Review Round Up: ABBA Voyage

This unique concert experience has finally arrived in London – but what have the critics made of it?

© Johan Persson

WhatsOnStage: ***** “At the end of an evening of high camp, everyone is thoroughly entertained, deeply moved and spellbindingly convinced by this dance and jive down memory lane and leave the venue on a stratospheric, music-induced high, confident that they’ve had the time of their lives and, beyond anything else, thankful for the music.”

The Independent: **** “Do you know what’s comforting? ABBA can open a multi-million-pound stage show full of fancy tech. They can create a purpose-built stadium. They can return to the stage as state-of-the-art avatar versions of their younger selves. And yet people will still respond as though they’re 12 gins deep at a wedding disco.”

NME: ***** “We for one welcome our new ABBAtar overlords, if only for giving these songs back to us in a totally new and joyful way. As the digital Anderson concluded: “Without a song or a dance, what are we? That is the question.””

Time Out: **** “The music is as infectious as ever; the catchy lyrics and intricate melodies all drip with a renewed, heart-tugging cheesiness. Even though it lacked the spontaneity and genuine communication between ABBA and the crowd that you’d get from a ‘real’ performance, it didn’t matter. This is about their legacy. It’s about the enduring appeal of indulgent, feel-good pop that everyone can find pleasure in (whether it is guilty or not).”

Evening Standard: ***** “The ecstatic crowd reaction showed that people were fully immersed. It’s doubtful that many here saw ABBA when they last played in London – seven nights at Wembley Arena in 1979 – and it’s hard to believe that can have been any more joyful than this, with its light effects whizzing to the back of the 3,000-capacity room, space backdrop and a live 10-piece band that was having even more fun than the VR stars.”

The Guardian: ***** “Aside from an opening salvo involving 1982’s darkly powerful The Visitors and Hole In Your Soul, a track from 1978’s Abba The Album, the setlist largely sticks to crowd-pleasing greatest hits – Waterloo, SOS, Knowing Me Knowing You – rather than scouring Abba’s oeuvre for deep cuts. This is both smart commercial sense – this is a show designed to run and run, potentially in several countries at once, something you’re never going to achieve if diehard fans are your target market – and probably for the best, given what a treacherous business scouring Abba’s oeuvre for deep cuts is.”

Variety: “the accompanying visuals are out of this world: extravagant light effects, interstellar backdrops and CGI Tron costumes mean that, in the unlikely event you are underwhelmed by splendid versions of “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “Voulez-Vous,” there’s always something to look at.”

The Telegraph: **** “Swedish icons’ CGI spectacular at the Abba Arena in London will have today’s pop superstars looking on with envy.”

The Times: **** “Finally, it was here after a 40-year wait: the Abba reunion with not a single real-life member of Abba performing. Five years in the making, with its own purpose-built 3,000-capacity arena, Abba Voyage featured a live band made of ten musicians, playing 20 favourites from the Swedish sensations’ back catalogue alongside four 3D digital versions of Abba’s younger selves enacting dance routines, all created by George Lucas’s special effects company Industrial Light and Magic. Would this be a bold new concert experience or a total Abba-rration?”

The FT: “Abba Voyage, opening for an initial seven-month residency at a specially constructed 3,000-capacity venue, is a technological marvel.”

Gay Times: ***** “ABBA Voyage is a tremendous feat of creative and technological innovation, creating a concert experience that befits one of the greatest back catalogues of hits to ever be recorded. It’s a thrilling ode to the legacy of ABBA and their remarkable impact on music in the 20th century, while also laying the groundwork for the future of live music. They’ve struck Gold once again.”

iNews: **** “This is a very good show. There’s no denying that it is absolutely brilliant to be in a room full of people with Abba songs on very loud. The live band brings an energy that the show would have lacked if the whole thing had been pre-recorded, and Abba’s vocals (a blend of their young and aged voices) are rich and warm. And flawless, obviously – the benefit of months of behind the scenes work and no need to worry about drinking honey and lemon tea on the night.”

To book tickets for ABBA Voyage visit: https://abbavoyage.com/

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