Home Latest News Stars and royalty watch ABBA’s return in digital stage present

Stars and royalty watch ABBA’s return in digital stage present

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LONDON — “ABBA Voyage” is definitely a visit.

4 a long time after the Swedish pop supergroup final carried out dwell, audiences can as soon as once more see ABBA onstage in an revolutionary digital live performance the place previous and future collide.

The present 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 visitors of honor have been pop royalty — the 4 members of ABBA, showing in public collectively for the primary time in years.

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

The voices and actions are the true 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 practical element, they depict the band members as they regarded of their 1970s heyday — beards on the boys, flowing locks on the ladies, velour pantsuits throughout.

The result’s each excessive tech and excessive camp, a glittery supernova of stupefying expertise, 1970s nostalgia and pop music genius.

For a lot of within the viewers, it was virtually like being taken again in time to look at ABBA carry out classics together with “Mamma Mia,” “Understanding Me, Understanding You,” “SOS” and “Dancing Queen.” The peppy 90-minute set additionally consists of tracks from “Voyage,” the reunion album the band launched final yr.

It’s a fusion of tribute act and 3D live performance film that transcends that description. At instances it was attainable to overlook this wasn’t a dwell efficiency, although when the backing singers stepped ahead to belt out “Does Your Mom Know,” a surge of live-music vitality shot by way of the sector.

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

Watching one’s youthful self carry out have to be a wierd sensation, however the band members, now of their 70s, stated they have been delighted by the present.

“I by no means knew I had such wonderful strikes,” Ulvaeus stated.

Lyngstad agreed: “I believed I used to be fairly good, however I’m even higher.”

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 viewers,” he stated. “That’s the improbable factor.”

Producers invoice the present as “revolutionary.” Time will inform. Like the primary audiences to look at 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 Instances of London reviewer Will Hodgkinson judged the present “primarily an ABBA singalong with added sound and lightweight present,” although he referred to as the impact “charming.” Writing in The Guardian, Alexis Petridis referred to as the live performance “jaw-dropping” and stated “it’s so profitable that it’s arduous to not think about different artists following go well with.”

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

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

“I’m so excited,” stated Kristina Hagman, a Swede who has been a fan because the 1970s.

“I used to be bullied a lot as a result of you weren’t allowed to love ABBA at the moment, as a result of it was so business,” she stated. “However now we’re taking revenge.”

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