Friday, 21 February 2014
Das Freizeit-Magazin, September 1979: ABBA's awesome!
The stage design is composed of blue, yellow and white pyramids, behind which Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Björn and Benny now emerge simultaneously. There's an enormous, thundering applause. ABBA doesn't wait until the applause fades, but gets right to it - with 'Voulez-Vous'.
The girls are wearing sporty, silk capes with reflecting gold patterns. Underneath skin tight, white latex suits. Benny has dressed himself in flowing, dark-brown trousers and a shirt. And Björn comes in a striking satin look and white baseball shoes.
Their music sounds exactly like the records. To be able to replicate the ABBA sound like that, the Swedish superstars are accompanied by three backing singers and six musicians. The Canadian people - who actually became aware of the quartet from Stockholm only one year ago due to a television show - are mostly pleased by the new songs.
The visual focus of the show is on Agnetha and Anni-Frid, who have to work the hardest. They have to do most of the singing and even have some small solo spots: to the fans' surprise, Agnetha is taking a seat behind Benny's piano and plays and sings 'When I Kissed The Teacher'. No one had ever seen her like this before. Because in former times she was only allowed to sing. Anni-Frid turns herself into a sultry vamp. With a long, white cigarette holder and pouting lips, she comes across like Marlene Dietrich during 'Money, Money, Money'.
The technical sensation of the supershow are Benny's keyboards that allow him to move hydraulically upwards, downwards and in a circle.
In the second part of the 120 minute show, ABBA makes sure that the audience is going completely wild and proves that they are one of the few groups that are able to churn out hit after hit. A medley of 'Fernando', 'Chiquitita', 'The Name Of The Game', 'Take A Chance On Me'.
ABBA has passed the test in America. From 25 October until 2 November, the group will be in our country with their fantastic show. Read on the following pages which extreme efforts have been necessary to make sure that the show turned out so good that it gets everybody out of their seats now.
Rocky has watched ABBA during their last days of rehearsals in their Stockholm studio. All of a sudden, things got pretty intense, because the foursome had to record their next single as well.
"It's a wrap!" Completely worn-out, Agnetha and Anni-Frid drop down in the first chair they can find and throw their shoes across the room. "In general, we have had fun during the rehearsals," says Anni-Frid after she has taken a deep breath, "but the last few days have been a real ordeal." Agnetha nodds approvingly and says: "It's true that we had an elaborate mode of operation wherein time was set aside for delays as well. But still there have been several unexpected difficulties. In reality, things can turn out a little different than one would have expected."
And they wanted to be as perfect as possible. The sound, the lights, the show, everything has to fit together and be coordinated. "That's why it could happen that I had to rewrite a complete arrangement for a song," Björn explains as he calmly takes the blame for all the hecticness. "But it's great that our musicians have done their jobs so well."
Anni-Frid - pretending to be angry - punches him in the side and complains: "And you had us dancing until we dropped and singing until we were hoarse. But we don't hear anything about that."
The relaxed atmosphere on this late evening proves that the irritations and tensions that had sometimes occured previously were just the result of stress. Anni-Frid: "We are feeling great and we are positive that this tour will be a success."
A world tour of 41 days, which will have its premiere in only 17 days. "Before that, we still have our next single to record. In between there will be a final dress rehearsal and we will also need a couple of days of relaxation," says Benny, appearing a little nervous, because again it's still unclear which song the group is going to record. "That won't be decided until we're in the studio," he reveals, "and that's why we have somewhat shortened our rehearsals to have a little more time for recording." Apart from that, the four of them also want to spend some time with their children before the tour kicks off. "Meanwhile, they are seeing more of the nanny than of us," Agnetha complains, "and they are mostly looking forward to 16 November, when we will be back home."