ABBA‘s “Voyage” digital live experience, hosted in London, has been a sensational hit, drawing audiences and attention from all corners of the globe. The innovative show, set in a specially constructed arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, has attracted a million delighted visitors since its launch 15 months ago. Despite its remarkable success, the production team is still on a quest to recoup the hefty investment it took to bring this spectacle to life.
Producer Svana Gisla candidly admits, “No, we haven’t broken even,” and chuckles about not even knowing if they are halfway there. The audacious expense of the show has been a financial challenge, but the team is determined to turn the tide.
The “ABBA Voyage” experience has extended its stay, with bookings now available through May 2024 in London, and there are aspirations to prolong its residency even further. Producer Ludvig Andersson and director Baillie Walsh share the dream of seeing the show rival “Mamma Mia!” in longevity, envisioning it celebrating its 20th year, with Walsh humorously picturing himself as an “old codger” still relishing the audience’s sing-alongs.
The show’s success has been phenomenal, but the path to its launch was fraught with risks. Producer Gisla proudly reflects on their achievement but concedes that they could have easily jeopardized ABBA’s legacy forever if they had mismanaged the project. “We could have messed it up and destroyed the legacy of ABBA forever. That was definitely an option!” she exclaims, emphasizing the magnitude of the undertaking.
While the potential for expanding the show and rumors of openings in Las Vegas and beyond have surfaced, it’s not as straightforward as it might seem. Expanding the show involves meticulous planning and overcoming budgetary hurdles. Andersson highlights the challenges of adapting the show for different locations, emphasizing that the cost remains a significant deterrent for many venues.
The team acknowledges that “ABBA Voyage” is a unique endeavor, and its success isn’t easily replicable. Director Baillie Walsh insists that not just any artist can undertake such an ambitious project, noting that only bands of ABBA’s stature could contemplate it.
The members of ABBA have attended the show incognito and are rarely recognized, revealing the level of immersion and realism the digital avatars offer. However, Baillie Walsh believes that avatar shows will never replace the thrill of live performances. “People are always going to want to play live,” he states, emphasizing that live music will remain an irreplaceable cornerstone of the music industry.
In the world of music, where creativity and innovation constantly redefine the boundaries of entertainment, “ABBA Voyage” stands as a testament to the enduring legacy and limitless imagination of one of the world’s most beloved bands. While the financial challenges persist, the show‘s undeniable success and ongoing evolution promise to leave an indelible mark on the music industry‘s future ventures.