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Swedish supergroup ABBA is back on stage as digital avatars for a new concert residence in London.
On Thursday, all four members of the band gathered in public to attend the opening night of ‘ABBA Voyage’.
Benny Andersson, 75; Agnetha Faltskog, 72; Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 76; and Björn Ulvaeus, 77, all smiled on the red carpet as they posed for photographers before entering the new ABBA Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where they watched their digital avatars take the stage.
The show opened to the public in London on Friday, the day after a glitzy star-packed premiere attended by super fans, celebrities and Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.
ABBA DROPS ‘VOYAGE’, FIRST ALBUM IN 40 YEARS
The four band members — two married couples during ABBA’s heyday, though long since divorced — received a lavish ovation as they bowed at the end of Thursday’s show, 50 years after they formed ABBA and 40 years after they left. with live performance.
Using motion-capture technology, fans enjoyed their beloved hits such as “Mamma Mia”, “SOS”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “Dancing Queen”, just to name a few. The “ABBA Tars” portrayed the band as they were in 1979, which was three years before the group broke up. The concert series supports ABBA’s studio album “Voyage”, the band’s first release in 40 years.
The 3,000-seat purpose-built ABBA Arena next to London’s Olympic Park featured a 10-piece live backing band and a digital ABBA, created using motion capture and other technology by Industrial Light and Magic, the special effects company founded by “Star Wars” director George Lucas.
The group’s last public appearance was in 2016 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ulvaeus and Andersson’s friendship at the Berns Salonger Hotel in central Stockholm.
The band members were overjoyed with the show.
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“I never knew I had such amazing moves,” Ulvaeus said.
Lyngstad agreed: “I thought I was pretty good, but I’m even better.”
Ulvaeus said the audience reaction was the most satisfying part of the experience.
“There is an emotional connection between the avatars and the audience,” he said. “That’s the fantastic thing.”
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Gimmick of genius, “ABBA Voyage” is booked in London through May 2023, with a world tour planned after that.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.