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

Jean J. Sanders

LONDON (AP) — “ABBA Voyage” is unquestionably a vacation.

Four many years just after the Swedish pop supergroup past performed live, audiences can once all over again see ABBA onstage in an progressive digital live performance wherever previous and long run collide.

The present opens to the general public in London on Friday, the working day just after a purple-carpet premiere attended by superfans, celebs and Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. The friends of honor were pop royalty — the four associates of ABBA, showing up in general public with each other for the 1st time in a long time.

They have been in the viewers, while. Onstage at the specially constructed 3,000-seat ABBA Arena up coming to east London’s Olympic Park had been a 10-piece reside backing band and a electronic ABBA, designed using motion capture and other technological innovation by Industrial Mild and Magic, the specific consequences company launched by “Star Wars” director George Lucas.

The voices and movements are the true Agnetha Faltskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — choreographed by Britain’s Wayne McGregor — but the performers onstage are digital avatars, inevitably dubbed “ABBA-tars.” In unsettlingly sensible element, they depict the band customers as they appeared in their 1970s heyday — beards on the gentlemen, flowing locks on the women, velour pantsuits all about.

The final result is both of those large tech and high camp, a glittery supernova of stupefying technology, 1970s nostalgia and pop audio genius.

For numerous in the viewers, it was nearly like remaining taken back in time to check out ABBA execute classics which include “Mamma Mia,” “Knowing Me, Figuring out You,” “SOS” and “Dancing Queen.” The peppy 90-moment set also incorporates tracks from “Voyage,” the reunion album the band produced final 12 months.

It is a fusion of tribute act and 3D live performance film that transcends that description. At periods it was attainable to neglect this was not a are living general performance, although when the backing singers stepped forward to belt out “Does Your Mother Know,” a surge of stay-audio vitality shot by the arena.

The 4 band users — two married couples through ABBA’s heyday, however now extended divorced — got a rapturous ovation when they took a bow at the end of Thursday’s display, 50 yrs just after they formed ABBA, and 40 several years right after they stopped doing stay.

Seeing one’s young self accomplish must be a odd sensation, but the band customers, now in their 70s, claimed they had been delighted by the exhibit.

“I never knew I had these awesome moves,” Ulvaeus claimed.

Lyngstad agreed: “I thought I was pretty very good, but I’m even improved.”

Ulvaeus explained the audience response was the most gratifying part of the encounter.

“There’s an psychological link among the avatars and the viewers,” he said. “That’s the excellent thing.”

Producers monthly bill the exhibit as “revolutionary.” Time will inform. Like the very first audiences to watch a chatting movement photograph a century ago, attendees might leave thinking no matter whether they are looking at a gimmick, or the foreseeable future.

The Moments of London reviewer Will Hodgkinson judged the demonstrate “essentially an ABBA singalong with additional audio and gentle demonstrate,” although he known as the influence “captivating.” Producing in The Guardian, Alexis Petridis named the live performance “jaw-dropping” and stated “it’s so successful that it is tricky not to imagine other artists next go well with.”

Gimmick or genius, “ABBA Voyage” is reserving in London until finally May possibly 2023, with a environment tour prepared right after that.

The admirers who attended Thursday’s show are just delighted ABBA is back again.

“I’m so enthusiastic,” said Kristina Hagman, a Swede who has been a lover since the 1970s.

“I was bullied so significantly since you had been not allowed to like ABBA at that time, due to the fact it was so commercial,” she said. “But now we are having revenge.”

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