This veteran band wants to rely on technology to rock forever

Every roar, every performance, every sound comes from the voice that I have relied on for 24 years. There is no other way to move you except singing.

Last night, Mayday Ashin issued a long response and invited everyone to watch the live broadcast of the Paris concert on December 8.

This "lip-syncing controversy" has triggered widespread public discussion on lip-syncing:

Some people think that if a singer has physical problems, it is understandable if he occasionally has "assistance"; others think that "half-on mic/pad sound" cannot be considered "real singing", and the high-priced tickets are to see the "real singing" performances. on site".

Interestingly, during the "lip-syncing controversy", big news came out in the music industry on the other side of Oceania – the veteran rock band KISS announced that it will move into the digital age and will perform as a virtual band in the future.

▲ The avatar of the KISS band

From a certain perspective, a virtual band performance means "lip-synching" every night and playing "recordings" from beginning to end.

Why is KISS, which has always been famous for its visual impact and explosive scenes, acceptable?

The choice of this 50-year-old band may bring some inspiration to our discussions about the Mayday performance, which will enter its 25th anniversary next year.

Can technology that attracts $2 million a week make "rock and roll never die"?

I've tried to perform with broken ribs, I've tried to perform with a 102°F (38.8°C) fever, [but this flu] really makes me wonder if my time is up.

KISS band memberPaul Stanley said .

KISS is a band that deserves to rock forever.

After many rounds of member changes, the two remaining original members, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, are both over 70 years old, but they have still put on classic makeup and traveled around the world for a farewell tour with the other two 60+ members for the past four years. "End of the Road".

▲ Paul Stanley

On the last night of the tour, the band officially announced on stage that "love makes us eternal, and a new era has officially begun" for KISS fans, and the KISS virtual band officially debuted.

By cooperating with the famous film special effects company "Industrial Light & Magic", KISS created four virtual musicians using motion capture technology commonly used in film special effects.

The band will never stop because the fans are the ones who own the band (not us).

Stanley said in a follow-up commentary video.

▲ KISS virtual band promotional video

However, although the image has been announced, the specific way the virtual band will perform has yet to be discussed after the tour.

For a moment, I felt that it was a bit too risky for KISS to hand over "themselves" when all this was not finalized?

But when I think of ABBA's weekly ticket sales of $2 million, it becomes clear.

▲ The avatar of ABBA band

It took five years to create, and the virtual band performance "ABBA Voyage" based on the Swedish band ABBA founded in 1972 cost up to US$175 million and was produced by the entertainment company Pophouse.

Director Baillie Walsh emphasized that the "ABBA Voyage" performance is a creatively ambitious attempt, "a beautiful thing… not just for making money."

It is worth pointing out that the co-founders of Pophouse, founded in 2014, also include ABBA member Björn Ulvaeus. This time, KISS’s transformation was also driven by Pophouse.

Like KISS, ABBA's virtual image was also produced by Industrial Light and Magic, and it is also the largest project in the latter's history:

The four members of ABBA, wearing tights, performed in front of 200 cameras and a team of nearly 40 people from 10 to 5 every day for 4.5 weeks.

▲ The real ABBA shot the virtual image

Each band member will also have their own real-life "stand-in".

After all, the goal of "ABBA Voyage" is to recreate ABBA in its golden period, and members who are now in their 70s cannot dance like they were in their twenties. Therefore, the real stand-in will "re-interpret" based on ABBA's movements on the scene, and then the images of ABBA himself and the stand-in will be combined later.

In the end, Industrial Light and Magic had to mobilize 1,000 visual effects artists to complete ABBA's virtual image.

Different from science fiction stories, "ABBA Voyage" does not use holographic projection at all, because Walsh feels that this kind of presentation is quite limited. One particularly direct point is that "you can't light on the holographic projection character."

As important as building the virtual image, Pophouse produced a special performance venue for "ABBA Voyage".

The hexagonal venue can accommodate 3,000 spectators. Carrying ABBA's virtual characters are three giant 65-megapixel screens.

The middle screen is the "main stage", showing life-size characters of ABBA, and the screens on both sides are like the big screens at ordinary concerts, showing close-up details of the performers.

