They changed their mind and now we’re the first in line – after vowing to never reform, ABBA are back, and they are finally getting (sort of) back on stage.
It has been nearly 40 years since they decided to take a break, but the record-breaking Swedish pop icons are officially back together.
Anni-Frid, Agnetha, Benny and Bjorn have revealed they will release their first studio album since the 1980s, and that they will be heading back on to the stage as virtual avatars..
A purpose-built venue in east London will house the show, which promises performances of their classic hits.
Rumours of the group getting back together sparked excitement among fans last year, when tabloid newspapers reported the group had been spotted at west London’s Ealing Studios working on their new show.
And it appears the rumours were true, and fans will be able to live out their Dancing Queen fantasies after almost four decades.
New album Voyage will be released on 5 November – a follow up to 1984’s The Visitors which had been the group’s final album.
Benny and Bjorn revealed to Zoe Ball that the new album, which was recorded at the former’s home studio in Stockholm, will also have a new Christmas song.
The stage show has been made by George Lucas’s special effects company, using motion capture and other techniques with a team of hundreds of people.
Welcome to the ABBA Arena, home of #ABBAVoyage📍
You read that right, they’re building their own arena! 🏗️👷🏼♀️
A state-of-the-art, purpose-built 3000 capacity arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, where fans can hear ABBA’s hits and some new music. pic.twitter.com/ChIjk1TbeH
— ABBA Voyage (@ABBAVoyage) September 2, 2021
The avatars (or Abbatars as they have already been dubbed), which will see the group at different stages of their career, will be joined on stage with a 10-piece live band in the new arena in east London from next May, which has already begun construction.
Asked why Abba had chosen London to host their digital performance, Benny Andersson said: “Because London is the best city to be in. When it comes to entertainment – theatre, musicals, concerts – it is all here. It has been here for years and years and years. There is a big audience travelling here for that reason. It was a no-brainer.”
Bjorn Ulvaeus added: “We have always felt the Brits see us as their own.”
ABBA also premiered their brand new track I Still Have Faith In You, which will be on the new album.
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In a letter to fans, the group wrote: “We simply call it ‘Voyage’ and we’re truly sailing in uncharted waters. With the help of our younger selves, we travel into the future. It’s not easy to explain but then it hasn’t been done before.
“It’s hard to say what’s been the most joyful thing for me (Benny) with this project. If it’s the involvement in creating the concert together with everyone or being back in the studio together again after 40 years. I think hearing Frida and Agnetha singing again is hard to beat.
“Those first sessions back in 2018 were such fun and when Benny called and asked if I’d (Anni-Frid) consider singing some more I jumped at it!
“And what songs!! My respect and love go out to these exceptionally talented, truly genius songwriters! Such joy it was to work with the group again. I am so happy with what we have made, and I dearly hope our fans feel the same.
“When we got back together in the studio I (Agnetha) had no idea what to expect… But Benny’s recording studio is such a friendly and safe environment, and before I knew it I was really enjoying myself! I can hardly believe that finally, the moment has come to share this with the world!
“They’re such amazing singers those two, I (Bjorn) was completely floored by the way they delivered those songs.
“They’re true musicians; totally unimpressed by pop star glamour but still having a great time being creative in a recording studio. The ‘Voyage’ project has injected new life into us in more ways than one.
“So, again, thanks for waiting! We hope to see you in the ABBA Arena and yes – see – because we have infused a good deal of our souls into those avatars. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we’re back.”