Tour stamps final seal on success - ABBA answer critics
By Gary Hughes in London
- The Sunday Telegraph 6 February 1977
The latest photo of ABBA: now on a
triumphant European tour.
The ABBA road show is rolling across Europe – and the group are putting the
final stamp of success on their rise to fame.
For months, critics had been confidently saying that the Nordic quartet would
not be able to produce live the same quality sound as their million-seller
ABBA proved them wrong.
At their first concert in Norway the capacity crowd at Oslo’s Ekeberg Hallen
forgot about the (minus) -12C
temperatures outside and sang and chanted along with the Swedish foursome.
ABBA were even better live on stage than on record.
This group will put on a final massive concert in London’s Albert Hall on
February 14, before packing for their flight to Australia.
But for Anna, Frida, Benny and Björn, Australia will be more than just the final stop on
their world trek.
The concerts they give in Australia will be their way of
saying “thank you” to the fans who
believed in them from the start.
It will come as no surprise to Australian fans that the group are being
acclaimed in Europe now.
Three years ago, while the rest of the world was scorning the four and
criticising the music they produced as being nothing more than catchy
commercialised jingles, ABBA found an immediate rapport in Australia.
And it was the overwhelming loyalty and support of their Aussie fans that
helped ABBA through the bleak period following their first smash hit,
Waterloo thrust ABBA into the
international spotlight when it was voted the No.1 tune in the 1974 Eurovision
The song had been composed by the Swedes in the peaceful setting of their
island in the lake
of Stockholm, with the aid
of a guitar, a piano and much stomping.
They chose the title carefully – Waterloo
being an internationally-recognised word for what they hoped would be an
ABBA were quietly confident of success, despite the fact that no one in the
music world really believed Sweden
– never a driving force on the international pop scene – could produce the best
melody in Europe.
After the glory of Waterloo faded,
only Australian and Swedish fans believed in ABBA, and their encouragement,
helped the group fight back up the ladder of success.
Now the group’s concert tour is taking Frida Lyngstad, Benny Andersson, Anna
Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus to new heights in the pop world.
The tour’s success is hardly surprising considering the usual ABBA
thoroughness that went into its organisation.
No expense was spared. Björn said the group would lose nearly $750,000 in
making the tour the pop event of the year.
A year’s planning went into organising the tour, six months of which were
dedicated to long rehearsals to make sure the ABBA sound on stage would not
disappoint the fans who had heard them only on record.
The cream of Europe’s pop technicians were hired to ensure that sound and
lightning would not let the group down, special outfits were designed and made
up and tones of special equipment ordered.
The four claim that the moment before going on stage at Oslo was one of their most
nervous ever, but it certainly didn’t show on stage.
When ABBA step off the plane in Australia later this month they know they
will have nothing to prove.
They will be performing for the sheer joy of it and hoping they can repay in
some small way what Australia
has done for them.
Note: Turn to page 77 for your ABBA
© 1977 The Sunday Telegraph. Thanks to Samuel Inglles