Stars and royalty watch ABBA’s return in digital stage show & More Trending News


LONDON — “ABBA Voyage” is definitely a visit.

Four many years after the Swedish pop supergroup final carried out stay, audiences can as soon as once more see ABBA onstage in an revolutionary digital live performance the place previous and future collide.

The show opens to the general public in London on Friday, the day after a red-carpet premiere attended by superfans, celebrities and Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. The company of honor have been pop royalty — the 4 members of ABBA, showing in public collectively for the primary time in years.

They have been in the viewers, although. Onstage on the specifically constructed 3,000-seat ABBA Arena subsequent to east London’s Olympic Park have been a 10-piece stay backing band and a digital ABBA, created utilizing movement seize and different know-how by Industrial Light and Magic, the particular results agency based by “Star Wars” director George Lucas.

The voices and actions are the actual Agnetha Faltskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — choreographed by Britain’s Wayne McGregor — however the performers onstage are digital avatars, inevitably dubbed “ABBA-tars.” In unsettlingly real looking element, they depict the band members as they appeared in their Seventies heyday — beards on the lads, flowing locks on the ladies, velour pantsuits throughout.

The result’s each excessive tech and excessive camp, a glittery supernova of stupefying know-how, Seventies nostalgia and pop music genius.

For many in the viewers, it was nearly like being taken again in time to watch ABBA carry out classics together with “Mamma Mia,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “SOS” and “Dancing Queen.” The peppy 90-minute set additionally consists of tracks from “Voyage,” the reunion album the band launched final 12 months.

It’s a fusion of tribute act and 3D live performance film that transcends that description. At occasions it was potential to neglect this wasn’t a stay efficiency, although when the backing singers stepped ahead to belt out “Does Your Mother Know,” a surge of live-music vitality shot by means of the world.

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The 4 band members — two married {couples} throughout ABBA’s heyday, although now lengthy divorced — obtained a rapturous ovation once they took a bow on the finish of Thursday’s show, 50 years after they shaped ABBA, and 40 years after they stopped performing stay.

Watching one’s youthful self carry out should be an odd sensation, however the band members, now in their 70s, stated they have been delighted by the show.

“I never knew I had such amazing moves,” Ulvaeus stated.

Lyngstad agreed: “I thought I was quite good, but I’m even better.”

Ulvaeus stated the viewers response was probably the most gratifying a part of the expertise.

“There’s an emotional connection between the avatars and the audience,” he stated. “That’s the fantastic thing.”

Producers invoice the show as “revolutionary.” Time will inform. Like the primary audiences to watch a speaking movement image a century in the past, attendees could depart questioning whether or not they’re watching a gimmick, or the longer term.

The Times of London reviewer Will Hodgkinson judged the show “essentially an ABBA singalong with added sound and light show,” although he referred to as the impact “captivating.” Writing in The Guardian, Alexis Petridis referred to as the live performance “jaw-dropping” and stated “it’s so successful that it’s hard not to imagine other artists following suit.”

Gimmick or genius, “ABBA Voyage” is reserving in London till May 2023, with a world tour deliberate after that.

The followers who attended Thursday’s show are simply delighted ABBA is again.

“I’m so excited,” stated Kristina Hagman, a Swede who has been a fan for the reason that Seventies.

“I was bullied so much because you were not allowed to like ABBA at that time, because it was so commercial,” she said. “But now we are taking revenge.”

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