European & Australian Tour (ABBA)
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|Tour by ABBA|
Souvenir Program for ABBA's European & Australian Tour
|Start date||January 28, 1977|
|End date||March 12, 1977|
|No. of shows||
17 in Europe|
11 in Australia
|ABBA concert chronology|
European & Australian Tour was the second concert tour by Swedish pop group ABBA. Beginning on January 28 in Oslo (Norway) through March 12, 1977 (Perth, Australia), it was the first time the Scandinavian quartet performed their hits to massive audiences outside Europe. The Australian leg was to be the most memorable, with fan-frenzy scenes later immortalized in Lasse Hallström's ABBA: The Movie, released in 1977.
Ever since the beginning of their career, the members of ABBA rarely agreed to leave the safety of their home and recording sessions in Sweden to perform in concert. But after the release of the mega-successful Greatest Hits compilation and the album Arrival, their status changed dramatically and were clearly regarded as superstars around the globe.
In December 1976, the group began rehearsing their stage act in the Konserthuset in Stockholm (By January 1977, they moved to Europa Studios). The new tour meant an innovation and a preview peek into ABBA's future, showcasing a pop opera called The Girl with the Golden Hair - a mini-musical in 4 scenes - with Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad sharing the lead role in blonde wigs.
The girls worked with their choreographer Graham Tainton and prepared several dance numbers for some of the songs. Meanwhile, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson were engaged in the preparations even if they would not dance on stage. The memorable white and gold costumes they wore during the entire tour were designed by Owe Sandström.
The tour officially took off in Oslo (Norway), on January 28, 1977, performing in front of 5.300 screaming fans, including Prince Harald and Princess Sonja. They later gave concerts in Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Berlin, Cologne, Essen, Hannover, Hamburg, Amsterdam and Antwerp.
The last European country of the tour was Great Britain, where ABBA enjoyed massive sales and impressive chart success. They played in five sold-out gigs in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and at London's Royal Albert Hall, on February 14. Tickets for these shows were available only by mail application and it was later revealed that the box-office received 3.5 million requests for tickets, enough to fill the venue 580 times. Bjorn said that the Royal Albert Hall concerts were a very special moment and a milestone in ABBA's career. "The thousands of fans packed in displayed their enjoyment so much. They showed how much they liked our music. It was electric, vibrant. I never thought I would see it happen".
After the UK shows, the group returned to Stockholm to prepare for the Australian leg of the tour. With great anticipation from media and fans, Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, Frida and an entourage of 117 people arrived in Sydney on February 27. In the Boeing 727 hired to transport them, were manager Stig Andersson and their frequent video director Lasse Hallström, who was travelling with them in order to do a whole film about the tour with a little storyline.
Their first concerts in Australia took place at the Sydney Showgrounds on March 3 and 4, where 20.000 fans battled with a violent rainstorm, one that had Frida slip on stage with little harm. Despite the circumstances, the show went on. In Melbourne, the group was greeted on the Town Hall's balcony by a large crowd, a scene included in Hallström's project. The concerts were staged at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
After playing in Adelaide's Football Park, ABBA stayed for 3 days in Perth for the tour's final concerts at the Entertainment Centre. During the first of the five shows, an anonymous phone call advised that there was a bomb somewhere at the venue. At the time Benny was alone on stage playing the instrumental piece "Intermezzo No 1", but when the rest of the band didn't appear for several minutes Benny consulted with a stagehand, and shortly thereafter an announcement was made of a 15-minute interval and everyone was evacuated. There was no bomb though and both the audience and ABBA later returned to the stage and continued the concert. As a result, the second concert due to start at 9pm was delayed by 15 minutes.
The last Australian concert was on March 12, and ABBA went back to Stockholm to continue the recording of The Album and finishing other scenes from The Movie. All in all, the group played 11 dates in Australia before a total of 160,000 people. The frenzy behind their appearance down under was especially stressful on Agnetha Fältskog, who recalled that "sometimes it was awful. I felt as if they would get hold of me and I’d never get away again".
