ABBA VOYAGE 2022

Credit: Johan Persson
Client
Aniara Film Ltd
Year
2022

CONNECTING THE PHYSICAL WITH THE DIGITAL: HOW WE HELPED CREATE ABBA’S IMMERSIVE DIGITAL CONCERT EXPERIENCE

 

On 26th May 2022 Swedish pop icons ABBA kicked off ‘ABBA Voyage’ – a concert residency taking place at a purpose built state-of-the-art 3000 capacity arena at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Joined by a ten-piece band, the group perform classics as well as tracks from their platinum-selling new album ‘Voyage’. In this highly anticipated immersive digital concert experience, band members Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus perform virtually as their younger selves via custom-built digital avatars.

Wonder Works were delighted to have been approached by Aniara Film Ltd to take on the Technical Design and Coordination for this pioneering project. Working closely with Technical Producer Nick Levitt, we were responsible for bringing Director Baillie Walsh’s creative vision to life with the integration of a complex grid, stage lifts, state-of-the-art LED screens, and unrivalled lighting & audio.

Having worked on many high profile music tours including the Rolling Stones ‘No Filter’, Ed Sheeran’s ‘Mathematics’ and Genesis ‘The Last Domino?’, Wonder Works’ Co-Director Jeremy Lloyd has over thirty years experience in the live events business. Taking technical insight and experience from Jeremy’s wide portfolio, we were able to advise on everything from video integration to procurement, collaborating with a trusted team of production specialists and suppliers to create something totally unique. Jeremy Lloyd, Co-Director, Wonder Works:

“The canvas for the concert is 360 degrees, so everything in the arena had to be considered, from the position of the speakers to the length of the kinetic pixels, in order to create a one-of-a-kind experience.”

The bespoke grid system that stretches across the whole auditorium is one of the key features to this groundbreaking concert. Designed by us at Wonder Works, this high level grid sits above the audience and provides the framework to suspend a complex network of technical equipment. 500 automated lighting fixtures, 86 mirrors, 432 kinetic pixels on winches, 240 loudspeaker cabinets, projectors, automated lighting trusses, lasers and smoke have all been expertly installed to create a unique immersive experience.

The biggest challenge lay in blending these physical elements with the digital world to enhance the performance. Everything that you see in the arena continues seamlessly into the digital content on the screens to help bring the band closer to its audience. This required the skills of Wonder Works’ Technical Designer Andy Bailey who spent hundreds of hours lining up the LED strips within a millimeter of the screen to create a visual illusion never seen before in an arena. But then this isn’t an ordinary venue. Every element of the space has been designed and crafted to enhance the musical experience. According to Svana Gisla, a producer of the concert along with Ludvig Andersson:

“It’s the third dimension that corresponds digitally and physically, and the boundaries between these two worlds become that space. The arena is like that. It’s in the texture of the building and you can’t recreate it anywhere.” 

ABBA’s concert residency launched on 26 May 2022, and is now booking performances until May 2023 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. Go to abbavoyage.com for more information.

CREDITS:

Aniara Creative: Producer – Svana Gisla, Producer – Ludvig Andersson, Director – Baille Walsh, Line Producer – Josh Barwick, ILM Movement Director – Ben Morris, VFX creative director – Nikki Penny, Choreographer – Wayne McGregor, Musical Director – Martin Lowe, Instrument Director – Philip Adams

Production: Technical Producer – Nick Levitt, Technical Director – Joe Frisina, Head of Infrastructure – Chris Hey, Rigging Consultant – Jon Bray

Design: Design and Engineering Consultants – Jeremy Lloyd (Wonder Works), Venue Architects Alicia Tkacz (Stufish Entertainment Architects), Visual Consultant – Mathieu Debay (Tetro), Audio Design – Scott Willsallen (Auditoria), Video Technical Director – Anthony Bezencon (VYV), Lighting Director – Fredrik Stormby (Greenwall), Kinetic Design – Christopher Bauder (White Void), Laser Design – Michael Sollinger, Laser Design & Programming – Sascha Kwasny (Tarm Show Laser)

Venue: Construction – Tony Wheeler & James Lee (ESG), Technical design – Andy Prescott (ESG), Structural Engineering – Ewa Hazla & Aran Chadwick (Atelier One), Concourse construction – Stage One

Suppliers: Systems Supplier – Ian Woodall & Paul McCauley (Solotech), Kinetics – Florian Fink (White Void), Lasers supplier #1 – Michael Sollinger, Lasers supplier #2 – Sascha Kwasny (Tarm Show Laser), Rigging – Mike Goodwin & Calum Willoughby (Unusual Rigging), Automation & Stage – Geert Stockmans (WiCreations), LED Screen Wall Hardware – Brecht Moreels (Twenty-Three), Soft Goods Auditorium Wall – Tom Lambert (Black Out), Soft Goods Roll Drops – Daphne Cosquer (ShowTex), Custom stage barrier – Anthony Sinclair (EPS), Carpentry – Liam Hill (Coldharbour Industries)

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