This May, Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Slash will host a Virtual Reality (VR) concert for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s 2017 Beastly Ball. Billboard revealed that appearing at the concert alongside Slash will be Jack Black, Bernard Fowler and Grace Potter. The music legends will be backed by the Conan O’Brien Show’s house band Jimmy Vivino and The Basic Cable Band.
The concert is being produced with Citi, Live Nation, and NextVR as part the “Backstage with Citi” series. It will be one of the latest to be broadcast in VR. Alongside watching the live show, fans will be able to get exclusive behind the scenes access as well as watch Slash rehearse. They will also be able to watch an exclusive interview with the Guns N’ Roses guitarist. Both Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR headset users will be able to watch the content after the concert app is downloaded.
Jennifer Breithaupt, speaking for Citi, said in a statement: “With virtual reality, we can bring fans in for an unparalleled experience with their favorite artists and we couldn’t be more excited to kick off our concert series with Slash and friends.” Billboard reported that guests will be invited to dress in safari gear and will be able to visit the zoo after hours before the concert starts.
The concert holds a special place in Slash’s heart, as it is well known that he has an interest in reptiles. In an interview with Reptiles Magazine, Slash stated that he had been interested in reptiles since he was a boy growing up in London. When he moved to California he started keeping snakes and reptiles as pets. He told the magazine that he has grown so close to his snakes that he takes them on the road with him when he tours.
VR concerts are becoming more popular as the technology develops. Forbes states that the VR concert industry is looking to take advantage of the projected $660 million in revenues generated by VR developments. In order to expand their fan experiences, musicians are trying to find new ways to use the technology. Last year Queen experimented by releasing a VR version of the Bohemian Rhapsody music video.
Guns N Roses are no strangers themselves to using new technologies to promote the band. In the past they have teamed up with online gaming site Betfair to create a special Guns N’ Roses video slots game. The VR concerts that Slash is pioneering is another way for fans to connect and experience with the band and his iconic guitar riffs.
The music industry has always had a difficult relationship with modern technology. On the one hand it has slashed, no pun intended, record sales through both the rise of piracy and then streaming sites. On the other hand it has allowed fans to interact with musicians long dead such as Tupac, Michael Jackson, and Elvis. VR concerts are the logical step forward, and if the Slash concert is successful it could be a defining step forward for the industry.