A Night on The Mississippi With ABBA The Concert, But Not The “ABBA”!

ABBA, the band (not my golden retriever), is one of the most successful international musical acts of all time!  While the group dominated the radio airwaves across the globe in the 1970s, they weren’t known as a touring band.  If you saw ABBA in concert, you were very lucky.

From the time ABBA formed in 1972 until they “unofficially” broke up in 1982, they only had three major tours.  ABBA’s only North American tour took place in the fall of 1979 when they played 17 sold out shows in the United States and Canada.  The closest the band played to the Quad Cities was in Omaha (9/26/1979), Milwaukee (9/29/1979) and Chicago (9/30/ 1979).

ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus once said, “To us, the U.S. is mainly a challenge. The whole tour to us is a great challenge. Tonight, the audience was great and everything went smoothly. But it was a very strange feeling when we have not toured in 2 1/2 years. You don’t have the self-confidence that most artists have that tour a lot and you don’t know until you’re up there, until you meet the audience face-to-face, whether it’s going to work or not…”

But, thanks to bands like Erasure and the 1994 movies, “Muriel’s Wedding” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”, along with the world-renowned stage production of “Mamma Mia”, and the Meryl Streep movie of the same name, ABBA will live forever in our hearts.

While most of us never saw the band live in concert in the 1970s, back in 2000, rumor had it that ABBA (Agnetha, Frida, Benny, and Bjorn) was offered ONE BILLION DOLLARS to perform 100 shows in an international tour, but they refused!

Lucky for us, there are many ABBA tribute band that tour singing all of the great songs.  Some are really good and some are really bad.

I’ve seen three tribute bands and the absolute worst was two years ago at Market Days, the largest two-day outdoor street festival in the Midwest, in Chicago.  It was so bad that one of the two lead female “singers” (and I use that term loosely) had the lyrics in front of her.  Horrible!

Back in 2002, at the House of Blues in Chicago, I saw the international tribute band Björn Again and they were amazing.

This troupe which started touring as “ABBA” in 1988 in Australia even has the blessings from the real group.  In 1999, Benny said, “BJÖRN AGAIN are the closest you can get to seeing ABBA. ABBA will never reform!”

Saturday night, I attended the 30th annual Riverfront Pops concert in LeClaire Park in Davenport, Iowa, with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra led by Mark Russell Smith featuring the music of  ABBA!  The group calls itself “ABBA – The Concert”.

It was a fun time singing along with the fantastic music of ABBA on a perfect late summer evening along the Mississippi River.

Thousands spread blankets on the group, brought lawn chairs, and tables and tables of food and beverages.  This was my first Pops concert and it won’t be my last.

To top off the night after the concert, the Symphony played while  fireworks erupted in the late night sky.

So, while it wasn’t the real ABBA or my ABBA, a fun time was had by every “Dancing Queen ” that I saw singing along.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I grew up in Australia in the 1970s, and ABBA was HUGE. I can’t think of my teens without ABBA being the background music of my memories.


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