ABBA’s ‘Voyage’ Virtual Concert to Go on Tour ‘Around the World’

ABBA’s ‘Voyage’ virtual concert — which opened in a specially built London arena last May and has sold more than 1 million tickets — will go on a global tour, Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge confirmed during the company’s earnings call on Thursday.

“Plans are now in development to take ‘ABBA Voyage’ around the world,” Grainge said on the call. Presumably, that means the show will be playing in specially modified arenas in major cities across the globe. Contacted by Variety, reps for ABBA and Universal, the group’s label, did not immediately have further information.

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While details are slim and the news is not a shock, it is the first official confirmation that the show — a multi-multi-million-dollar project, nearly six years in the making, that saw George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic using motion-capture technology to create “ABBA-tars” of the group as they looked in 1979 playing a 90-minute concert of their most-loved songs — will play somewhere besides the London theater. While technically not a hologram show, “Voyage” represents a new peak in that type of technology — the four band members, who are now in their seventies, spent many hours performing for the motion-capture cameras to appear as lifelike as possible. It has received rave reviews nearly across the board.

Reviewing “ABBA Voyage” opening night for Variety, Mark Sutherland wrote, “At first, the movements seem a little too jerky, the lines a little too obvious. But then, just as when you saw the initially-somewhat-unconvincing dinosaurs in ‘Jurassic Park’ for the first time, your eyes adjust, the willing suspension of disbelief kicks in, and they begin to feel like living, breathing musicians, rather than the product of 160 motion capture cameras and one billion computing hours by Industrial Light & Magic.”

The group’s Benny Andersson told Variety, “Everything, from ILM’s work to the lighting to the sound is amazingly beautiful. It’s the best sound you’ve heard in an arena ever, I promise you that. That has been my department. I mean, the music is my department, the band sound. All the people who work with this have been wonderful. But the technique has nothing to do with the show. You sit there and you see a band on stage and that’s what it is.”

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