As classic rock groups age, many fans mourn the fact that they’ll never get to see their favorite bands perform live or with the original lineup. But some artists have solved that problem by using holograms of themselves. Led Zeppelin was almost one of them. So, what kept the legendary rock group from using holograms during stage shows? Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page explains.
Why Led Zeppelin didn’t do a hologram show
The Swedish pop group Abba made headlines when its members announced they would do a series of concerts as holograms. In short, they would technically be playing the instruments and singing, but virtual avatars would perform onstage.
According to Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin was actually approached about doing such a project years before Abba unveiled its plans for virtual shows.
While speaking at the Hay Festival in Wales, Page shared that the band was asked about doing “that sort of thing,” The Guardian reported. However, member infighting meant the idea “didn’t really get moving.”
Page said that he, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones just couldn’t agree about the hologram concerts, so they ultimately scrapped the idea.
Even though it didn’t work out for Led Zeppelin, Page was complimentary of other hologram shows, although he admitted he didn’t think such a show would work well for his pre-Zeppelin group the Yardbirds.
Asked about a hologram Elvis Presley show, the guitarist said, “I bet that was good, but I didn’t see it.”
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page’s thoughts on technology in the music industry
Even though Jimmy Page shared that he thought Led Zeppelin could put on a good holographic show, he also gave his opinions on how technology has changed the music industry — and not always for the better.
The guitar player said music videos “shut down” the different styles that had previously been popular, encouraging up-and-coming bands to make music that sounded like everyone else to get their video on MTV.
However, he said computers have made creating music much easier, especially for young people trying to get their music heard without a label’s help. Page even spoke about a band he met in Brighton that had found success in Vietnam after a song the group made was used in a commercial in Southeast Asia.
Why Jimmy Page calls performing live the ‘communion of musicians’
Though all the new technology is good, the Led Zeppelin guitarist said nothing compares to performing for a live audience.
Calling it the “communion of musicians,” Page explained that performing the same songs repeatedly on tour with various bands made him the excellent studio musician he is today because he can improvise and “keep coming up with spontaneous style.”
Some critics have decried these holographic performers and concerts as a shameless cash grab or a soulless show from a robot. Still, Led Zeppelin fans are likely disappointed they didn’t get the chance to see one of their favorite bands perform live one last time — even if all the members weren’t physically there.