With the real world really bumming people out more than ever, the virtual world is holding lots of interest these days. There’s so much chatter about the Metaverse, NFT’s, etc., for which video games + holograms have helped set the stage. So with that in mind, I decided to check out the “The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert” residency at Harrah’s.
Whitney did not disappoint. Her crystalline voice (with “original, never-before-released live vocal tracks woven throughout”) swooped + soared. She didn’t miss a note, didn’t forget a lyric, and got a loud standing ovation from the packed audience on a Thursday night. It was exactly this version of Whitney—moving + grooving + elegant, with no lines on her face—that everyone wants to remember.
She danced, bowed + changed costumes, with her centerstage hologram seamlessly appearing + disappearing throughout the show. And her in-between song patter (via show recordings from when she was on planet Earth) was warm + inviting, if surreal. Supported by a four-piece live band + six dancers, virtual Whitney opened with her 2019 posthumous collab with EDM artist Kygo, “Higher Love” (her original recording of it from 1990 had only been available in Japan as a B-side). From there, it was hit after hit, with the funky “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” How Will I Know” + “I’m Every Woman” eclipsing (for me) the ballads.
This was high-end “virtual entertainment,” and all of it, including the staging + lighting, was done really well. So what is the in-the-clouds Whitney thinking about all this? Probably that this was a hassle-free gig with no pre-show nerves or career anxiety about where her next hit is coming from.