Tribute bands trading as "ABBA"

ARRIVALABBA tribute bands have become a booming industry, ever since Björn Again started performing at pubs in Melbourne, Australia in 1989.

I’ve never been a fan of tribute acts. I don’t need a facsimile. I can enjoy the real ABBA at any time on a multitude of CDs and DVDs. But that’s just me. For those people who do want to get that live-on-stage ABBA experience, because they may be too young to have seen the real thing, or they may want to relive it, these dozens of tribute acts give something more that you can’t get from CDs and DVDs.

I have to admit that I’ve seen a few tribute band performances: I saw Björn Again’s first ever performance in Sydney in 1989 (I didn’t enjoy it at all), and I saw Arrival from Sweden when they toured Australia a few years ago (an enjoyable night and a very good recreation). I’ve also seen Australia’s FABBA and BABBA, and I wasn’t too impressed with either.

Tribute acts generally fall into three broad categories:

  • Those attempting a faithful replication of an ABBA performance.
  • Those that are part homage, part parody.
  • Those that cater for the party crowd, often just two girls in ABBA-style costumes with a backing tape.

Many of these acts use the name “ABBA” in some form – ABBAlanche, ABBA Again, ABBA Alive, ABBA Gold, ABBA-cadabra, ABBA Girls, ABBA Babes, ABBAesque, ABBA Forever, Gimme ABBA, ABBAsolutely FABBAulous. You get the idea.

What’s surprising is that these tribute acts are allowed to use the word “ABBA”, which was once upon a time noted as being “a registered trademark of Polar Music International AB”. When the ABBA*Teens released their first single in 1999, Benny himself requested they stop using the name ABBA, because “there is only one ABBA, and they are not it” (though Björn had previously given his permission, and the group had been created by Stockholm Records specifically as an “ABBA” for the late-90s teen market). At another time, Björn Again was sued to stop using a logo featuring a reversed B.

What peeves me (and I know I’m not alone) is those tribute acts whose advertising can be seen to be misleading, that doesn’t make it clear it’s a tribute act, not the real ABBA.

For the last few summers, the USA has had “ABBA – The Tour (or The Show or The Music or The Whatever) featuring members of the original ABBA band”. To those not in the know, this would suggest that the act features at least one of the original ABBA members, not the musicians who backed ABBA in the studio or on tour. In previous years, this tour featured Swedish band Waterloo; this year it’s Arrival.

Several years ago Australian newspapers carried advertisements for something called “ABBA Thank You For The Music 25th Anniversary Tour”, complete with a photo of ABBA circa 1977. Nowhere did the advertising mention that it was tribute a act, ABBAsolutely FABBAulous, performing.

One of the most frequent search terms of this very blog over the past month or more has been “ABBA tour USA 2007”, which indicates to me that there are still people out there who think that it’s ABBA, not a tribute act, that is touring.

Of course, the real ABBA continue to refuse to reunite for anything less than “something special” – even that infamous alleged billion-dollar offer. They’ve proved what they mean by “something special” by singing a song together at friend and business associate Görel Hanser‘s 50th birthday party in June 1999.

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9 Responses to “Tribute bands trading as "ABBA"”

  1. Jackie Says:

    Well I have to disagree with you to some degree. I’ve always been a big fan of tribute bands. If they are good then I see it as paying tribute and homage to the bands that we love including those that are no longer with us. I do however agree that “cover” bands and not tribute bands come off as sloppy facsimile.

    The best bands are entering the 1st annual international tribute band competition out in Las Vegas which takes place January 19th, 2008. I follow a couple of the local acts out in my area and am hoping to see them end up as the top 3 tribute bands in the competition so that they can play for the grand prize in t the Empire Ballroom.

  2. Scandiaca Says:

    I´ve never liked any tribute bands, the less ABBA ones. I must say I never had the opportunity to see real ABBA (I was born too late 😉 ), and I got to see some of the tribute bands…we also have one in Czech Republic, which is claimed to be one of the best ones.. However, so far I was always either disappointed or annoyed, and therefore I wouldn´t go to see an ABBA tribute band anymore..

  3. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    An article on ABBAMANIA, the cover band Christopher Patrick plays cello with.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Courier-Mail – Thursday, 30 October 2008 (Page 58)

    MUSIC

    Swedish singing sensations ABBA created a repertoire of timeless classics leading to album sales exceeding 370 million copies worldwide.

