Take an opportunity on me: ABBA go the torch on to avatars

In one of many longest awaited musical reunions, Swedish pop legends ABBA return to the live performance stage on Friday in London however solely as avatars of their 1970 selves shimmering with shiny costumes, glitter and platform boots. Whereas followers will hear the quartet’s actual voices, the band is not going to be on stage. Live performance-goers will see “ABBAtars” projected as holograms, trying like they did on the peak of their fame.

“We put our hearts and souls into these avatars and they’re going to take over now,” 77-year-old band member Bjorn Ulvaeus instructed AFP in an interview in Stockholm forward of the premiere. Followers will as soon as once more be capable to see Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad-whose first initials type the identify ABBA-perform hits from the Seventies and Eighties, in addition to their latest comeback album, on the “ABBA Voyage” present in London.

The group introduced the reunion in September final 12 months, dropping the brand new singles “I nonetheless place confidence in you” and “Don’t shut me down”. They then launched the 10-track album “Voyage” two months later and introduced plans for the high-tech live performance at a specially-built London area.

On this file picture the brand new ABBA album “Voyage” is on show at a neighborhood file retailer in Stockholm, forward of the official launch.

On tenterhooks

Different makes an attempt at live performance holograms have acquired lukewarm critiques, however the group hopes followers will really feel they’re seeing the true deal. “This is among the most daring initiatives that anybody has finished within the music trade ever,” mentioned Ulvaeus, who wrote a lot of the group’s greatest hits with Benny Andersson. “How it will likely be acquired by the viewers, I don’t have a clue,” he mentioned.

“However I feel that they are going to really feel an emotional pull from the avatars, they are going to see the avatars as actual individuals.” Along with re-recording their songs for the present, the quartet additionally spent hours in a studio wearing leotards, having their actions digitally recorded to breed them on stage.

The avatars will seem within the band’s kitsch Seventies outfits and are additionally anticipated to don futuristic get-ups, in accordance with trailers. The present will run seven days per week till early October within the purpose-built theatre ABBA Enviornment in east London. “I don’t know concerning the others however, me, myself, I felt extra nervous a month in the past than I do now,” Ulvaeus mentioned, including: “I do know that we’ve got finished our utmost.”

On this file picture Swedish music band ABBA’s wax figures are displayed on the ABBA museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

‘Virtually like another person’

The holograms are the product of a years-long mission, designed in partnership with a particular results firm based by Star Wars creator George Lucas. The live performance was recorded utilizing 160 cameras and 5 weeks of performances. For Ulvaeus, who can also be establishing a circus musical in Stockholm about Pippi Longstocking, the principle character in an eponymous collection of kids’s books by Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, the overwhelming quantity of archival ABBA footage means it’s not unusual to see his 40-year-younger self on stage.

“For most individuals it will likely be bizarre maybe, however I’ve seen my youthful self virtually every day, all my life. Ever since we broke up, in some type or different, in some photos someplace.” “So I’m form of used to ‘him.’” “He’s virtually like somebody else-he is me sure, however he’s additionally another person. “And once I see my avatar on stage, it actually turns into a combination: It’s as if I’ve form of infused life into this man that we see on the display screen.” ABBA broke onto the worldwide scene in 1974 once they gained the Eurovision Track Contest with “Waterloo”, powered by a flood of British votes.

On this file picture taken on July 15, 1980 Swedish pop group Abba (from left to proper) Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson, stroll alongside a avenue of Marstrand, Sweden.

They went on to file a string of hits, together with “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”, “Dancing Queen” and “The Winner Takes it All”, earlier than breaking apart in 1982. They lengthy steered away from a reunion regardless of their music’s enduring recognition, fuelled by a success compilation album in 1992, the “Mamma Mia!” films starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan and a spin-off musical.

Notching up a number of hundred million album gross sales over 50 years, ABBA helped put Sweden’s pop music trade on the map. The nation stays the third-biggest exporter of music after the USA and Britain. In London, concert-goers will likely be handled to a 90-minute present, with a dozen reside musicians on stage backing up the avatars. Will the quartet ever carry out collectively once more for actual? “ABBA has no plans. It’s what it’s,” Ulvaeus mentioned. – AFP



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