In a world where every morning it seems one wakes up to hear about a fascist politician coming to power somewhere or the other, it was particularly disappointing to hear of such a development in Sweden. As far as us Indians who grew up in the 70s and 80s are concerned Sweden is the country of Bjorn Borg (great tennis player with a wild streak), Stefan Edberg (good guy), Mats Wilander (another good guy) and…ABBA. Hence our joy knew no bounds when we read in the Atlantic that the ABBA is staging a triumphant return:
“At a purpose-built arena in East London, ABBA—those smiley, soft-spoken radicals; those almost blandly futuristic Swedes—has orchestrated an immaculate 3,000-person, 95-minute digital hallucination. This is CGI stuff, the outer limit. Four figures appear onstage before us, avatars, daemons, numina, whatever they are, denser than holograms, more shimmeringly charged than human beings, with a kind of atomic brightness, composites of light and longing. And we know them: Björn, Benny, Agnetha, Frida, in their late-’70s/early-’80s pomp, their poppiest plumage, variously nodding and swishing and keening and twinkling and making little gracious gestures. Huge sidescreens give us close-ups, flashes of realism—the eyes, the sweat on the cheekbones. Holy shit. ABBA!”
However, in this age of supertech, there is a catch: “ABBA Voyage was five years and zillions of dollars in the making, a meisterwerk created by Industrial Light & Magic, the visual-effects company founded by Robert Lucas. And it’s the future, quite obviously. Present-day old-age ABBA, having worked for weeks in motion capture suits to get the genetic codes of ABBA-ness into the ILM computers, can now sit back as these radiant editions of their younger, prettier selves sell the place out night after night….”
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