    ABBAMANIA is a tribute to the music created by the band and promises to appeal to audiences of all generations. The tribute is performed entirely by fans who pride themselves on being dedicated to accurately portraying the music ABBA produced with hopes to make audiences reconnect to their ABBA days.

    Where: Jupiters Theatre At Conrad Jupiters, Broadbeach, Gold Coast.
    When: Until February 14. Monday to Saturday 7.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinee 2pm, Sunday 5pm.
    Cost: Adult $88, child $59. Dinner and show packages available.
    Info: http://www.jupiterscasino.com.au or 1300 888 0865

    Go: What’s on today with Fiona Purdon and Vanessa Croll
    Email: godirectory@qnp.newsltd.com.au

  4. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    More adds for ABBA MANIA live in Brisbane with Christopher Patrick playing cello .

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) – Tuesday, 23 December 2008 (Page 44)

    What’s on today with Laura Stead
    Email: godirectory

    Top choice

    Grab a group of girlfriends and head to the Gold Coast for a night out at the casino with dinner and a show.

    The package starts at $175 a person and includes a night’s stay at the casino hotel, tickets to ABBA Mania, a three-course dinner at Andiamo restaurant and a bag with feather boa, sparkling martini glass, cocktail voucher and two perfume samples.

    ABBA Mania recreates on stage the last live concert by the Swedish group ABBA in 1979, including more than two hours of hit songs such as ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Voulez Vous’, ‘Waterloo’, ‘Fernando’, ‘Take A Chance On Me’, ‘Super Trouper’, and ‘The Winner Takes It All’.

    Catch ABBA Mania live at Conrad Jupiters until February 14.

    Where: Jupiters Theatre, Conrad Jupiters, Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach.

    When: 7.30pm

    Cost: Tickets $59-$125, package from $175

    Info: 1300 888 086 or http://www.ticketmaster.com.au

    The Courier-Mail (Brisbane) – Saturday, 10-11 January 2009 (Page 8)

    Gather up your Dancing Queens!!

    Conrad Jupiters presents… ABBA MANIA

    It’s time you and your friends slid on your flares, strapped on your platforms and partied the night away as Conrad Jupiters presents ABBA Mania! It’s an unforgettable night of costumes, bright lights and all the toe-taping, hip-swaying hits from the Swedish Supergroup.

    DINE FOR FREE asks us now – Dinner and show packages offer great value and make your visit real experience.

    Starting from $88.

    Limited season until February 14.

    Book at ticketmaster on 1300 888 086 or ticketmaster.com.au

    Selected show times and outlets only – subject to availability.

    * Applies to full price adult and children’s (13 years and under) tickets only.

    http://www.abbamanialive.com

  5. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    This is an add for ABBA MANIA live in Melbourne.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Age (Melbourne) – Saturday, 10 January 2009 (Page 35)

    Culture & Life

    Tickets On Sale Now!
    ABBA MANIA
    Strickly Limited Season

    Party with London’s West End Sensation

    4/5 Stars – ABBA-SOLUTELY BRILLIANT! (whatsonstage.com)

    THE BEST ABBA SHOW SINCE… ABBA!

    THE PALMS AT CROWN – FROM 18 FEBRUARY

    Call Ticketek 1300 795 012 or ticketek.com.au
    Groups 10+ Save! Call (03) 9299 9030
    Premium, Crown Hotel & Dining packages call 1300 658 322 or showbiz.com.au
    Make a night of it with dinner at a Crown Restaurant (03) 9292 5777
    http://www.abbamanialive.com.au

  6. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian Again!

    More stories/reports/articles on ABBA cover bands’.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) – Saturday, 7 February 2009 (Page 3)

    Putin is Björn Again

    The Aussie ABBA tribute band Björn Again has revealed how they were secretly flown to a resort near Moscow to give a private performance for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    In what band member Jennifer Robb described as one of the most bizarre gigs they have ever played, the band was paid about $50,000 to play for nine people including Mr Putin and a female companion.

    “At the end, the Prime Minister shouted, ‘Bravo, bravo’ and gave us great applause,” Robb said.

    The Weekend Australian – Saturday, 7-8 February 2009 (Page 3)

    THE NATION

    The night Vladimir bopped to Super Trouper. By James Madden

    As gigs go, this had to be one of ABBA cover band Björn Again’s strangest.

