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Sources: ABBA avatar show prepping to play Las Vegas Strip

Updated April 1, 2024 - 7:01 am

Can you hear the drums, Fernando? Or, can you hear the speculation of the “ABBA Voyage” virtual concert production playing the Strip?

We can. Sources familiar with the production indicate the computer-generated show is to play a custom-built facility. Resorts World is said to be the leading contender, on its former “Enchant” space, though the site is not yet finalized.

The plan is to run the show as a limited engagement, extending if it builds momentum.

We expect the momentum to catch up. The band has sold 150 million records worldwide. Its music was the centerpiece of one of the few Broadway-styled productions to play Vegas, “Mamma Mia” at Mandalay Bay.

The show stars the original ABBA lineup of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad in their CG-generated, 1979 clones.

The real-life ABBA members are all in their 70s and have no plans to return to the stage in live performance. Nearly 25 years ago, they reportedly turned down $1 billion to headline a 100-show tour.

But for “ABBA Voyage,” they spent five weeks working in motion-capture suits to generate the act’s distinctive choreography.

The London show is designed by Industrial Light and Magic, which has also worked on the U2 production and “Postard From Earth” at the Sphere. “ABBA Voyage” reportedly cost $175 million to develop and is one of the priciest live shows in history.

ABBA Arena, which seats 3,000, features LED screens that add visual depth and nearly 300 speakers. As of this past September, the show has since sold 99 percent of its capacity, and made more than $2 million a week with an average ticket price of about $105.

A 10-piece orchestra backs the avatar performers, delivering hits such as “Dancing Queen,” “Waterloo,” the above-mentioned “Fernando,” and the universal ABBA theme, “Thank You for the Music.” One source who has seen the show more than a dozen times in London said, “It’s mind-blowing.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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