ABBA’s Live ‘Voyage’ Show Is Doing Big Numbers in London: ‘We’ve Sold 380,000 Tickets,’ Benny Andersson Reveals (2023)

The first news about a virtual ABBA show broke in 2016. Six years later, “Voyage” is set to open at the purpose-built 3,000-seat ABBA Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Along the way, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus wrote two new songs for the show and reunited with Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad to record a new album, making a spectacular comeback for the Swedish quartet that first achieved international fame in 1974 by winning the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo.”

After two previews, a VIP invited audience will see the show tonight (Thursday, May 26) and an official opening night happens on Friday, May 27. Fans from all over the world will finally be able to see this one-of-a-kind show featuring technology that has never been seen before. From a production office backstage at the arena, Andersson spoke with Variety via Zoom about the highly-anticipated production.

After a six-year journey, you finally saw the complete finished production of “Voyage” for the first time just six weeks ago. What were your thoughts on this initial viewing?

I thought that everyone who has been working on this project has done a fantastic job. That’s what I felt. It is us up there. It’s ABBA, and so beautifully done. To me, the only question that really mattered was not if it is good enough but how will the audience react when we’re not really there, you know? Will they look at it as a painting? Would you applaud a painting? Would you applaud a movie? You don’t do that. Would they be immersed in what we’re trying to achieve here? The first audience came in on Friday and that was only half-full. They wanted to check the premises, check the bars and see that everything was hunky-dory. The audience was fantastic and the preview we had the day before yesterday was a full house. Yes, an incredible reaction. We were there, I promise you. We were actually there. So I’m very happy.

Fans are wondering if it will be emotional seeing your avatars on stage, since beyond this opening week you will not be present during the show. Did you feel emotional watching the production?

To see the audience, yes. To see ourselves, not much. Because I know what’s going on. The good thing is that we, ABBA, will be equally good or bad every night.

Is it fair to say that this technologically-advanced show is the first of its kind?

Yes, it is, which is why we were turned on by it. We thought, wow, can we really do this? It was good that we had some stamina, because there’s been some uphill [battles] during these five and a half years. We said, “Well, we’ve started it. We need to go through with it and it has to happen.” Everything, from ILM’s work to the lighting to the sound is amazingly beautiful. It’s the best sound you’ve heard in an arena ever, I promise you that. That has been my department. I mean, the music is my department, the band sound. All the people who work with this have been wonderful. But the technique has nothing to do with the show. You sit there and you see a band on stage and that’s what it is.

Almost four decades after the four of you last recorded together, you’re debuting two new songs for the show, “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.” Whose idea was it?

That was me. I talked to Björn. I said, if we would have been doing this for real, going out on the stage, we would have added a couple of new songs to perform. And then I called the ladies and they said yes. That surprised me a lot. I think they saw the whole picture, that it would be good for ABBA “Voyage” the concert if we had some new music out there. So we did that and I thought with the first two songs, it went so well and they could still sing and we could still produce music in the studio so we said maybe we’ll do a couple of others while we’re at it, and we ended up doing a whole album.

I understand it went from two songs to five songs to 10 songs.

And then 10. That’s right. We recorded 12 songs and we didn’t finish two of them. No, we said, let’s work on the ones we think we should keep on the album. But this is it. No more.

Björn and Agnetha have publicly said there will be no more ABBA. And now you are saying that, too. No more recordings? Ever?

It’s never say never, but it’s a no. Nothing is going to happen after this.

I thought with the success of the “Voyage” album around the world, you might want to do more.

Yes, it did well. But no.

There is a playlist on Spotify called “Abba A to Z” with every song you have recorded in alphabetical order. It lasts for eight hours. How did you narrow down the vast ABBA catalog to fill the concert’s running time of 90 minutes?

We spent a lot of time on this. We realized we cannot not play [the hits] but we also wanted to give the concert some dynamics, so there are a few songs that the audience will not be too familiar with, but we like them so we put them in. It’s 21 songs and it feels good.

With this new technology, can you change the set list at some point in the future without going back into the motion-capture suits?

Yes. ILM [Industrial Light and Magic] has all the information from us in numbers, so we can bring our body doubles back in. They can do the work if we wanted to swap a couple of songs in a year’s time or so and work on it and it’ll be exactly the same. We don’t have to go back ourselves into the studio again. That’s what they have promised us.

There are eight other songs on the “Voyage” album that are not in the show, so you could possibly add them in a year or two from now.