- "That's Me"
- "Sitting in the Palmtree"
- "Money, Money, Money"
- "He Is Your Brother"
- "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do"
- "Dum Dum Diddle"
- "When I Kissed the Teacher"
- "Knowing Me, Knowing You"
- "Rock Me"
- "I Am an A"
- "I've Been Waiting for You"
- "Mamma Mia"
- "Why Did It Have to Be Me"
- "Intermezzo no 1"
- The Girl with the Golden Hair - a mini-musical in 4 scenes -
- "Thank You for the Music"
- "I Wonder (Departure)"
- "I’m a Marionette"
- "Get on the Carousel"
- Some songs sung by Björn were dropped for some of the concerts in Melbourne, due to his suffering food poisoning.
- "So Long" was not performed at the first concert in Sydney.
|January 28, 1977||Oslo||Norway||Ekeberghallen||5,300/5,300||Audience attendees included Prince Harald and Princess Sonja of Norway and Bjorn's parents, Aina and Gunnar, who joined ABBA for a meal after the show.|
|January 29, 1977||Gothenburg||Sweden||Scandinavium||24,000/24,000|
|January 30, 1977|
|January 31, 1977||Copenhagen||Denmark||Brøndby Hall||8,400/8,400|
|February 1, 1977|
|February 2, 1977||Berlin||West Germany||Deutschlandhalle||10,000/10,000|
|February 3, 1977||Cologne||Sporthalle||7,000/7,000|
|February 4, 1977||Amsterdam||Netherlands||Jaap Edenhal||4,000/4,000|
|February 5, 1977||Antwerp||Belgium||Arena Hall||N/A|
|February 6, 1977||Essen||West Germany||Grugahalle||7,700/7,700|
|February 7, 1977||Hanover||Eilenriedehalle||7,500/7,500|
|February 8, 1977||Hamburg||Congress Center Hamburg||12,500/12,500|
|February 10, 1977||Birmingham||England||Birmingham Odeon||2,439/2,439||Tight security due to fears of an IRA bombing. Over 50,000 ticket requests.|
|February 11, 1977||Manchester||Free Trade Hall||2,500/2,500|
|February 12, 1977||Glasgow||Scotland||Apollo Theatre||3,500/3,500|
|February 13, 1977||London||England||Royal Albert Hall||10,544/10,544||3.5 million ticket requests.|
|February 14, 1977|
|March 3, 1977||Sydney||Australia||Sydney Showground||50,000/50,000||The stage was wet due to rainfall earlier in the day; Frida slipped on the stage whilst singing 'Waterloo'.|
|March 4, 1977|
|March 5, 1977||Melbourne||Sidney Myer Music Bowl||14,000/14,000||An additional 16,000 people viewed the concert from behind security fencing.|
|March 6, 1977
|March 8, 1977||Adelaide||Football Park||21,000/21,000||An additional 10,000 people viewed the concert from the stadium's car park.|
|March 10, 1977
|Perth||Perth Entertainment Centre||8,200/8,200||The first show was interrupted during a bomb threat, but later continued when the threat was declared a hoax. This resulted in a delayed starting time for the day's second concert.|
|March 11, 1977||8,200/8,200|
|March 12, 1977
- Anni-Frid Lyngstad – vocals
- Benny Andersson – vocals, piano
- Björn Ulvaeus – vocals, rhythm guitar
- Agnetha Fältskog – vocals
- Additional personnel
- Ulf Andersson – saxophones
- Ola Brunkert – drums
- Anders Eljas – keyboards
- Wojciech Ernest – keyboards
- Malando Gassama – percussion
- Rutger Gunnarsson – bass
- Lars Karlsson – saxophones
- Finn Sjöberg – guitars
- Lasse Wellander – guitars
- Lena Andersson, Lena-Maria Gårdenäs-Lawton, Maritza Horn – backing vocals
- Francis Matthews – narrator "The Girl With The Golden Hair"