You should probably be prepared for people to give you a funny look when you tell them you’re going to see Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison in concert. After all, Holly died in a 1959 plane crash that also took the lives of fellow rock stars Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Orbison also has passed; he died in 1988 while in the midst of a comeback as a member of the Traveling Wilburys.
While some may attend the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dream Tour show out of simple curiosity, there are plenty of other reasons to check out this enjoyable presentation.
5. The presentation is so real
If you didn’t know better, you could easily mistake the holograms for live people, at least until they disappear in a wisp of vapor that is also a hologram. You can’t see through the images and in no way do they appear ghostly. A five-piece band with two female backup singers performs live, with Orbison and Holly acting as a real live frontman would; saying ‘thank you’ after some songs, nodding to the band and waving to the audience. High-quality audio is used for the star’s vocals and when you see the fringe on Orbison’s jacket dancing around or Holly adjusting his glasses, you would swear that they are right there.
4. The hits of Roy Orbison
The show begins with a tribute to Orbison as the band plays an instrumental version of Roy’s big hit “Pretty Woman.” As the introduction fades the band breaks into another of Orbison’s smash hits, “Only the Lonely” as Orbison’s hologram appears in such a way that he seems to be elevated up to stage center from underneath the stage. The presentation is true to the way the performers acted on stage in real life, so accordingly the Orbison image pretty much just stands at the microphone and sings.
The setlist for Orbison’s show was no doubt chosen very carefully since the star had many decades worth of material to choose from. Among the songs performed are “Crying,” “Dream Baby,” “In Dreams,” “Love Hurts,” “Running Scared,” “I Drove All Night” and other favorites. The show ends with the band once again playing “Pretty Woman,” this time with Orbison singing.
3. The early rock sounds of Buddy Holly
Still referenced as being extremely influential today, Buddy Holly was without a doubt one of the best of the fathers of rock ‘n’ roll. Holly’s hologram rocks out pretty good as unlike Orbison, he is not content to just stand at the mike. With his electric guitar ever-present, Holly mugs at the audience, nods to the band and dances to the music while reeling off hits like “That’ll Be the Day,” “Not Fade Away,” “Peggy Sue,” “Rave On,” “Oh Boy” “It’s So Easy” and “Well…Alright.”
Holly really gets rocking when he plays “Maybe Baby,” giving the song extra oomph by performing a little jump and a sort of karate kick to get the band in gear. The song conveys the excitement of what it must have been like to actually see Holly perform some 60-years ago.
2. Hear modern-day performers talk about the legends
A little bit of documentary footage is projected on a screen behind the stage during the show, featuring commentary about both stars. Maria Elena Holly talks about her late husband and a coterie of stars including Bono, Don McLean, Duane Eddy, Brian May of Queen, Paul Anka and Peter Asher reveal how they were influenced by Orbison, Holly or both. Some footage that was shot while Orbison was in the recording studio with the Traveling Wilburys is seen and it includes commentary from the late Tom Petty who tells a brief funny story about Orbison involving a particular soft drink.
1. See it while you can
It’s kind of odd to say since the singers involved have already been gone for a long time, but fans should see this show before it, well, disappears. In theory, the computer programming for the show and the equipment to project it aren’t going anywhere and the technology is only going to get better as time goes on. But since hologram entertainment will probably be a big part of music tours in the future, programs for acts like Holly and Orbison may not be so easy to see once the industry gets clearance to mount tours featuring the likes of say, Led Zeppelin. Interested fans should make an effort to see this historic presentation now.