitars at the end of his set. While all three members of Cream are still alive, they were a band that only very few were lucky enough to see in concert, as they were only together for two years. Their permanent hiatus was only briefly lifted in 2005 for two performances, one in Royal Albert Hall in London and Madison Square Garden in New York City. As expected, those tickets cost a small fortune, infinitely more than a Coachella ticket does. Another Cream reunion is almost as likely as bringing Cobain and co. back from the dead, so their presence at the Hologram Coachella would certainly be greatly appreciated and anticipated. The Velvet Underground and Nico would perform their entire collaborative, iconic album, released in 1967, for a relaxing break from the earlier four performers.
For some variety and for lovers of soul, Otis Redding and Buddy Holly would be a great finish to a day filled with classic rock, hypnotizing guitars and intoxicating vocals, ending the day on a high note with love ballads and upbeat rock ‘n’ roll jams. This set list not only offers a great variety of music that will never be heard live again, but it also presents great opportunities for some great on-stage surprise collaborations.