Reviewer: Paul Downham
In 1974 the little known Swedish pop group ABBA swept to superstardom with their Eurovision winning ‘Waterloo’, and four decades later the song and the band remain as popular as ever. And judging from tonight’s reception at the Palace Theatre that fact is not about to change.
Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad are backed by a superb three piece band however sadly due to no programmes being available on the night and the shows website currently being updated this reviewer is unable to list the artists performing these rôles. What can be said however, is that each and every one bore an uncanny resemblance to their band member.
The show charts the bands historic two decade domination of the pop music scene which saw them sell an incredible 380 million albums and singles worldwide. The attention to detail throughout the performance was plain to see with identical copies of ABBA costumes coupled with authentic Swedish accents, which didn’t falter all night.
Opening the show dressed in gold capes it is clear from the first note that there was a party vibe in the auditorium. Fernando, Take a Chance on Me and Mamma Mia being just some of the classic tracks showcased. The pace of the show is momentarily interrupted by what seems like an out of place piece of audio of the original group, who state during an interview that they would not be getting back together. Just quite why this was played was a mystery to most in the crowd other than covering one of the many costume changes.
Despite this the show soon picks back up the tempo but not before Agnetha performs a stunning solo version of I’ve Been Waiting for You. Her stunning voice had the audience captivated for the tracks entirety. The songs now came one after the other leaving little time for any introductions. But when the songs are as recognisable as this who needs them to be introduced?
The second half sees the volume turned up, and with this the audience’s appetite to party raises as well. Highlights include some superb guitar solos during an extended version of Voulez Vous as well as another faultless solo performance by Agnetha performing The Winner Takes it All.
The finale section of the night makes the auditorium seats redundant as the entire audience took to their feet to dance to four of the most memorable hits, Dancing Queen, Money Money Money and Waterloo for which the entire group change into replicas of the 1974 Eurovision winning costumes. Somewhat predictably but very aptly the final track of the evening is the classic Thank You for the Music.
It is clear from the vast age range of tonight’s audience that in whatever form ABBA’s music is here to stay to be enjoyed for many more decades to come.
Reviewed on 27th February 2014