Posts Tagged ‘ABBA concert’

Thursday, March 3rd, 1977

3 March, 2008

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

The ABBA flag

10 July, 2007

flag

Viewers of ABBA – The Movie will have seen one of these flags fluttering in the evening breeze at the start of ‘Fernando’. The flags bearing the ABBA logo in blue, green, yellow and red letters decorated the various concert venues during ABBA’s Australian tour in March 1977. I remember a row of them flying from flagpoles atop on of the stands behind the stage during that legendary first concert in Sydney on March 3rd. They can be seen adorning the Perth Entertainment Centre in The Movie (the round building Ashley runs into not long after arriving in Perth). And the one seen in close up was probably filmed in Melbourne.

The flags themselves were manufactured by AB Industri-Reklam in Stockholm, Sweden. So it’s surprising that there’s no recollection of the flags flying at European concert venues that year.

The colours of the letters are probably a simplified version of the “rainbow” ABBA logo that appeared on the European tour programme and on the recent authorised biography Fenemonet ABBA (aka The ABBA Phenomenon and ABBA By ABBA), and later featured on the ABBA Annuals (1978 to 1983) and 1994’s ABBA – The Complete Recording Sessions by Carl Magnus Palm.

How many of these flags were made or how many still exist is anyone’s guess. There were almost certainly several dozen on display in 1977. I’ve encountered three of them over the past twenty years – one hanging on the front wall of a house in Cleveland Street, Sydney in 1987; one in the hands of PolyGram Records in Sydney around 1992; and the one pictured here, that was offered for sale about ten years ago on the various ABBA mailing lists at the time, long before eBay came into our lives. I was hoping to buy it at the time, but it just didn’t work out. I recently heard from the successful buyer of the third one, who assures me that it’s in safe hands and being well looked after.

Many fans yearn for a particular rare ABBA record or merchandise, such as the ABBA dolls. This is my “holy grail”.


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