I am a bit claustrophobic and sometimes cannot even imagine being in a space where too many people are vying for oxygen at the same time. The mere thought of it makes my throat begin to close and leaves me gasping for air. However, I would risk the shut-down if I could go to a Tomorrowland festival with headliners that I absolutely love. It would be a music festival filled with holograms of people who are no longer here, too.
I'm not sure this would be all electronic dance music for me because I love a lot of other genres. What if the festival could feature some mash-ups people have not considered before? I'm talking Beyonce keeping court with a hologram and the sound of Roger Troutman. What about Prince with Pink or Michael Jackson with Usher Raymond?
Queen Bey in Other Kingdoms
Tomorrowland is such an unlikely place for Beyonce, simply based on the kind of music that is the sound of choice here. I am trying to imagine the electronic pulse that could be translated in all of her songs for this music festival. It may change the sound a bit, but Beyonce's sound is so signature strong, I am sure it would work well as electronic dance music, too.
To be honest, I have not always been a fan of Queen Bey. I thought at one time she was too overrated for releasing popcorn songs. Many of the things she was singing about with the group Destiny's Child seemed to be shallow and fadish, hitting home for the moment with the young and sassy crowd. Her hive treated her well by purchasing everything she dared to record.
Change for me came swiftly, though. As she went solo, matured with her lyrics, and the world began to see her more as a risk taker, she began to have the kind of influence that someone who headlines a Tomorrowland festival should have. She was not only making powerful statements on the stage, but impacting the opinions of millions in social and political arenas and from diverse economic backgrounds. She climbed gracefully to icon status.
I must also mention that she releases videos with new songs that have legendary dance moves. It is one of the things that keeps the concerts and music festivals where she appears trending all over every kind of media. People come for the music and to hear her sing, but they are revved, the way that electronic dance music can make a person rev, to see her moving on the stage.
The Electric Vibe of His Royal Purpleness
Fans of the late Prince, born as Prince Rogers Nelson, stuck with this megastar through every phase of his evolution. He was sometimes a solo act with handpicked musicians, and other times, he was the lead showman for a few groups that he selected himself, including the New Power Generation and The Revolution. It's funny that people rarely questioned of challenged his choices for collaboration. If he liked them, we all loved them.
His hologram at a Tomorrowland event should definitely feature extensive sets of his guitar playing. Taking his influence from people like Jimi Hendrix and Sly and The Family Stone, he played a guitar like someone was chasing him for his life. It was the kind of heightened, heart-racing thunder that the best music festivals are made of. Anyone within earshot was mesmerized and usually had to stop whatever they were doing to listen.
I imagine that electronic dance music would make people stop in the same way and start dancing. If a hologram of Prince were to appear at a Tomorrowland festival with Pink giving a performance, the crowd would go wilder than imaginable. After all, Pink could easily describe herself as the love child of Madonna and Janis Joplin, since they are her two biggest influences. What a way this would be to really bring the noise.
the One-Gloved Wonder Have a Reincarnated Likeness?
It has been debated for years whether anyone would be able to follow in the footsteps of Michael Jackson in terms of performance, crowd wow factor and sheer worldwide fanaticism. At one time, people debated whether it would be R&B/pop star Chris Brown or whether it was R&B celebrity Usher Raymond. They both have killer dance moves and chart-topping tunes that put them high in the running. So far, though, there has only been one king of pop.
I have often considered what it was that made the others that followed in his footsteps mere stars and him an icon. I think it has less to do with actual celebrity, which many people can achieve without appearing at Tomorrowland, and more to do with achieving an almost cult status in music culture. None of the other people who cite him as their primary influence have been able to achieve anything close to this.
When it came to any music festival, Michael Jackson shows not only sold out in a matter of minutes, but for weeks leading up to the concert, people put their lives on hold to prepare for his appearance. During the actual concert, people could be seen fainting, crying uncontrollably and selling the family farm to afford the tickets. This is what I mean when I mention an almost cult following. Michael Jackson seemed to be the second coming of Elvis.
Electronic dance music might seem a reach for an icon like Michael Jackson, but the idea is not too foreign when you think of the beats for most of his songs. The drum line for most of his music was not only a beat, it was also a pulse, and many people could feel it beating in their chests.
Tomorrowland and other music festivals, I think, have a purpose beyond showcasing music, making people sing and dance and garnering publicity for a singer, city or venue. It is a way that people get in touch with themselves and remember that they are alive. Why not let electronic music be the trigger for all of this. As a true claustrophobic, I would need my own oxygen tank in tow, of course.