    Having flown from London to Moscow, then endured a nine-hour bus ride through the Russian countryside, they arrived at a remote military barracks.

    A small stage, complete with new drums, keyboards and guitars, had been set up in a tiny makeshift theatre. When the foursome took to the stage for the show, there were just eight people in the audience, two of whom were seated behind a sheer lace curtain.

    A security guard instructed the band members that they were not to leave the stage during the show under any circumstances.

    It was weird, but when you’re receiving £20,000 ($45,000) for an hour-long gig, you don’t ask too many questions.

    The show went well. The group sang 15 ABBA hits including ‘Waterloo’, ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’ and ‘Dancing Queen’. The shadowy figure behind the curtain seemed to enjoy it, as did the woman seated next to him.

    The couple cheered, danced, and even threw their arms in the air during ‘Mamma Mia’ when asked to by the band’s resident Agnetha.

    It wasn’t until after the performance that the four musicians became aware that the mysterious man who knew all the words to ‘Super Trouper’ was one of the most powerful men in the world: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    It’s believed the Kremlin picked up the £20,000 tab.

    Doing top-secret performances for the world’s powerbrokers is a long way from the Tote Hotel in Collingwood, in inner Melbourne, where the original Björn Again first performed two decades ago.

    The now famous cover band’s co-founder John Tyrrell said the various Björn Agains – there are as many as seven versions of the band around the world – are used to doing “weird” gigs.

    “We’ve played private gigs for Rowan Atkinson, we did Russell Crowe’s wedding, we’ve done a show for Bill Gates where we played ‘Money, Money, Money’,” he said as he supervised a sound-check before last night’s gig at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.

    To mark the 20-year anniversary of the band, the Australian-based Björn Again will tour around Australia, starting in Sydney on June 20th, 2009.

    Photos: (1) Super Troupers: Members of ABBA tribute band Björn Again yesterday before a gig at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. (2) Vladimir Putin

    The Sun-Herald (Sydney) – Sunday, 8 February 2009 (Page 42)

    ABBA TRIBUTE

    Putin’s denial

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s office has moved to quash claims he attended a mystery concert featuring ABBA lookalikes singing to him from behind a veil at a military compound near Moscow.

    Mr Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, reacted after the London-based Björn Again that imitates 1970s pop super-group ABBA said it had put on a secret $50,000 show for Mr Putin and eight others.

    Mr Peskov said Mr Putin never took part in any concert of the kind. But Björn Again stuck to its story. One of the band’s singers said she saw Mr Putin dancing to hits such as ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Waterloo’ at the performance.

    The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) – Tuesday, 10 February 2009 (Page 28)

    Putin’s Björn Again correct music style

    Who’d have ever thought Australia’s ABBA cover band Björn Again could cause an international incident? Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has denied weekend reports he booked them for a private show for eight at a military compound. The now UK-based act are, however adamant that eastern Europe’s reigning alpha male was in the audience. Putin’s denial may have something to do with London’s ‘The Sun’ newspaper suggesting he had gay tendencies for choosing them.

    The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) – Tuesday, 17 February 2009 (Page 21)

    Aussie Abba dabba do well overseas

    First Australian cover band Björn Again was reported to have performed for Vladimir Putin two weeks ago – denied by the Russian prime minister – and now another one FABBA, is wowing communist Vietnam where they’re huge. They were mobbed by more than 600 fans on arrival in Hanoi, plus more at their hotel before performing to a sold-out concert for 10,000 on Saturday. “It took us an hour to get out of the airport alone,” said a stunned Anthea Johnson, who plays Frida.

    The Sun-Herald (Sydney) – Sunday, 8 February 2009 (Page S19)
    S – Sydney’s best entertainment section

    ABBA MANIA

    London’s West End Sensation

    Final Australian shows – Don’t miss out!

    Over 100,000 patrons have relived the ABBA Phenomena

    Canberra Theatre Centre – Tuesday, 3 March 2009, 8pm
    Call Canberra Ticketing (02) 6275 2700
    or http://www.canberratheatrecentre.com.au

    Newcastle Civic Theatre – Thursday, 5 March 2009, 8pm
    Call Ticketek 1300 795 012 or http://www.ticketeck.com.au
    or Civic Theatre Box Office (02) 4929 1977

    Wollongong Entertainment Centre – Friday, 6 March 2009, 8pm
    Call Ticketek 1300 795 012 or http://www.ticketek.com.au

    Sydney Entertainment Centre – Saturday, 7 March 2009, 8pm
    Call ticketmaster 1300 883 622 or http://www.ticketmaster.com.au

    http://www.abbamanialive.com.au

  7. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian Again!

