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ITV1CW 04/09/2018 10:41:40 PM: …singing his world famous hits 30 years after his death. Well, almost. Andy Bevan explains. In August 1964, ITV produced a one-off special hosted by a 28 year-old softly-spoken singer from Texas who was taking the music world by storm. _ Pretty woman, walking down the street This was Roy Orbison at the height of his chart-topping fame, the master of the emotional ballad, with black clothing and dark glasses to complete his introverted image. This is Roy Orbison in September 1987, his stalled career during the ’70s re-born, and the man they called The Big O was the hottest ticket in town. But 14 months later he would die of a heart attack, aged just 52. But now in 2018, Roy Orbison is once again packing concert venues across the country. 30 years after his passing, holographic technology has brought him back to life. Now, thousands of fans who remember the real Roy, as well as younger followers who’ve discovered him through the soundtracks to hundreds of films and TV shows, can see him perform. The hologram tour was the idea of the star’s three sons, who’ve supervised every detail of his recreation. Speaking from his home in California, Alex Orbison dismissed claims that the hologram is creepy and an affront to his father’s memory. I value everyone’s opinions and how they accept it, but once you see it, I think those things change. Really, for me, to see my Dad alive, I am one of the world’s biggest Roy Orbison fans separately from being his son, so the fan in me was very, very excited. Many moviegoers will recall their first sight of a hologram back in 1977 as Princess Leia pleaded for help in the original Star Wars, but since then film and TV producers have used them to great effect. Elvis was seemingly back in the building when Celine Dion sang a duet with him on a 2007 edition of American Idol. Murdered rapper Tupac Shakur stunned crowds by appearing alongside very much alive Snoop Dogg at a California music festival in 2012. And millions watched on TV as the late Michael Jackson performed during the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, five years after his death. Strictly speaking, none of those were holograms - Elvis was a series of film clips plus a body double next to Celine Dion. The others used a 150-year-old theatrical illusion called Pepper’s Ghost, rather similar to the teleprompter on our studio cameras. The image is projected flat, below the stage, and a sheet of glass placed on the stage at 45 degrees reflects it back to the audience. The Orbison hologram is much more complicated. The tour will play in huge venues where many people will be seated to the sides of the stage, so Roy’s creators needed to make him appear as a 3D image. Not only that, but he’ll be accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, playing live. _ I was all right for a while We have an actor who’s really well-trained, doing all the body movements and then we go into post-production, we take the head off and replace it with a digital head and sync up the music, it’s magic! It’s a celebration of my Dad’s life, even though he’s not here. It is light-hearted and my Dad was very funny. It’s no super-serious, this would be Roy on a good night, enjoying himself for a big audience. Whether you’re convinced by the illusion or whether you, well, see right through it, that voice is still as real as it ever was, and just like his millions of fans, the team who put Roy Orbison back on stage agree: that’s something they could never re-create. …