ABBA is taking fans on a fantastic new "Voyage," and on Thursday issued an invitation for everyone to come along for the ride!
With a series of tweets, a news release, videos and a livestream, the classic Swedish pop band (who can count Cher as one of their true fans) lived up to the teasing social media messages they sent out over the weekend by announcing a new album, a new "digital" performance, a new look and a music video all in one fell swoop.
There's a lot to take in, so let's go one at a time.
ABBA's New Album: 'Voyage'
Most importantly, there's a whole album of new music called "Voyage." Two songs, "I Still Have Faith in You" and "Shut Me Down," are both expected to be heard in the forthcoming concert and they're the first new tunes from the band since "Under Attack" in 1982.
You can hear a snippet of both "Faith" and "Shut" here, and here's the video for "Faith," which is full of classic footage (and ABBA's anthemic, harmonious sound) and was also released Thursday.
"We simply call it 'Voyage' and we're truly sailing in uncharted waters," says band member Benny Andersson.
"Voyage" is set for release on Nov. 5.
ABBA Meets 'Tron': A Digital Performance
Well, not exactly. But in photos released by the band, we get to see them wearing motion-capture outfits from Industrial Light and Magic that, when lit up, really do make us think of the classic sci-fi film "Tron."
According to the release, the members of ABBA (Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad) wore these outfits for "weeks and months," working alongside an 850-member team from ILM, owned by filmmaker George Lucas.
Why? So they can perform digitally, via avatars, with a live 10-piece band in an arena that's being specially built in London. And based on a short video featured in a Twitter thread from @ABBAVoyage, it looks like fans will be seeing them ... but altered versions that age down the 70-somethings into their younger, classic versions. After all, it's been 40 years since they publicly took the stage together, and two years since such a vision was realized in Sarah Pinsker's award-winning "Song for a New Day" novel.
"What you're gonna see when you come to this show ... is us," says Andersson in the video. Which is both true, and not entirely true at the same time.
ABBA: The Arena
Why go all the way to Las Vegas for a residency when you can have a stage built especially for your digital selves to perform in?
The ABBA Arena will hold 3,000 ticket holders, and is a state-of-the-art facility built at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, according to one of several tweets sent out as part of the announcement.
"When you come to the arena you will have the four of us together with an absolutely glorious 10-piece band," Andersson continued in his statement. "And even if not in the flesh, we will be right there, thanks to the work of the creative team and ILM."
Tickets will go on sale for ABBA Voyage starting Sept. 5, for shows beginning in May 2022. Links and preregistration information can be found here.
In a joint statement, the band says, "To tell the truth, the main inspiration to record again comes from our involvement in creating the strangest and most spectacular concert you could ever dream of. We’re going to be able to sit back in an audience and watch our digital selves perform our songs on a stage in a custom-built arena in London next spring. Weird and wonderful!"