A Juan Gabriel hologram made its debut at the Eternamente Juan Gabriel tribute concert.
The hologram, made possible by Hologram USA part of FOTV Media Group, will perform alongside a live orchestra, dancers and other mega stars at an event that "won't be your typical concert," according to producer Gustavo Farías.
"Think Cirque Du Soleil," Farías tells Billboard ahead of the homage with a lineup that includes artists like Juanes, Jesse & Joy, John Fogerty, Yuridia, Kinky, among others. "If you could see what we've put together, it's just unbelievable. It's a pretty ambitious homage but it's what he would have wanted and believe it or not but when he recuperated from a health scare in Las Vegas couple of years ago, we talked about this. I have a pretty good idea of he would like to see happen in his homage."
The idea of including a hologram came to Farías when he started thinking of ways to pay homage to his longtime friend who passed away unexpectedly in August. "After my friend passed away, I knew we needed to do some special tribute for him. I started thinking of who would participate and what songs we'd play. And then I got the idea of the hologram, but I had no idea how to go about it so I had to do some research and visited a couple of companies until I came across Hologram USA and decided to partner with them because they've done amazing work with previous holograms. I felt very safe with them."
While some may think it's simply impossible to replicate JuanGa's greatness onstage, the company behind the Michael Jackson, Tupac and most recently the Jenni Rivera hologram, assures they've set the bar high with this one.
"This Juan Gabriel hologram performance that the world is about to see will set the bar high and as a standard of what a hologram for a late icon is supposed to look like. Everybody that comes after will want to aim for this type of hologram," David Nussbaum, senior vice president, sales at Hologram USA, says.
So what exactly can the fans expect to see Saturday night at the Foro Pegaso? "The Juan Gabriel hologram is going to be singing along with his orchestra, that has never been done and it's been very challenging," Farías explains. "I didn't just want to project the hologram and have the orchestra sit there and pretend they were playing. That wouldn't be up to Juan Gabriel's standards. Everyone will be performing while he's singing and he'll be doing duets with other artists. At the end, everyone who participated will come back onstage to sing a very special song along with Juan Gabriel. It's so emotional. Every time I see it, I cry."
Farías wasn't alone on the hologram idea, Juan Gabriel's estate was behind the production 100% and also met with Hologram USA to give their input on the creation.
"Nobody knew Juan Gabriel better than his family and friends so, I leaned heavily on all of them to create the performance. We took all of their suggestions, input and clever thoughts and put all those ideas together. It's going to freak people all out when they see the end result. It's going to be amazing ... There will be moments during the show that will be awe-inspiring and very exciting and emotional," Nussbaum adds.
But, with all the excitement surrounding the hologram debut there is some nervousness to it as well. After the Jenni Rivera hologram made its debut at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery during a Day of the Dead event, not all the feedback was positive. In fact, many were questioning if it was really Rivera who appeared in the digital resurrection.
"A lot of people didn't know about the Jenni Rivera hologram and were confused when they saw it because our holograms look so real that people were wondering how it was possible," Nussbaum explains. "They said it must be a person and some even said it was Rivera's daughter Chiquis, but no, it wasn't somebody else, we just made it look so real That's why we're doing it differently with Juan Gabriel and this time we're letting everyone know it's going to happen."
Farías already has a few words in mind to any disbelievers that come his way after the tribute concert: "Juan Gabriel used to say that envy is the greatest show of respect anybody can have. I'm going to take that quote and apply it if anyone criticizes it." Adding, "I'm hoping fans will feel the same way we all felt when we saw it, which was excitement, sadness and awe. But you never know how people will react."
With hopes of taking the hologram on a stadium or arena trek, Farías has already begun producing extra content in case the family agrees to go on tour.
"I hope this isn't the only time we see the hologram. This type of technology is one you have to see it live to appreciate it. It would be horrible ony a couple people get to see this. Also, there are many artists that wanted to be in this tribute concert but I could only accommodate so many. A tour would be another opportunity to continue this homage and allow other artists to participate. It can be a huge success and everybody wins. It would be unfair for this to be it.