Take a Chance on Me: ABBA Passes the Torch to Avatars- ‘ABBAtars’

In one of the highly anticipated musical reunions, Swedish pop legends ABBA return to the London concert stage on Friday, but only as avatars of their own from 1970, glittering in shiny suits, glitter and platform boots.

While fans will hear the quartet’s real voices, the band will not be on stage. Concert-goers will see “ABBAtars” projected as holograms, as they did at the height of their fame.

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“We have put our hearts and souls into these avatars and they will now take over,” 77-year-old band member Bjorn Ulvaeus told AFP in an interview in Stockholm ahead of the premiere.

Fans can watch Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — whose first initials form the name ABBA — reprise their hits from the 70s and 80s, as well as their recent comeback album “ABBA Voyage” show in London.

The group announced the reunion last September, dropping new singles “I still have trust in you” and “Don’t shut me down.”

Two months later, they released the 10-track album “Voyage” and announced plans for the high-tech concert in a purpose-built London arena.

– On tension hooks –

Other attempts at concert holograms have received lukewarm reviews, but the group hopes fans will feel like they’re seeing the real thing.

“This is one of the most daring projects anyone has ever done in the music industry,” said Ulvaeus, who wrote most of the group’s biggest hits with Benny Andersson.

“How it will be received by the public, I have no idea,” he said.

“But I think they’ll feel an emotional pull from the avatars, they’ll see the avatars as real people.”

In addition to re-recording their songs for the show, the quartet also spent hours in a studio dressed in leotards, sirbptially recording their movements to reproduce them on stage.

The avatars will appear in the band’s kitschy outfits from the 1970s and are also expected to wear futuristic outfits, according to trailers.

The show can be seen seven days a week until early October at the purpose-built ABBA Arena theater in East London.

“I don’t know about the others, but I myself was feeling more nervous a month ago than I am now,” Ulvaeus said, adding, “I know we tried our best.”

– ‘Almost like someone else’ –

The holograms are the product of a years-long project designed in collaboration with a special effects company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas.

The concert was recorded with 160 cameras and five weeks of performances.

Ulvaeus, who also puts on a circus musical in Stockholm about Pippi Longstocking, the main character in a series of children’s books by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, because of the overwhelming amount of ABBA archive material, it is not surprising to see his 40-year-younger self on stage. .

“It might be weird to most people, but I’ve been seeing my younger self almost daily, all my life. Ever since we broke up, somehow, in pictures somewhere.”

“So I’m kind of used to ‘him’.”

“He’s almost like someone else — he’s me, yes, but he’s also someone else.

“And when I see my avatar on stage, it really gets mixed up: it’s like I’ve poured some kind of life into this guy that we see on screen.”

ABBA broke through in 1974 when they won the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo”, powered by a deluge of British votes.

They recorded a string of hits, including “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”, “Dancing Queen” and “The Winner Takes it All”, before splitting up in 1982.

They steered clear of a reunion for a long time despite the enduring popularity of their music fueled by a hit compilation album in 1992, the “Mamma Mia!” movies starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan and a spin-off musical.

Selling hundreds of millions of albums in 50 years, ABBA helped put the Swedish pop music industry on the map.

The country remains the third largest exporter of music after the United States and Great Britain.

In London, concertgoers are treated to a 90-minute show, with a dozen live musicians on stage supporting the avatars.

Will the quartet ever really perform together again?

“ABBA has no plans. It is what it is,” Ulvaeus said.

Arun Agarwal
I am Arun Agarwal, a passionate blogger and gamer. I love to share my thoughts on games and technology through blog posts. I’m also an avid reader of books about history, philosophy, science-fiction, and other genres as well as an anime fan. I like reading books that give me new perspectives or help me think differently about the world around us.