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The superstars came out on the third and final day of Southern California’s Coachella festival- Everyone was talking about another, much more surprising superstar cameo, by Tupac. Yes, the late Tupac Shakur. In hologram form.
Tupac died in 1996, three years before the first Coachella festival took place, but that didn’t stop him–or at least his bizarrely lifelike 3D image–from joining Dr. Dre onstage during Dre’s much-hyped festival finale this year. Call it better gigging through technology: About halfway through Dre’s 70-minute set, what appeared to be an actual shirtless Tupac appeared onstage, greeted the crowd with “What up, Coachella?”–and then traded rhymes with Dre’s co-billed Coachella partner, the flesh-and-blood Snoop Dogg, on “Come With Me,” “Hail Mary,” and “Gangsta Party.” Concertgoers at first seemed confused–the audience momentarily grew abnormally silent–and that confusion only increased when Tupac suddenly vaporized and vanished from the stage as quickly as he had materialized.
Yes, it was a little weird, but it was also pretty cool, and considering how many reunion and heritage acts have played Coachella over the years, this introduction of hologram technology to the festival now opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to future Coachella comebacks. How about a hologram Beatles? Or maybe this would be the way to get the original Guns N’ Roses to finally reform? You never know…
Tupac may have been the only hologram at Coachella 2012, but he certainly wasn’t the only hip-hop allstar to join Dre and Snoop onstage. Non-hologram guests included Kurupt and Warren G on the “It Ain’t No Fun” tribute to the late Nate Dogg (although Nate’s likeness, sadly, was limited to a two-dimensional video screen); rising rapper Kendrick Lamar (who’d already played Coachella on Friday) joining Dre for their first live performance of their collaboration “The Recipe”; Wiz Khalifa on “Young, Wild & Free”; 50 Cent on “What Up Gangsta,” “P.I.M.P.,” and “In Da Club” with Tony Yayo; and even Eminem on “I Need A Doctor,” “Forgot About Dre,” and “‘Til I Collapse.”
However, the show was still all about the Dre/Snoop partnership–which, incredibly, marks its 20th anniversary this year. The dynamic duo performed “The Next Episode,” “Kush,” “Gin & Juice,” “I Wanna Rock,” “Nothin’ But a G Thang,” “What’s My Name,” “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” “Still Dre,” and even bits of House Of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Tupac’s “California Love.” And California was loving it indeed. This was a colossal closer to the Coachella weekend, and the only way to top it next year will be if a Biggie Smalls hologram shows up.