Thursday, March 3rd, 1977

Sydney Showground, around 6.30 pm.March 3rd marks a significant anniversary for me. In 1977 on this day, I saw ABBA live on stage at their legendary first Australian concert in Sydney.

I feel thrilled to have been at the most famous concert of ABBA’s career. It’s the one concert that the ABBA members have all said they remember.

Its inclusion in ABBA – The Movie ensured its place in history. Not just ABBA history, but also the history of Sydney. After this and other rained-out concerts, government enquiries were held and large-scale indoor venues were finally built in Sydney.

I have some great memories of that night. Waiting in the grandstand for the concert to start, getting wet regardless of the shelter. The guy who kept announcing “you’re gonna get your rocks off!”. The immense noise from the crowd as ABBA took to the stage. The strobe-like effect of thousands of camera flashes for the first ten minutes. The reaction from the audience singing along to ‘Fernando’, and Björn saying everyone sang so well that “we’d like you to come backstage after the show so we can shake your hands and sign you up”. The fire projected on the back wall of the stage during ‘Fernando’ and the silhouette of a palm tree during ‘Sitting In The Palmtree’. Selected parts of ‘I Am An A’ (Björn: “I don’t like to shave”, Agnetha: “you should live in a cave”). ‘So Long’ not being performed. Björn announcing a song for “you to get up and dance to”. The fireworks at the end spelling out “Thank You Sydney – ABBA”.

I missed Frida’s famous slip during ‘Waterloo’ due to a momentary distraction. And my memories of the mini-musical “The Girl With The Golden Hair” aren’t as clear as other parts of the concert, probably because the songs were unknown. It seemed to me that ‘I’m A Marionette’ went on for 15 minutes. Now I know that it was reprised near the end of ‘Get On The Carousel’.

Some memories have been diluted by repeated viewings of ABBA – The Movie and listening to bootleg concert tapes. But others remain as clear as they were 31 (!) years ago.

The photo above right was one that I took of the stage and arena from our vantage point in the grandstand. See here for an exclusive gallery of photos from that night. And visit my site The ABBA Phenomenon in Australia for everything about ABBA’s Australian tour of 1977.

See also: That’s me

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4 Responses to “Thursday, March 3rd, 1977”

  1. Bonnie Says:

    Lucky, lucky, lucky you! Living in Australia in in the seventies, being an ABBA fan AND seeing them a that legendary concert. Wow! Frida mentioned it as one of her strongest memories of the ABBA period, she said in Berlin last autumn.
    Not that it’s freaking fantastic to have seen ABBA during an insignificant concert in Brussels of all places in 1979 but I mean the Sidney concert….that is something else.

  2. Ian Cole Says:

    Any ABBA concert was a special event. We were blessed in Sydney to have such a legendary concert, even if we did have to endure torrential rain and potential cancellation. But your concert was just as special because you were there!

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    Thank you for the memories, I was only 10yrs old, my mum took me to the concert and while she was standing on a chair, with me on her shoulders we fell backwards. I sprained my ankle and had to be taken backstage to get to the first aid tent. The security didn’t want to let us go through, as they thought we were a security risk. So Frida and I both fell over, I was in good company.

    Yours truly, still an ABBA fan
    Elizabeth

  4. ABBAMASTER Says:

    I totally adore Australian tour!!!!I have many records from their concerts-Sydney 3’rd March,Sydney 4.March,Adelaide,Melbourne Show 1,Melbourne Show 2,Perth Show 1,Perth Show 2.I still love abba live on stage!
    The rare record from Sydney I get last week and I must say:Sydney concert was one of great abba concerts.I love stage minimusical in Sydney sounds so diferent than in other Australian towns….
    When I listening rare tapes from Australian concerts I imagine that I’m in their concert,that I’m in Sydney Showgrounds and everypeople scream:WE WANT ABBA,WE WANT ABBA….afeter I hear sound of helicopter and….WOW-Frida and Agnetha-I’m A Tiger-They are so wild,they are sexy!That’s Me-(Tadatadadatada….Are you sure…Nice live version-At start you can hear markedly only Benny’s piano…)Waterloo-You can see 50 sec. in ABBA The Movie bud full version is better;)….Björn:”Hello Sydney….”Maybe by hearing something from my beautiful blond wife…she’s gonna sing:SOS”….The thrue story about Sitting in the Palmtree…:-)…nice.After this song coming one of my favourite songs-Money Money Money with great Benny’s piano improvisations before first refrain…..Oh yes-One of old singles….He Is your brother-nice gutar solo and girls dancing:-)
    I Do I Do….hmm good…bud after this song you can hear Björn and his sound of machine and girls with sound of train.Oh and Australian song-Waltzing Matilad.Dum Dum Diddle-benny and his accordion.And now something about school yars…when you fall in love with teacher-When I Kissed The Teacher-Sweet Agnteha and shes sexy “whop” in refrain:-)…”I was in sven heaven..”.And now number from new album called-Knowing Me Knowing You.Rockin song-Rock Me with energy.Frida and her wall of song-(Tell a little bit about us…a very new song-just for you,and we will also see Benny play the guitar for a change)…song I’m An A.Romantic song I’ve Been Waiting For You,Mamma Mia.Frida and Björn (Rock’N’ roll)….song-Why Did It Have To Be Me.Frida and her funny hat.I love her dance in this song.Benny play something differend-Intermezzo No_1.Instrumental song…Björn say story about minimusical:”She must leave her hometown….Anna and Frida sing together….Anna singing and we call her:THE GIRL WITH THE GOLDEN HAIR!”Thank You For The Music,slow and romantic song about memoties and disilusions-I Wonder-with nice saxophone part after refrain.The change piano to saxophone…”From concert to concert from town to town…..She feel so like a Marionette!!!-Fast rock song-I love fast piano in this song….Drum intro to Get On The Carousel-OMG this is ABBA?I’m not sure?Bud I love it!Get On-The roundabound just beganing….
    Song So Long wasn’t performed here….Dancing Queen….Frida:”Oh Yeah!…You’re the Dancing Queen!!!”…Gread audience-Thank You For The Music-(Reprise) and after it-gread fireworks.I love ABBA I love Australia-I love concert from Sydney.

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