ABBA Comes Together For 'ABBA Voyage' Premiere

ABBA

The members of ABBA appeared together in public for the first time in 14 years on Thursday at the premiere of the ABBA Voyage show in London.

Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad walked the red carpet outside the custom-built, 3,000-capacity ABBA Arena.

The show was announced last September but it has been in the works since 2016. The digital avatars – or, ABBAtars – that appear on stage were created by using motion-capture and performance techniques by a team of hundreds from Industrial Light & Magic. They are backed by a live band.

Contrary to many reports, the members of ABBA do not appear as holograms.

“The images might be 2D, but impressive lighting effects and back projections provide a crucial depth of field,” opined BBC Music correspondent Mark Savage, “creating the illusion that the band are really in the room with you. … The effect is mystifyingly realistic. It needs to be seen to be believed.”

Alexis Petridis wrote in The Guardian: "The effect is genuinely jaw-dropping. Watching the four figures on the stage, it’s almost impossible to tell you’re not watching human beings."

"It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does," shared Michael Idato of The Sydney Morning Herald. "Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about ABBA Voyage is the way in which expectation and delivery intersect. You come to the show aware of its digital trickery. It speaks to the willingness of the human mind (and perhaps, too, the nostalgic heart) that you so easily fall into the fantasy that what you’re seeing is real."

ABBA Voyage is scheduled to run until December and could then go on tour.

ABBA released its first new album in 40 years, Voyage, last November. The group broke up in 1982 following the divorces of its two couples (Fältskog and Ulvaeus; Lyngstad and Andersson). Ulvaeus and Andersson went on to create the smash hit stage musical Mamma Mia! (which spawned two films).

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