Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Music Video: Second Life - Virtual U2 Concert

A group of U2 fans, who are also fans of the online 3D environment Second Life, have formed a group called U2 in SL which amounts to the worlds first virtual "tribute band" . . . or at least the first one I have heard of (details here and here). These folks have created online "avatars" who look just like the members of U2. They built a stage, complete with instruments, lighting, and pyrotechnics, they created elaborate animated "scripts" that the stage effects and characters perform for each song and they streamed audio from an actual live performance from a Boston U2 concert as the sound track. Add to this the trimmings of a concert setting such as T-shirt stands and merchandise and about 50 fans who showed up for the event (can't have to many people in one area yet or things slow down) and you have one of the more unique online experiences I have seen so far: an authentic life performance, of sorts, for live people participating in a virtual event. It also looks like they also had some people acting as the "camera crew" who each took video of different members and angles so that they could cut it all together into a concert highlights video which they have posted on YouTube.

Pretty Unique to say the least. They have no affiliation with the real U2. They make no money at all off these events and they have tried several times to contact U2 and their management to legitimize their efforts. The primary goal seems to be to draw awareness to various Bono charities.

What makes this special to me is that it is a creative labor of love that was put together by ordinary people who wanted to push the boundaries of traditional thinking. Because Second Life is a completely open environment that allows members to create and own anything they want (as long as they have the skills or the money to pay someone with skills) it is the perfect platform for these kinds of experiments.

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