Maybe. I’m fond of “Ode to Freedom.”

The album was a very bright spot in two very dark years. What did the success of the album mean to you? Were you concerned at all how it would do?

I wasn’t worried. You do the best that you can and you hope for the best. I think it’s the first time we’ve had really good reviews all over.

The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard chart, the highest ranking of your career in the U.S., and was No. 1 in many countries.

Not bad. So we were happy, of course. But I have to say that it actually was to enthuse people to come to this show.

In 1999, when rehearsals were going on in London for “Mamma Mia!” the stage musical, Björn told me he had no idea if the show was going to be a hit. Did you have the same thoughts about “Voyage”?

It’s the same thing with “Mamma Mia!” or any show, anything that you’re working on. You have your previews and you have all your rehearsals and all that and you can say, “This is as good as we can do it,” and you don’t know if it’s a hit or if it’s a flop until the audience comes in. They give you that. The first time with the audience will tell you everything. It did for “Mamma Mia!” absolutely.

A lot of people are still saying they are going to see holograms on stage, but that is not true. How would you describe the technology?

This has been an impossible task. The only way to explain it is you have to go and see it. Because we are digitally produced and we are actually on stage. We’re not on a screen. Well, we are on a screen but you can’t see that and I don’t know how they’ve done it because it’s so beautiful. It’s amazing. The work they’ve done at ILM and our producers and Baillie Walsh, the director. Yes, it’s real. You’re going to see it when you come. It’s really real and I don’t get it. I’m just happy that we achieved what we set out to do and finally we’re in the starting boxes.

The ABBA Arena was buiIt specifically to house this show and its unique technology. Yet, I’ve read they might tear down the building in four years.

If it runs until Christmas, I’m happy.

Maybe longer?

I’ll be even happier. The plan is for the city to build housing in this place, so we have about four years, four and a half or whatever, but if I were the mayor of London, I’d keep this arena because it’s beautiful. There’s nothing of the kind in London, no 3000-seaters. I would keep it, put some [other show] out there or let us run if we can.

It’s already been suggested that the next city to host “Voyage” will be Las Vegas.

We’ll see. This has to get on its feet first. We have to see how attractive it is. We’ve sold 380,000 tickets or so. It’s good for a couple months. We need to see if it sells more tickets. But there will be promoters coming in from the U.S. to see if there’s something that will be suitable for their market. I think we’re exactly in the right spot here in London. The English people have always treated us like we were theirs for some odd reason, for which I’m very humbly grateful.



Is ABBA Voyage concert selling well? ›

We have to see how attractive it is. We've sold 380,000 tickets or so. It's good for a couple months.

How many tickets sold for ABBA Voyage? ›

ABBA Voyage exceeds 650,000 tickets sold.

How well is ABBA Voyage selling? ›

The album has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
Voyage (ABBA album)
Released5 November 2021
Recorded1978, 2017–2021
StudioRiksmixningsverket, Stockholm
GenreDisco pop synth-pop
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Is the ABBA Voyage concert real? ›

ABBA Voyage is a virtual concert residency by the Swedish pop group ABBA. The concerts feature virtual avatars (dubbed 'ABBAtars'), depicting the group as they appeared in 1977. The concerts are held in a purpose-built venue at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, officially called the ABBA Arena.

What are best seats for ABBA Voyage? ›

The best seated views are in the most central sections, Block C and Block H.

Will ABBA Voyage make money? ›

ABBA Voyage will gross tens of millions in a few months, all in one place, without one member of the band having to so much as pull on a platform shoe. And it may continue to do so for a long time to come.

Is ABBA Voyage concert worth it? ›

Ultimately, these ABBA songs are too good, this show is so enjoyable, so spectacularly envisioned and realised, those renderings of ABBA on-stage are so detailed, as to feel real, that you can so easily suspend your disbelief.

Is ABBA Voyage coming to America? ›

ABBA 'Voyage' Residency To Be Extended To November 2023.

What are dance floor tickets at ABBA Voyage? ›

Get closer to the action with our Dance Floor tickets. These tickets are for standing (or dancing) only, so you'll be closer to the stage than anyone else and free to dance anywhere within the area. We have eight Dance Booths in total, four for up to 10 people and four for up to 12 people.

Who sold more albums ABBA or the Beatles? ›

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Nov 3, 2012

Did ABBA sell more albums than the Beatles? ›

Swedish pop stars ABBA have surpassed THE BEATLES to score Britain's second biggest selling album of all time. Gold: Greatest Hits by ABBA and the Fab Four's 1967 classic Sgt.

