Abba Voyage at Abba Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

I had a dream.

It was over 40 years ago and Abba: The Movie is to blame.

Bjorn, Agnetha, Anni-Frid and Benny in Abbatar form. Photos: Johan Persson/Abba Voyage

Like the hapless main character trying to secure his moment with the Swedish supergroup, I’ve always believed that one day I’d see Abba in real life, and I finally did… well, the second best thing .

More than four decades after their final tour, the blazing foursome Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Falstog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad were back on stage together – albeit in eerily realistic computer-generated form.

After the UK’s infamous zero for their anthemic Eurovision song Waterloo in 1974, it’s good to know that the band has chosen London as the ideal setting for such a ‘comeback’.

Hit after platform-pounding hit swirls around the purpose-built Abba Arena, a 3,000-capacity venue in an otherwise nondescript corner of Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The 95-minute ‘concert experience’ fully immerses you in the band’s colossal back catalog of hits, transporting you back to their hypnotic heyday without the ravages of time standing in the way.

Abba travel.  Photos: Johan Persson/Abba Voyage
Abba travel. Photos: Johan Persson/Abba Voyage

It’s a stroke of genius that will help meet the undiminished demand for Abba and keep their sequined spirit alive for generations to come.

Tickets are affordable too, starting at just £21, unlike the cavernous concert halls that seem to charge ridiculously high entry fees just to squint at a speck on the stage.

Not so in the intimate Abba Arena, which only adds to the euphoric atmosphere as ‘the band’ blasts tunes from its successful career such as SOS, Mamma Mia, Gimme! Give me! Give me! (A Man After Midnight), Waterloo, Dancing Queen and Voulez-Vous.

‘To be or not to be, that is no longer the question’, jokes pianist Benny and I suspect he is right.

This avatar approach provides the template for bands or singers who no longer want to tour, but whose popularity has not been awakened.

It is fascinating, memorable and memorable.

The future of concerts is born, but just like Abba himself, it’s going to be a tricky virtual reality act to follow.

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