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Abba are said to need £140 million to cover the costs of their hologram concerts after splashing out on ‘Abba-tars’ made by George Lucas’ special effects firm.
The Swedes returned to stage on Thursday (26.05.22) for the first time in 40 years with an avatar-led show in their purpose-built arena at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford.
Bandmate Benny Andersson’s son Ludvig Andersson, 40, who is the project’s music producer, told ‘The Telegraph’ newspaper no band had tried a virtual performance before as “it’s so bloody expensive”.
He added: “We also need lots of people to come and see it for a very long time.”
‘The Times’ estimates the band will need to recoup £140 million to cover costs of their immersive digital show, which is already critically acclaimed by the world’s leading music writers.
The 95-minute high-tech concert was created by the four members of Abba – Agnetha Fältskog, 72, Björn Ulvaeus, 77, Benny Andersson, 75, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 76 – dressing up in motion-capture suits to pre-record the performance.
The voices and movements are the real quartet, but the performers onstage at the 3,000-capacity venue are their digital avatars, created using motion capture and other technology by Industrial Light and Magic, founded by ‘Star Wars’ director George Lucas, 78.
The show could run in London for three more years or go elsewhere to regain its costs.
Andersson told ‘Variety’ about future plans for the show: “We’ll see. This has to get on its feet first. We have to see how attractive it is. We’ve sold 380,000 tickets or so.
“It’s good for a couple months. We need to see if it sells more tickets. But there will be promoters coming in from the US to see if there’s something that will be suitable for their market.
“I think we’re exactly in the right spot here in London. The English people have always treated us like we were theirs for some odd reason, for which I’m very humbly grateful.”
The band took a risky but “very appealing” decision to shun corporate sponsors after a bad experience when the band were in their pomp.
Ulvaeus said: “The last commercial we ever did was 1975. It was for a Japanese TV brand called National, and we did some ludicrous changes to Fernando. We felt so ridiculous doing it, so never again.”