Above the audience's heads is a 600-ton piece of equipment and 500 movable lights with a total of 30,000 lighting spots. These lights will hit you, and they will also "hit" ABBA on the stage, making the originally two-dimensional image more three-dimensional.

291 speakers are buried where the audience cannot see them, creating a rich and layered sound effect. In addition, there is a real band on site to accompany the performance.

During the performance, ABBA members will also chat and interact with each other, just like a real concert. These interactive "lines" and "plots" were also conceived by ABBA, as was the performance playlist.

Moreover, if necessary, this venue, which is now "resident" in London, can be dismantled and packaged like IKEA furniture, shipped to other cities for reassembly, and "toured".

▲ Venue specially designed for performances

I know that no matter how great everything is, everyone will feel a little uncomfortable when they think that the "singer" on the stage is fake. This is also the worry in the hearts of many ABBA fans.

But judging from the feedback and box office, most people got an experience that exceeded their expectations.

▲ Official promotional video

Since its launch in May last year, "ABBA Voyage" has sold 1.5 million tickets, with revenue reaching US$150 million , and an attendance rate of 99% for each performance. It has become a project that many fans across the country and across the city want to see.

Acting can also be true, but sincerity is the bottom line

Pophouse has always emphasized that "ABBA Voyage" was designed with ABBA's deep participation, which is a very important point – only if ABBA participates can it be a real ABBA performance.

But at the fan level, what enables them to cross the psychological threshold of "I'm watching fake ABBA"?

This sounds a bit "corny", but the answer is "true feelings", and there are several kinds of "true feelings".

Alyssa Michaud, assistant professor of music at Ambrose University , once interviewed fans who came from other countries to London to watch "ABBA Voyage", ranging in age from their 20s to their 50s.

They found that many fans would carefully prepare costumes or peripherals before setting off, and they would first create a sense of ritual.

▲ Audiences waiting outside the "ABBA Voyage" venue

However, just because of preparation, expectations will be high.

Many people are very conflicted. On the one hand, they are excited, but on the other hand, they are very afraid of disappointment. One is worried that "high technology" will become a "stumbling block" to sincere performances, and the other is directly worried that the effect will not be as good as they expected.

Even after the opening scene, these anxieties still affect the audience:

You put so much into it, you want it to be great so much that you worry about being disappointed.

As a result, after watching it for more than ten minutes after the opening, my mind fell: Oh, I can finally relax now. It's really exciting and I can enjoy it!

Walsh also said in an interview that a very important part of the design of the show is restraint:

What I have been fighting against is technology, and I must not be led by technology.

The most important thing is emotion.

I want people to laugh, dance and cry along.

Apparently, Walsh was quite successful. A middle-aged male audience member lamented that even though he knew that what he was seeing was just "virtual", he still couldn't help but feel very excited:

I would be very moved from time to time during the concert. At that time, I would think: "Why are you still so excited? It's obviously just technology that is reproducing all this…" I feel that people around me will feel the same way.

It’s a bit shocking and even awe-inspiring, isn’t it?

In fact, due to the strict prohibition of any filming during the performance, "ABBA Voyage" cannot find any "privately shot" videos online, and it has truly created a unique "liveness".

In addition to the emotional connection between the audience and the "performers", the resonance between the audience and the audience will also increase the emotion of the scene.

The same goes for the Taylor Swift concert movie we discussed before. Even just watching the concert video in the movie theater and sharing the moment with fans who also love and enjoy the music is an exciting thing. .

What's more, in the "ABBA Voyage" venue, in addition to the dance floor, all other seats have their own "small dance floors" to encourage the audience to dance together and get involved.

Since "recording and broadcasting" can also arouse true emotions, what is the problem with "lip-synching"?

I think, in the final analysis, this is still a question of integrity.

It can be a virtual band or a recorded concert. The premise is that all of this is clearly informed to the audience, and the audience is very sincere in creating wonderful content and a good environment for these performances, so that the audience can still be moved. .

Whether you can sing high notes accurately enough is like whether 70-year-old Paul Stanley can dance as high as he did when he was young. There is an acceptable flexibility dimension. In the final analysis, as long as you try your best, music fans will understand.

Ashin himself said that "moving you" is the core of the performance.

No one can find out that they have been cheated and still feel moved.

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