Swedish supergroup ABBA has one of the most successful live shows of all time - and they haven’t played a single night.
Since May 2022, set in a purpose-built facility in London, ABBA Voyage is brought to life by holograms of the members in their late 20s, giving fans an opportunity to see the band in their prime. Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad have been 'performing' seven times a week for 15 months, and their show has been 99 percent sold out every night.
The show features holograms of the members - created by Industrial Light & Magic using motion capture tech, younger body doubles, and 1,000 VFX artists - playing 22 songs from their catalog.
It’s housed at ABBA Arena - a custom venue in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is outfitted with LED screens and 291 speakers and has a capacity of 3,000 people.
It’s one of the most expensive shows in music history - roughly $175 million before it even opened. The high-priced bet is paying off. ABBA Voyage has sold 1.5 million tickets (the average ticket price is $105), raking in $150 million in sales - and shows no signs of slowing down. It’s looking to expand globally to Las Vegas, New York, Singapore, and Sydney.
But producer Svana Gisla says recreating the production outside of ABBA Arena will be a monumental task. According to Bloomberg, the venue has “600 tons of equipment above the crowd and 500 moving lights mapped to 30,000 points in the arena to create the illusion of a real-life band.” Try putting that on a tour bus!
It's all good news for ABBA and its legions of fans, but it's also potentially good news for other major legacy acts - holographic shows could provide a business model to ensure their music and performances live on forever.