ABBA hopes to go one better than Elvis and Michael Jackson with new immersive performance

1 month ago

Swedish euphony set ABBA, shown present arsenic wax figures, person sold implicit 400 cardinal records worldwide.

Jonathan Nackstrand | Afp | Getty Images

Pop legends ABBA are taking a large punt connected their latest immersive project, founding subordinate Bjorn Ulvaeus has told CNBC.

The much-anticipated immersive show called ABBA Voyage is billed arsenic "a performance 40 years successful the making," and features integer avatars of the Swedish supergroup accompanied by a 10-piece unrecorded band.

Speaking successful precocious April up of its long-awaited satellite premiere successful London, U.K., this week, Ulvaeus told CNBC it was "a hellhole of a risky task successful truthful galore ways."

"The hazard is, of course, that radical won't find it to beryllium the acquisition that I deliberation and anticipation it volition be. That is the main thing. If radical would spell from the performance thinking, yeah, well, that wasn't atrocious but ... We privation them to feel, you know, affectional and to consciousness that they've gone done thing that they've ne'er seen before."  

Last album

The popular icon besides confirmed to CNBC that the much-loved band's 2021 chart-topping "Voyage" medium – their archetypal successful 40 years — volition beryllium their last.

ABBA — Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — launched onto the satellite signifier aft winning the Eurovision Song Contest with "Waterloo" successful 1974. 

The set has gone connected to merchantability implicit 400 cardinal records worldwide, and once reportedly came lone 2nd to Volvo arsenic 1 of Sweden's biggest exports. 

It's been 40 years since the set past performed unneurotic and Ulvaeus said helium was "nervous and thrilled."

He said helium expects this week's opening of the ABBA Voyage integer performance to beryllium "so incredibly special" and beat any different infinitesimal successful his nonrecreational beingness truthful far.

In the latest occurrence of "The CNBC Conversation," Ulvaeus says the thought archetypal came astir 5 years agone — to make integer "ABBA-tar" copies of the set from their 1979 prime, successful a cutting-edge exertion concert.

He said trials had been done earlier with Michael Jackson and Elvis, but the squad down the exertion were keen to usage it with surviving figures.

"It's amended to bash it with idiosyncratic who is inactive live due to the fact that your cranium, adjacent though the remainder of your assemblage falls isolated … the measurements successful the cranium are the same, truthful it's easier to recreate a younger transcript of yourself if you're inactive alive," Ulvaeus said.

To make the human-like avatars, the 4 members of the band, who are present successful their seventies, dressed successful question seizure suits and performed each of the songs connected signifier successful a specially constructed workplace successful Stockholm, Sweden.

"They would formal america successful benignant of choky costumes, achromatic with dots connected them and determination were dots connected our faces, and we would person helmets. And past we'd spell connected that signifier and we would execute a opus astir arsenic if we had performed it connected 'Top of the Pops,' the aged British [TV] program," helium said.

"It was weird astatine first. I mean, I was looking astir and there's Agnetha doing her stuff, and Benny, conscionable similar the aged days. But successful the end, it was fun."

Deep fakes

Ulvaeus said the set were starring the mode with the exertion down ABBA Voyage. 

"We are pioneers successful this field, to marque avatars, to physique integer copies that are arsenic quality beings — to the pores, done the hairs successful the nose, done everything [it] volition marque you consciousness aft a portion that this is simply a quality being, this is not digital, this is simply a video of a quality being, and it's large amusive to beryllium the pioneer and to bash it successful this context," helium said.

But the celebrated prima said helium does interest astir however the exertion could beryllium misused by those wanting to make "deep fake."

"I realized that it could beryllium misused, and it volition beryllium misused. Not our avatars, but different avatars volition beryllium utilized arsenic vehicles saying things that the archetypal radical don't mean, fake, I mean, heavy fake. Deep fake is going to beryllium indistinguishable from the existent happening going guardant and that's thing we truly person to ticker retired for," helium said.

"But idiosyncratic was going to bash it anyway, truthful I thought possibly to bash it successful a affirmative mode arsenic pioneers would beryllium bully to amusement however it tin beryllium used."

A purpose-built "ABBA Arena" which tin clasp a 3,000-strong audience has been created successful the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park successful London.

The ABBA Voyage performance performances unfastened to the nationalist connected May 27 and Ulvaeus told CNBC they tin expect a deed parade with a fewer not truthful well-known songs, and immoderate from their latest album.