Yesterday evening, the four members of ABBA were in attendance for the opening night of ABBA Voyage, the revolutionary concert that sees them perform their greatest hits as digital Abba-tars, in their very own ABBA Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad were joined by the producers Svana Gisla and Ludvig Andersson, along with director Baillie Walsh. The digital ABBA’s were created by Industrial Light & Magic, in what is the company’s first foray into music.
Also in attendance were our very own Struan Clay and Claire McGonigal – the editors that helped bring this groundbreaking concert to life. Struan, a long time collaborator with director Baillie Walsh, said of the experience:
“This was a fantastic project to be involved with – it’s always a treat to work with Baillie and it was brilliant to be at the opening night with the actual band, who are nothing less than pop royalty – in fact the King and Queen of Sweden were also there. Each song has a different treatment so the lighting and visuals are always changing and you never know what’s coming next. It really is like being at a live gig and you can’t help but be swept up with the fun, the emotion and the brilliant music. A really fun night.
The life size Abba-tars created by ILM are ‘on stage’ as you would normally see a live band; I edited the motion capture performances on several of the songs, which are used as big screen concert visuals, on either side of the virtual stage. Some of the songs are treated as full screen music videos, with incredibly elaborate visuals – these were often very complex edits, but the unique films are beautiful and work fantastically well within the concert experience.”
The purpose-built ABBA Arena has capacity for 3,000 fans and houses 291 speakers, producing 870,000 watts of audio amplification throughout the concert and over 500 moving lights mapped to 30,000 points in the arena helping create an immersive live concert.
ABBA Voyage is now booking until 28th May 2023 with more dates to be released soon.