    More ABBA cover bands’news from the internet!

    Kind regards
    Samuel Inglles

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/05/vladimir-putin-pays-to-fl_n_164509.html

    Vladimir Putin Pays To Fly In Bjorn Again For Abba Tribute Concert

    MOSCOW — A British-based ABBA tribute band said Friday the Kremlin whisked it away to perform a private concert for Vladimir Putin _ offering a rare glimpse into the private life of the secretive Russian prime minister.
    The four-member Bjorn Again band said it traveled 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of Moscow for the Jan. 22 gig on the shores of Lake Valdai to perform before an exclusive audience of eight people _ Putin, an unidentified blonde woman and six other men in tuxedoes.
    Putin’s spokesman denied that the prime minister attended any such concert, but band members gave plenty of details and said they recognized Putin at the show.
    ABBA was one of the best-loved foreign bands during Soviet times, and the Swedish quartet even traveled to Moscow to perform in the Kremlin.
    But revelations that Putin could be a closet ABBA fan run counter to his traditional strongman image. The prime minister is better known for manly displays on the judo mat and in fighter jet cockpits, and for robust outbursts against the West.
    Rod Stephen, founder of Bjorn Again, originally thought it was a hoax when he received a phone call requesting that his band travel to Russia to perform at Lake Valdai.
    “It was the classic ‘hello … Kremlin … Russia … we want Bjorn Again’,” recalled Stephen. “I thought it was one of the band members sending me up.”
    But they soon understood the offer was serious.
    Story continues below
    Aileen McLaughlin, one of the four band members who traveled to Russia, said the group found the whole experience “bizarre” from the start. After flying into Moscow, they boarded a bus for a nine-hour journey on “very bad” roads and learned they were to perform before Putin.
    “We arrived at 5 in the morning at big metal security gates, where we had to get out and be searched,” she said by telephone from London. “We were just tired and wanted to get to the hotel. Oh my _ were we wrong again!”
    McLaughlin said they stayed in a place resembling a military installation, with very basic accommodations and tight security. The band members were guarded by machine gun-toting security guards and cameras, and when any of them ventured outside, they were prevented from straying by men with Kalishnikovs.
    But she said the audience _ comfortably seated on three sofas _ appeared to enjoy the concert.
    “They were clapping and swaying, and putting their fingers in the air, that kind of thing,” said McLaughlin. “He (Putin) had good rhythm. He was shouting ‘Bravo, Bravo!’ after the songs.”
    The audience particularly enjoyed “Super Trouper” and “Mamma Mia,” she added.
    A lace curtain separated the band from the elite audience for the hour-long, high-security show, but McLaughlin said at one point the spotlight flashed on the audience and band members saw Putin.
    McLaughlin described the lone woman as a blonde who was “wearing a long, cream, really pretty dress.” Putin’s wife, Lyudmila, has blond hair, but they are rarely seen together anymore.
    The band was paid 20,000 pounds ($30,000) for their performance, which was organized by the Moscow-based agents SAV Entertainment, said Stephen, speaking from London.
    A woman at SAV Entertainment denied that the company had anything to do with the event.
    “We are telling everyone that such a concert never took place. We are denying it,” she said, refusing to give her name.
    Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Putin attended any such party on or around Jan. 22, adding “neither Mr. Putin nor his apparatus ordered any band of this kind.”
    “I have no doubt that he likes some music of Abba,” Peskov said. “But he simply wasn’t there.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5671675.ece

    From The Times February 6, 2009

    Vladimir Putin flies in Bjorn Again for Abba tribute concert
    Tony Halpin in Moscow

    The world knows Vladimir Putin as Russia’s judo expert Prime Minister and former KGB spy. Now it can add Super Trouper to his image after he revelled in a secret Abba concert arranged by the Kremlin.