Is ABBA one of the best selling band ever? ›

With nearly 400 million albums sold worldwide, 17 No. 1 hits and over 16 million weekly global streams, ABBA is one of the world's most successful music acts of all time. Ever since their breakthrough with “Waterloo” back in 1974, ABBA's music has captured the hearts of people all over the world.

Can you take pictures at ABBA Voyage? ›

During your visit, you are welcome to take photos outside of the arena and inside the main arena concourse.

Is ABBA Voyage all seated? ›

Like any concert, ABBA Voyage can be enjoyed seated in traditional auditorium seating, or on your feet, grooving away on the dance floor in front of the stage.

Is ABBA Voyage concert pre recorded? ›

ABBA's motion-capture concert spectacular is euphoric. Blending pre-recorded elements with a live, ten-piece band, state-of-the-art projection, and pioneering, fully-immersive lighting effects, we honestly feel like ABBA are really there with us.

Are ABBA dance booths worth it? ›

ABBA Arena Dance Booths

Similar to individual dance floors, the dance booths boast a terrific experience, with their private pod-like feel. You can stand and have a concert-like experience here, without having to stretch your neck to view the performers as the booths are situated at a comfortable height.

Where is the best seat to sit at a concert? ›

Front and Center Is Better for Sight Than Sound

Snagging a seat just feet from the stage will give you a great view, but the sound won't be ideal. Typically, speakers are located on the side of the stage and are pointed toward the center of the venue. If you're up front, the best sound will be directed behind you.

Can I take a bag into ABBA Arena? ›

There is a cloakroom with limited space at the ABBA Arena, and visitors should bring only what is necessary to performances. Any bags larger than a handbag or small rucksack must be left in the cloakroom and not taken into the auditorium. What security measures are there at the ABBA Arena?

How much money did ABBA make from Dancing Queen? ›

The band reportedly made £3.1 million from the musical's royalties. The show still is one of the most popular musicals in London's West End and Broadway, in New York. In 2008 they released Mamma Mia! the movie, which was the highest-grossing film in the UK that year.

Does ABBA still get royalties? ›

ABBA also made music from Mamma Mia! The movie, which was the highest-grossing film in the UK in 2008. The band members still make money in royalties from their music to this day.

Is ABBA Voyage a hologram? ›

So it seems that the ABBA Voyage is therefore not actually a hologram concert at all, but it is the first of its kind as it blurs the lines between physical and digital. A hologram is a virtual three-dimensional image, but the show's producers have said this isn't what they're using for the concert.

What do you wear to an ABBA concert? ›

There is no official dress code for the evening. Expect to see a mix of ABBA fancy dress, Donna dungarees and normal evening out attire.

Is ABBA Voyage loud? ›

There's no denying that it is absolutely brilliant to be in a room full of people with Abba songs on very loud. The live band brings an energy that the show would have lacked if the whole thing had been pre-recorded, and Abba's vocals (a blend of their young and aged voices) are rich and warm.

What food is available at ABBA Arena? ›

In the venue, you can find four public bars, a Prosecco bar and a concourse eatery serving hot dogs, deli sandwiches and sweet treats. The Oceanbird Lounge at ABBA Voyage is a premium hospitality space, where you can enjoy free-flowing food and drink before the concert.

Can I sell my ABBA tickets? ›

Tickets purchased via our official partner and platform (Ticketmaster) must not be sold or advertised for sale anywhere else. Any ticket advertised for sale in this way will be automatically void.

How long does the ABBA concert last? ›

Concert Times

The concert is 90 minutes long and there is no interval. Doors open 1 hour 45 minutes before the start of the concert.

Is it better to stand or sit at ABBA Voyage? ›

You will get a better view from a seat. The standing area was crowded. People did stand and dance from the seats but only intermittently and not to every song. It's an amazing show and you will both love it.

Is there parking at ABBA Voyage? ›

The only parking available at the ABBA Arena is for blue badge holders, and these spaces must be booked in advance. We strongly encourage travel via public transport or bicycle as parking options at Stratford and Westfield are available but are not controlled by us.

Who is the #1 selling artist of all time? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

Who has outsold The Beatles? ›

In a decade that produced countless hits for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, Cliff Richard and many more, Ken Dodd's track outsold them all – except for two songs by The Beatles: She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand, both released in 1963.

