Ava (not her real name)
A young writer from the UK.
Digital Concerts: A Step Towards a ‘Good’ Metaverse?
The writer of this piece has maintained the secrecy of ABBA Voyage by not including specific details about the show.
Walking out of Pudding Lane Station, I wasn’t sure what to expect from ABBA Voyage. Groups of fans draped in costume jewellery, crazy trouser flares and face glitter hummed outside the purpose-built ABBA stadium. Everyone was excited for something, but what, remained a mystery.
My parents told me we’d be watching avatars of the iconic ABBA group performing on stage. “Sounds quite meta-versy,” I said, to which my parents nodded in a nonchalant manner. They’d read about the metaverse, but, like many people, struggled to understand the point of it. Hardly a surprise when you think about its unfamiliarity. Even to the most well-versed tech enthusiasts, ‘metaverse’ sounds alien. It is a concept that is, understandably, too much for many.
And yet, here my parents were, about to be given a glimpse of our technological future in the form of a decades-old pop-group. The multi-generational atmosphere echoed throughout the stadium. Children, teenagers, young people, adults and the elderly joined in harmony – digital natives and digital immigrants perhaps expecting different things from the show, but one thing was for certain, everyone was here for the music. My mother’s hands covered her face in disbelief as the first song started. There they were. One of the most successful bands of all time singing, playing and dancing on stage. Thin eyebrows, fluffy hair, jump suits, glitter and chunky heels lit up the crowd. Yep, this was definitely the 80s. Technology allowed me to time travel, and, even as someone who has grown up digital, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes.
Every microfiber in their clothes, every skin wrinkle, every movement, looked so real. Blue eyeshadow twinkled and diamonds glistened like they’d been hand-plucked from the Earth’s surface. The no phones rule mimicked a time before the desperation to get your favourite band on your Instagram story. The audience didn’t need their own screens now we had literally stepped inside a time capsule. It was a truly unique experience.
The benefits of the metaverse, while still only theoretical, are awesome. Of course it has many potential ‘legal but harmful’ risks that current legislation may struggle to keep up with, from body image issues to deepfakes to virtual grievous bodily harm (seriously). For a concept that is so new, it’s extremely difficult to predict the true physical and psychological effect of the metaverse. One thing’s for sure though: why would you want to read about history when you can, quite realistically, visit it?
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