#the beatles

The Case For Holographic Concerts

I was in Las Vegas last week and managed to see two Cirque du Soleil shows. My favorite part of both shows was actually quite similar. And I suspect we’re going to see a lot more of it in the future.

In The Beatles show (more about that here), things kicked off with giant silhouettes of the band playing one of their songs. This was topped in the Michael Jackson show by a hologram of the artist performing “with” the Cirque artists.

One was great. The other was spectacular.

This begs the question: why don’t we see more of this? That is, live performances of music where holograms (or at least silhouettes) stand in for the missing performers?

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Be The Beatles

Last night I saw Love, the Cirque du Soleil show set to the music of The Beatles. As you might imagine, it was great. But then again, I think basically anything featuring the music of The Beatles would be great. Even the San Francisco 49ers excrutiating loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game tonight would have been great set to the music of The Beatles. 1

While seemingly every band in the world has their share of detractors, The Beatles don’t seem to. Everyone loves The Beatles. Is it because they only had a fairly short (though extremely prolific) amount of time recording music together? Maybe. But they’re obviously ubiquitous enough even after all these decades that plenty of people should have gotten sick of them.

Instead, I think the key to The Beatles music — and you’ll forgive me if this is a completely unoriginal thought — is that it was so varied. This is what mainly stuck out to me last night at the Cirque show as they jumped from one hit song to another, seemingly in random order. The Beatles have very few songs that actually sound the same.

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Davin O’Dwyer:

In 1962, the head of A&R at Decca Records, Dick Rowe, rejected the chance to sign the Beatles, allegedly telling Brian Epstein that the foursome had no chance of making it in the music industry.

Reality, of course, proved otherwise and, despite Rowe’s other successes in the business, he was from that point on destined to be remembered as the buffoon who couldn’t spot how amazing the Beatles were.

Now replace “music label A&R man” with “technology company chief executive” and “the Beatles” with “the iPhone”, and you might get a picture of the fate history has in store for Steve Ballmer.

Dead on. One statement, right or wrong, will come to define Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft legacy: “No chance the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”

To be fair, Ballmer was talking about the $500 subsidized iPhone — a model which Apple later moved away from (complete with a partial refund to initial buyers). But the entire reaction is ridiculous. It’s Goliath not only laughing at David, but almost refusing to acknowledge he even exists in the first place.

"Right now, we’re selling millions and millions and millions of phones a year, Apple is selling zero phones a year." Maybe the dumbest statement in the history of tech. Certainly the most ill-advised.

All made a million times worse by the fact that just a few years later, the iPhone would become a bigger business than all of Microsoft.