It appears the remaining members of Led Zeppelin were approached by a production team hoping to create a Zeppelin stage show comprised of holographic images of the band. It isn't clear if the idea was to have the remaining members—Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones—play along to a hologram of late drummer John Bonham, or to create holograms of the entire band similar to what Swedish pop group ABBA launched this week. ABBA Voyage is a completely holographic performance tour featuring the 70s sensations "performing" their greatest hits. While Page was in Wales for the annual Hay Festival, he said he and his former bandmates were asked to do "that sort of thing," alluding to the ABBA show, but that it "didn't really get moving," as Page, Plant, and Jones couldn't agree on details.
Page, however, let a door open to his possible thinking, remarking about the Elvis Presley stage show, Elvis: The Concert, "I bet that was good, but I didn't see it." But it’s a confusing comment, since that show, spearheaded by Elvis Presley Productions, did not feature The King in hologram form, and only used video and audio recordings in its production. It ran in the US and Europe from 1997 to 2007. Recently, Priscilla Presley was asked about a possible holographic Elvis tour, but she revealed she was not impressed by the technology.
However, like it or not, hologram tours are here for the foreseeable future—even though the waters are still relatively uncharted, and the ship can go under at any time. A holographic Whitney Houston tour was planned but then abruptly scrapped when a visual of Houston duetting with Christina Aguilera was leaked and subsequently panned by fans, forcing Houston’s estate to back out of the production. Still, there have been some successes. 2Pac famously wowed fans at Coachella in holographic form in 2012, and in the world of metal and hand rock, a holographic show featuring Ronnie James Dio ran to mixed review for two years before closing. Dio’s widow Wendy is now working on a different tribute show to her late husband that is more in line with the Elvis Presley production.
In 2021, she said, “I decided that I don't wanna do it anymore. I decided I want real Ronnie. So, we're working on a stage [show] with the Dio band…. Instead of having a hologram, it will have film of Ronnie with the live band playing and with special effects.”
While I can’t speak for most fans, my opinion—which I think is actually the consensus vote—is that is what is gone should stay gone. That’s just nature’s way, hard as it is. Because, deep down, nobody really wants to see a holographic version of their idols. Which, if we look within, presents a question about the deeper motives of the production companies and promoters of these shows. The fact that Elvis Presley Productions, and the living face of the Presley legacy, Priscilla, have been open about their doubts is telling. After all, they’ve both mass-produced and protected Elvis’s image and likeness to almost near perfect marks for decades. To me, it says there’s a hesitancy to tarnish a mega-successful brand by doing hologram tours or shows.
Besides, do we really need holograms when we have YouTube? I think not.