    Russia’s currency was sinking fast and its reputation had taken a battering in the gas dispute with Ukraine but government officials found time to organise the show for Mr Putin. The event is at odds with the ascetic image of Mr Putin presented to the Russian public on state media, which portrays him as a man of modest tastes. The Times has learnt that the Kremlin paid £20,000 for the private concert.

    The tribute group Björn Again was flown to Moscow from London, then driven 200 miles north by bus to a remote location near Lake Valdai, where they were kept at a military barracks. It was only as they prepared to perform in a tiny theatre the following night that they learnt who would be in the audience.

    Aileen McLaughlin, who performs as Abba’s blonde Agnetha Fältskog, said that Mr Putin and a woman companion were sitting on a sofa that was veiled by a lace curtain. Half a dozen other guests were present at the hour-long show on January 22 as the group sang 15 Abba hits including Waterloo, Gimme Gimme Gimme and Dancing Queen.

    “It was the smallest audience we have ever performed to but Mr Putin was really enjoying it, shouting ‘bravo’ and clapping with the others,” said Ms McLaughlin. “He was dancing along in his seat to Super Trouper and raised his hands in the air during Mamma Mia when we asked the audience to.” Björn Again performed despite the distraction of a burly security guard who sat in front of the stage watching their every move. Band members were under strict instructions never to leave the stage during the show.

    They were not invited to meet Mr Putin when it was all over. Instead, the band was taken back to their barracks while the Prime Minister and his guests watched a fireworks display.

    “Everybody was dressed up — Mr Putin was in a bow tie and the woman was in a really pretty, long, cream dress,” said Ms McLaughlin. “I assume it was his wife but I only got a glimpse of her because of the netting.” Mr Putin was accused last year — falsely — by the newspaper Moscow Korrespondent of divorcing his wife, Lyudmilla, to marry Alina Kabaeva, a beautiful Olympic gymnast half his age. He icily dismissed the allegation. The newspaper, owned by Alexander Lebedev — who bought the Evening Standard in London recently — later retracted the story.

    Rod Stephen, the founder of Björn Again, said that the group had arrived at the theatre to find that all the stage equipment they needed had been bought brand new for the show. Security was so tight that one of the band was advised not to go for a walk in the grounds afterwards because there were snipers around the theatre.

    Mr Stephen said that he had initially thought it was a prank call when an official rang to arrange the trip. “He said he was calling from the Kremlin and wanted to organise a concert for the No 2 person in Russia. I thought it was Putin but nobody was saying anything,” Mr Stephen said.

    “The band were a bit gobsmacked by the net curtain. But Mr Putin got into the spirit of it and had a great time — they all knew the Abba songs very well.”

    Although Mr Putin has not previously revealed himself as a fan of the Seventies Swedish supergroup, his fondness for parties is well documented. The Russian leader is a frequent visitor to Silvio Berlusconi’s villa in Sardinia, where he has been entertained by showgirls and dancers from the Italian Prime Minister’s media empire.

    Command performance

    The Putin playlist consisted of:

    Arrival; Waterloo; Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man after Midnight); Super Trouper; Honey Honey; Knowing Me, Knowing You; Ring Ring; Fernando; Voulez-Vous; Lay All Your Love on Me; Money, Money, Money; Take a Chance on Me; Mamma Mia; Dancing Queen; Thank You for the Music

    Sam’s note: click on the link to see photos

    http://english.vietnamnet.vn/Entertainment/2009/02/828706/

    FABBA arrives in Hanoi
    11:52′ 13/02/2009 (GMT+7)
    VietNamNet Bridge – ABBA cover band named FABBA arrived at the Noi Bai International Airport at 8pm, February 12.

    Many Vietnamese audience welcome the band, which including two girls and five men from Australia.

    The two key female singers, Anthea Johnson (as Freda) and Robyn Larymore (as Angetha) were immediately realized by the audience for their special hair styles of ABBA.

    Amazed by the enthusiasm of an audience of more than 200 at the airport, the five male members of the ban took a lot of photos and presented their signatures to Vietnamese fans.

    Robyn Larymore said the upcoming show by FABBA will be a big performance, where famous costumes of ABBA will appear on the stage. However, she didn’t reveal the number of songs and costumes used in the show.

    Tonight, February 13, FABBA will have the first performance at the Giang Vo Exhibition Centre in Hanoi.

    FABBA came to Vietnam last April and had shows in Hanoi (Giang Vo Exhibition Centre), Quang Ninh province (Tuan Chau International Tourism Zone) and HCM City (Military Zone 7 Sports House).

