Abba Voyage: A spectacular trip into an enchanted world
- Credit: Johan Persson
Abba's spectacular new gig is an astonishing nostalgic trip into the band's futuristic world.
Anticipation begins the minute you step into the Abba Arena and look towards an enchanted forest with gently falling snowflakes.
When the lights explode into pulsating strobes you can believe you are being transported on the ABBA Voyage to an unknown place - if you let your imagination take over.
Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Bjorn beam up on to the stage as state-of-the-art digital avatars - or ABBA-tars - of their younger selves in resplendent Dolce & Gabbana costumes of red and turquoise.
They begin with the eerily synthesised The Visitors, a title track of their penultimate album in 1981.
They don't take long to dive into their arsenal of crowd-pleasing greatest hits including Mamma Mia, Knowing Me, Knowing You and Chiquitta.
In turn they speak to the audience and you're jolted back to the fact they are not real because they do not pause when the crowd cheer, whoop and drown them out.
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There's a warm moment when Benny says they are going backstage for a "quick costume change" and they emerge in velour tracksuits.
It serves as a reminder that perhaps the band's absences are for that purpose and that they will return - or at least you hope they will - the 90 minute set did seem to be over far too quickly.
For instance they disappear when their track Eagle is sung over an animated mini drama which is then followed by a dopamine rush when Agnetha reappears to sing Lay All Your Love on Me.
A 10-piece band supports the Swedish foursome, linking what is real and what is digitised.
Lighting plays a critical role blurring these worlds with an extravaganza of beams and strobes both on stage and in the venue that suits the tech-driven pop.
The whole idea for Abba to go on tour without having to go on tour started in 2016 as a "vague concept".
In 2022, the custom built flat-pack arena includes 30,000 individually controlled light panels, 291 separate speakers, 65 million pixels and a lot of wattage.
This concert is such a success you know the concept will be replicated by other big bands.
It is the past, it is now, it is the future. It is fantastic.
A cringey cliché maybe but Thank You For the Music Abba - Supertrouper!
The ABBA Arena is located at Pudding Mill Lane, opposite the DLR station.
For more information and tickets visit https://abbavoyage.com/