I recently attended abba’s voyage concert which I have to admit was amazing, I had a great time.
ABBA developed a new digital show hosted in London in a new purpose built movable arena, designed and built for the experience.
Let’s begin with the content. – a computer generated show!
The show is a mapped digital version of their bodies and moves from 2021 rendered on 1979 versions of themselves.
Abba spent weeks mapping their moves and it shows. The abbatars (virtual abba members) move as you expect and considering you’re watching a computer generated version of Abba, is very, very convincing.
In previous hybrid live and recorded performances a technique called Pepper’s Ghost is used, blending live footage with digital footage.
I’m quite sure Abba isn’t using the back projected method and is a pure screen experience – this makes sense as there’s no live performer on stage. The show really extends the stage by blending digital light with physical light and creates a really immersive experience.
I want to be clear that these may be spoilers, The show is great, but I like to be analytical.
The screen switches between video style projection and virtual live, it looks amazing but I think this is a mistake. By switching between stage and video wall it disrupts the feeling of a “live stage experience”, I think a music video in the same spirit of a live performance – behind the stage, and to the sides would have been better keeping the live performance in the foreground.
Lip sync – I’m not sure if it was intention or not, but the close ups on the sides of the stage had a lip sync delay. In a live performance it would be out of sync, so maybe it was intentional, but when the screen was showing a video, it continued to be out of sync.
I didn’t like the abbatar’s fading in and out, they do walk on/off at times and I would have preferred they did that consistently.
What I loved
I loved the multi-angle, side screens – that was well considered and really well done, it really did make you feel there were multiple cameras working the show.
I loved the merged lighting between the on-screen effects and in-show effects, these made the show really immersive
The live band gave the arena a really good atmosphere, and played really well.
The atmosphere was amazing and I came away having a really great time.
The technology used brought back Abba in their prime and that in itself is something which is a technological marvel. The delivery and presentation is amazing.
The 3D is a bit flat at times, the abbatars and the instruments are a bit too clean, Bjorn looked slightly too perfect.
I definitely will go again, but I think there is a ceiling price for what is basically an Avatar cinema experience (with interactive lights). It’s very well done, and was very enjoyable, there are moments when you don’t realise this isn’t real.
If I were a betting man, I would bet this technology will revolutionise stage performances in the near future.
You can book and learn more via abbavoyage.com
To read more about my adventures click here