Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Rotterdams Nieuwsblad, October 1979: "I'd rather be at the dentist"

This Dutch newspaper article about ABBA arriving in Holland for their concert was printed in a fan magazine, shortly after ABBA had performed live in Rotterdam on October 24, 1979.
I've added a few rare pics of ABBA in Holland from that same magazine.
“I saw them all!”
Beaming with joy, a little girl, about seven years old, is walking over to her girlfriends at airport Zestienhoven. A pen and a paper for autographs still blank in her hand, but not disappointed: she still got the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the musical millionaires of ABBA.

That wasn’t easy, since ABBA was surrounded by a crowd of photographers, policemen and airport employees. Despite the fact that the youngsters had the Wednesday afternoon off from school, the public interest wasn’t as huge as expected. The military police had been reinforced with communal police to keep the crowd in check, but hysterical scenes failed to occur.
Around one o’clock, the first ABBA-fans started to trickle into the hall of the airport. Shortly after, a salesman with ABBA-bags, -buttons, -shawls and –sweaters appeared, but his merits fell short. Around two o’clock ABBA’s airplane was expected to arrive; it didn’t come until a quarter to three.

The fans, remarkably often accompanied by their parents, had to wait at the gate next to the airport building. Two shiny black Cadillacs were only a few feet away and the plane came to a stand still nearby. On seeing their idols, the fans started shouting and screaming. ABBA waved back for a while, posed for the photographers for an equally short while and then moved up through the crowd on the platform to the cars. The customs officer didn’t succeed in acquiring an autograph either.
At the moment ABBA was getting into their cars, the fans started climbing over the fences, but the police kept them at a distance, so that the cars could leave the area escorted by two policemen on motor cycles. Not everyone who had been waiting was rewarded with an, albeit very short, glimpse of ABBA.
“Chin up,” a mother comforted her disillusioned looking son, “they’re really just ordinary people, just like us.”

At this stage, four members of the ABBA-fanclub have been waiting for an hour and a half in the hall of the Hilton Hotel, where the Swedish foursome would go to refresh themselves. “I’m a bundle of nerves,” a restless fan confesses while wriggling his ABBA-button. “Just the feeling that I’ll be seeing them up close and maybe even shake their hands... no, I might even give Benny and Björn a kiss.”
“If I had to choose between waiting for ABBA or sitting a the dentist, well... then I’d go for the dentist. That’s nothing compared to this tension. How cramped I feel,” another fan moans.
“ABBA is sure taking their time. What if they won’t come here after all,” a committee member of the fanclub fears.
Then finally, just a little past three, the black limo glides in front of the hotel. Björn is the first to get out of the car and waves smilingly to the policemen, who have escorted the car. Unstoppable, the fans (in the meantime twenty or so) are storming to the revolving door, where the exhausted ABBA-company is coming through.
Nothing can stop the four fanclub-members anymore to hug and kiss their idols. While Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid are accepting the flowers, the elevator is waiting already. Within half a minute they have disappeared to the tenth floor.
“I touched him,” one of the girls shouts, and “yes, I gave Anni-Frid a kiss and do you know what she said...,” a committee member beams.
The motor cycle policemen are coming in to have a look. “Say, listen here,” one of them says to a hotel employee, “could you arrange something. A ticket for tonight’s show or an autographed picture or something. We did escort them, you know.”
“What an experience,” the fans are swooning, “six minutes past three, that was the happiest moment of my life.”

Around five thirty, Agnetha finally comes down. She doesn’t say more than two words to her fans and doesn’t sign a single autograph. Her bodyguard takes her to the car. After her, Björn follows, taking a cab to the Ahoy venue. The other ABBA-half is pushing through the screaming crowd to the Cadillac.
Everyone is standing around in a daze... except the fanclub committee. “We are allowed to talk to them later on at Ahoy. It’s only a minute. But a minute can be very long.”

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