Lars Ulrich: Metallica Hologram Concerts in the Future ‘Fine With Me’ if Done in a ‘Meaningful’ Way
Like it or not, hologram concerts will inevitably be part of the future of music. It has the power to maintain the legacies of some of the most revered artists in history, ensuring the band carries on beyond generational hand-downs in taste and discovery of existing catalogs. It's already infiltrated the metal world with Ronnie James Dio hologram and the technological advancements haven't been lost on Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who seemed to embrace this mostly uncharted new direction of music in a recent interview.
In a career-spanning talk with 92Y, Ulrich, who lives in the technologically thriving Bay Area of San Francisco, already has his ear to the ground as to the next potential big shake-up in live music. "The conversation in the Bay Area, generally, is primarily about… when people look into the future, it's about artificial intelligence and it's about how you adapt AI into everything that we know on a daily basis," he said (transcription via Blabbermouth), later noting the early stages of hologram concerts and tours.
Ulrich then described a situation in Copenhagan, Denmark earlier this year when Metallica were rehearsing for the European leg of their 'WorldWired' tour. With a new visual setup to their magnificent live display, the band sat back and watched the run-through of all the effects with audio of one of their recent concerts blaring through the PA system. "And I'm sitting up there and the whole thing is happening — 120-dB loud music, all the lights, the video screens, everything is going on… except there are no musicians onstage. And I'm sitting there going, 'There's got to be a version of this somewhere in our future,'" the drummer marveled.
Always challenging convention and looking to defy standards, the Metallica legend pondered, "As loopy as that sounds, and as kind of silly as I'm exaggerating for effect, what is a concert? What is music? What's a concert?" Answer his own questions, he asserted that "it's about connecting people and it's about sharing an experience together." Ulrich added, "And what we try to do, when we play gigs, is to erase the wall between the audience and the band. It's basically about doing away with that division between an audience and artist. And so I'm sitting there going, 'Maybe one day.'"
Ulrich cautioned that if a Metallica hologram were to become reality, he doesn't want it to be "just some fucking weird cash-in or whatever" and would prefer it be done in "a meaningful way," again stressing that the band's music and performances are about connecting people. "I believe the basic human need is to connect to other human beings — that's what we all strive for in any way possible. So if there's a way that that could be… 100 years from now, 50 years from now, and I'm a hologram, fine with me. It's fine with me."
Ulrich's openness to technological change is a bit different from earlier this millennium when he engaged in a battle with Napster over illegal music downloading. Of course, the terms are much different with approved holograms compared to music piracy, but a recent interview revealed that the drummer knows he and the rest of Metallica could have educated themselves a bit better on what was going on during those turbulent times.
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