    FABBA at the Noi Bai International Airport:

  8. James Malanik Says:

    i would like to hear any tribute band and decide for myself if the music is good or not…

    I love the original sound and would pay to see a reunion of just aobut any kind.

  9. Samuel Inglles Says:

    Hi Ian

    An article on cover bands, including of ABBA.

    Kind Regards
    Samuel Inglles

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/entertainment/music/idol-curiosity/2009/05/07/1241289294693.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

    Idol curiosity

    Elissa Blake
    May 8, 2009

    PINK FLOYD: THE MOON AND BEYOND TOUR
    Presented by Beyond The Darkside,
    tonight at 8, Sydney Opera House, $85-$120 (sold out).

    Giant inflatable pig? Check. Smoke machine? Check. Laser lights? Check. The biggest, most expensive Australian tribute show, Beyond The Darkside, a nine-piece band paying homage to Pink Floyd, has been bumping in to the Sydney Opera House with The Moon And Beyond, a three-hour spectacle covering all the legendary prog-rock band’s early hits and including the entire Dark Side Of The Moon album.

    It’s costing $120,000 to stage and causing its creator to sweat bullets.

    “We are all pretty terrified,” says Kevin Hunt, 47, the show’s British creator, who also plays the role of Dave Gilmour, the Floyd’s lead guitarist and singer. “It’s a big statement playing at the Opera House. We’re just hoping we don’t freeze on stage.”

    Beyond The Darkside is one of more than 100 tribute acts touring Australia at any one time. Every night of the week, performers are pulling on hair-metal wigs or strapping on vintage Rickenbacker guitars to impersonate their favourite bands. Cringe-worthy pun-based names such as InHalen (Van Halen), Babba (Abba) and Gold Chisel (Cold Chisel) are the norm but all of them want to be taken seriously.

    “We get a lot of respect from audiences who love this music. They don’t care who’s playing it, so long as they’re good,” Hunt says. “But we get a lot of disrespect from the mainstream music industry. I don’t know why because we’re just playing what we believe is great music. Nobody bats an eyelid if an orchestra plays Beethoven or Tchaikovsky or anyone else. We just happen to play Pink Floyd. We’re like a symphony orchestra with modern instruments.”

    Tribute bands are big business. The best can earn between $3000 and $7000 a night and some are booked to perform every night of the week. The credit crunch doesn’t appear to be affecting them, either. Tickets are generally affordable and audiences know what they are getting for the money.

    Band manager Peter Kenelfield says a successful tribute act has to look as much like the artist as possible, be musically note perfect and have excellent artwork, including a professional-looking website and YouTube footage. Kenelfield managed the Absolutely Live Doors Show and Babba for six years. Now his agency, Bandshop, looks after Basketcase (Green Day) and Abbaration (Abba) among others. He says it’s wise for a band to choose an act that has split up or rarely tours Australia so audiences are keen to hear the music.

    “Either that or start another Abba show!” he says, adding that Britain has 14 Abba shows and 14 copycats of Queen (the world’s most tried and tested tribute subjects) touring at any one time. The globetrotting tribute Queen: It’s A Kinda Magic comes to the State Theatre on July 10 and 11 (on sale Monday).

    At last count, Australia has six Abba tribute shows. The most famous, Bjorn Again, celebrates its 20th anniversary next month with gigs at the State Theatre on June 19-20.

    “Lots of bands don’t tour here often or at all so seeing a tribute band is a chance for audiences to enjoy their favourite music and escape for a good night out,” says Sasha Stojanovski, lead singer of U2 tribute band Achtung Baby, who played to 30,000 people in Hyde Park for St Patrick’s Day. “We look like the people we’re impersonating and we’re able to recreate the music of the real U2. That goes a long way when you claim you’re a tribute act.”

    Performing under the name Robbee Williams, Francis Fisher dyes his hair and eyebrows and has a tattoo artist draw tattoos on his arms to recreate the look of Robbie Williams. “The people who come to my show are massive Robbie Williams fans and you can’t pull the wool over their eyes. I’ve watched all the DVDs and read the biographies. I know how to move and becheeky and can entertain a screaming 18-year-old and a granny… It’s all a hugelaugh. Tribute bands really fill the void when you can’t see the real thing.”

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