Arguably, ABBA is one of the greatest pop groups of the 20th century. The four Swedes not only enchanted us with their music. It was the whole package. Catchy melodies, easily digestible lyrics, great arrangements, paired with a stage show that makes you smile by today’s standards. The choice of costumes was as epic as their dance moves. ABBA’s energy was exuberant and contagious.
4 decades later Agneta, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid seem not to have lost that energy. How else is it possible that, at an age when others are enjoying their well-deserved retirement, they once again came together to produce a new album.
Taking a chance on virtual reality
But that’s not all. In fact, there will be a reunion show starting next May at the newly built ABBA Arena in London. 22 original songs, a 10-piece live band – and here comes the real sensation: Agneta, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid will appear on stage. Not in person, but as avatars, singing and dancing, just like in their heydays. The “Abba-tars” were created by George Lucas’ “Light & Magic” using motion capture technology, and it is simply amazing.
However, as fascinating as it might be to experience the iconic band as an optical reproduction on stage, it always will stay an illusion, lacking something crucial. Comparing some of their original videos with behind-the-scenes snippets from last year’s recording sessions – all four superstars well over 70 years old, and all four beautiful inside out – I realized that virtual reality, as much as it is captivating, can never replicate charisma.
Charisma means “gift”
Charisma is a precious gift, that everyone is given at birth, some more, some less. It is the magic that makes a person unique. If it gets lost on the path through life all it takes is some guidance and self-reflection to make a person shine again.
ABBA’s personalities are bright shining stars. Their charisma is the most crucial factor for their success. No avatar, no “Abba-tar” will ever hold a candle to human charisma and all that remains to be said is: Thank you for the music, the songs you are singing, thanks for all the joy you’re bringing. You are special, not a bore at all, and yes, you have incredible talent!