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ABBA Voyage launches new performance style through holographic technology

Tara Behbehani
Swedish supergroup ABBA is one of the most renowned bands in the world. In 2022, the group created ABBA Voyage, a virtual concert displaying the four members as avatars.

After 51 years of the band’s existence, ABBA Voyage began showing in May 2022. ABBA Voyage is a virtual concert by the famous supergroup ABBA and is only available for viewing in London.

The concert uses computer-generated imagery to depict the four ABBA members as avatars of themselves circa 1979. ABBA’s most popular songs run for 90 minutes and use live band music and the members’ re-recorded vocals, according to The Conversation

High School Science Teacher Samuel Guider attended the concert and said it was a striking performance, unlike anything he had ever seen. 

“It was mind-blowing, it was a spectacular show, both in terms of the music, of course, but also in terms of the visuals,” Guider said. “I had never been to a concert with simulated performers before, but it was more than just a pleasant surprise. I really felt like they were there.”

Georgina Angus (’26) experienced the concert with a group of her family members and said the performance surpassed their expectations. 

“We went into the concert with no expectations as we weren’t sure really what it was going to be,” Angus said. “But as soon as we sat down, we all fell in love with the concert.”

As someone who has not yet seen the show, Clay Olson (’24) said the show is an odd concept and is not interested in attending.

“It’s strange… You’re paying for a live experience that isn’t actually live, which doesn’t exactly make sense to me,” Olson said. “But if people like it, then they like it.” 

Moreover, Guider observed that audience behavior was not as deferential as live performances. 

This is definitely going to influence future bands and inspire them to take on the same concept of being able to show their concerts through the holographic.

— Georgina Angus (’26)

“People in the audience did not have the level of respect that audience members pay for in a real performance,” Guider said. “I noticed that there was more talking that was going on, like in between songs when the holograms were talking.”

Furthermore, as per the concert rules, audience members are not allowed to take photos. According to ABBA Voyage, this rule was implemented to preserve the concert contents and to not distract others.

Angus said, “Not being able to take any photos was really scary” as the rule was heavily enforced by security.”  

“My mom got shouted at maybe once or twice for trying to take photos of the concert, so that was the only thing that was a bit frustrating, but obviously, I understood,” Angus said.

Guider said the technology used for ABBA Voyage is excellent for reconnecting older music like ABBA’s to their listeners. 

“It’s great for nostalgia… for so many of us, sometimes the music that we love the most is by artists that have either passed away or are retired from their actual performing times,” Guider said. “It’s a really great way to really just enjoy and celebrate music from previous generations.”

Angus said the concept behind ABBA Voyage could be applied to future performances of older bands. 

“This is definitely going to influence future bands and inspire them to take on the same concept of being able to show their concerts through the holographic,” Angus said. 

In contrast, Olson said that performances like ABBA Voyage may become repetitive, causing them to lose publicity over time. 

“If [the band is] retiring, they are not going to be making any new songs, so it’s just going to be repeating songs,” Olson said. “There’s a chance that people could get oversaturated with new content or new performances, to the point where they don’t like it anymore.” 

Nevertheless, Guider said he gets excited when thinking about the array of artists and bands he might be able to watch in the future. 

“I left the show thinking about the other bands that are from the ’70s or the ’80s,” Guider said. “I would love to see a similar hologram-based show performance.”

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About the Contributor
Tara Behbehani
Tara Behbehani, Opinions Editor: Online
Tara Behbehani ('25) is the Opinions Editor: Online of The Standard. Behbehani’s passion for reading and writing urged her to take a journalism course. Aside from The Standard, Behbehani is on the debate team and co-leads the Interfaith and Dialogue club.

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    Lucas TchelikidiApr 16, 2024 at 11:13 am

    Now I must go. This was very insightful