What is the biggest selling music single of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

Has Abba outsold The Beatles? ›

While both albums have now sold over 5.1 million copies in the UK, the Swedish band's 1992 Best Of collection has nudged ahead of The Beatles' iconic 1967 album by nearly 15,000 copies.
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May 19, 2013

Who is considered the best band of all time? ›

The 10 best rock bands ever
  1. The Beatles. The Beatles are unquestionably the best and most important band in rock history, as well as the most compelling story. ...
  2. The Rolling Stones. ...
  3. U2. ...
  4. The Grateful Dead. ...
  5. Velvet Underground. ...
  6. Led Zeppelin. ...
  7. Ramones. ...
  8. Pink Floyd.
Mar 30, 2004

Who is the most popular band in the world 2022? ›

1. The Beatles — 183 million units.

Who is the best selling female singer of all time? ›

Madonna is recognized by Guinness World Records as the "Best-selling female recording artist of all time".

What is the top 10 selling albums of all time? ›

Top 10 Highest-Selling Albums of All Time in the US
  • Fleetwood Mac — “Rumours” ...
  • Hootie & the Blowfish — “Cracked Rear View” ...
  • Pink Floyd — “The Wall” ...
  • Led Zeppelin — “Zeppelin IV” ...
  • The Beatles — “The Beatles” ...
  • AC/DC — “Back in Black” ...
  • Eagles — “Hotel California” ...
  • Michael Jackson— “Thriller”

What is the most listened to ABBA song? ›

The Most Played ABBA Tracks List
  • Take A Chance On Me.
  • Mamma Mia.
  • The Winner Takes It All.
  • Waterloo.
  • Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! ( A Man After Midnight)
  • The Name Of The Game.
  • Does Your Mother Know.
  • S.O.S.

Can you take water into ABBA Voyage? ›

Food and drink purchased elsewhere may not be brought into or consumed at the ABBA Arena and will be confiscated on entry. You should avoid bringing large suitcases or bags to the Arena as these may not be admitted and cloakroom availability cannot be guaranteed.

How is ABBA Voyage doing? ›

Best of 2022: It's incredible but true. ABBA's return to 'live' performance has been deemed a huge success by early critics and the whole unlikely (and costly, and years in the making) venture looks like it will be a success.

Is the ABBA concert good? ›

The 95-minute concert is an immersive experience that uses that big wrap-around screen to re-animate a band who last played live in 1979. The entire effect is like being in an ABBA Elevator.

How much did it cost to produce ABBA Voyage? ›

The production cost £140m, but Gisla says the show was never about making the money back. “We will never recoup – don't tell the investors,” she jokes. “It was always to create something that's never been done before.”

Can you take drinks into ABBA Voyage? ›

Can I take food and drink from the Oceanbird Lounge into the main ABBA Arena? You can take a drink with you from the Oceanbird Lounge to be consumed within the auditorium when you go in for the concert. Drinks will need to be decanted into specific containers.

Are there seats at ABBA Voyage? ›

The ABBA Arena has a wide variety of seated, standing & accessible tickets, take a look below for more information. Choose from a wide variety of seats at a range of different prices depending on where you'd like to sit. Pricing is based on the location of the seats, but every seat is a good one.

Who is the number 1 selling solo artist of all time? ›

Elvis Presley, recognised as the best-selling solo music artist of all time by Guinness World Records, sold over 400.

Is ABBA more successful than the Beatles? ›

In the USA the Beatles undoubtedly have more hits: this is a matter of record. I suppose it's very possible that ABBA have more hits in some countries — their success was pretty phenomenal in much of the world, if not in the US.

What food is served at ABBA Voyage? ›

In the venue, you can find four public bars, a Prosecco bar and a concourse eatery serving hot dogs, deli sandwiches and sweet treats. The Oceanbird Lounge at ABBA Voyage is a premium hospitality space, where you can enjoy free-flowing food and drink before the concert.

How long will the ABBA Voyage tour last for? ›

At the premiere, it was the first time in 36 years that Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Björn Ulvaeus were seen as a group together in public. The show was originally scheduled to run until December 2022, but was later extended to May 2023. The 90-minute show runs seven times a week.

How long does ABBA Voyage last? ›

The concert is 90 minutes long and there is no interval. Doors open 1 hour 45 minutes before the start of the concert. The performance will start promptly and latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance. Please note adjusted performance times for Holiday, Christmas and New Year's periods.


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