40 years ago ..... ABBA's 1979 concert tour

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by FloydMaui, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    [​IMG]

    40 years ago ...... in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada .... ABBA played the first date of its one and only North American concert tour .... They'd been to America several times for television promotional appearances and such .... but this time it was to perform 18 full-length concerts with a large band ......

    September 13, 1979 Edmonton AB - Northlands Coliseum
    September 15, 1979 Vancouver BC - Pacific Coliseum
    September 17, 1979 Seattle - Seattle Center Coliseum
    September 18, 1979 Portland OR - Paramount Theatre
    September 19, 1979 Concord CA - Pavilion
    September 21, 1979 Anaheim CA - ACC Arena
    September 22, 1979 San Diego - Sports Arena
    September 23, 1979 Tempe AZ - ASU Activity Center
    September 24, 1979 Las Vegas - Aladdin Theatre
    September 26, 1979 Omaha NE - Civic Auditorium
    September 27, 1979 Saint Paul MN - Civic Center
    September 29, 1979 Milwaukee Auditorium
    September 30, 1979 Chicago - Auditorium Theatre
    October 2, 1979 New York City - Radio City Music Hall
    October 3, 1979 Boston - Music Hall
    October 4, 1979 Washington D.C. - DAR Constitution Hall
    October 6, 1979 Montreal - Forum
    October 7, 1979 Toronto - Maple Leaf Gardens

    [​IMG]



    ☆ Their current single at the time was "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", featured on the forthcoming Greatest Hits Vol.2 ........ Their most recent original LP was Voulez-Vous , released the previous April .... Six songs from Voulez-Vouz were performed in the shows .

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    So then ...... here is a thread to discuss this era of ABBA's history ..... 1979 !

    I plan on posting pics, links, video, and various things as the shows anniversary-dates tick by .... and will continue through with the European tour including Wembley Arena, London, which produced the live album and video .... and then, finally, the Japan dates of March 1980, which ended up being their final concerts.

    It'd be awesome to hear some first-hand accounts from anyone here who actually saw them !

    Also, I'd also like to try and get more clear on what recordings really exist from this tour.... I've got a few .


    I understand how things can go around here... but it's my hope to keep things fairly on-topic and not have it turn into an "All Things ABBA" type thread.....
    This is not the place to talk about their supposed forthcoming new music or "ABBA-tar" show -- that belongs here:
    New music by ABBA!
    ABBA to tour as holograms in 2019


    Okay then ..... thoughts, anyone ?
     
    granola, Retropsych, Rich C and 16 others like this.
  2. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
     
    sathvyre likes this.
  3. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    sathvyre and ThirdBowl like this.
  4. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    rehearsals for the tour in August .......

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    rehearsals .......

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Max Florian, realkilroy, Mbe and 9 others like this.
  6. Elliottmarx

    Elliottmarx Always in the mood for Burt Bacharach

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I don't know anything about this tour, and look forward to reading fans' memories and thoughts. I love the rehearsal pictures!
     
  7. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    I was there September 19.
     
  8. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    You immediately qualify as an expert authority here ! :agree:
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
  9. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    In Focus: North American & European Tour 1979

    September 1979 saw the launch of ABBA’s autumn tour of North America and Europe. Join us for this look back on the group’s adventures on what turned out to be their last major tour.

    To tour or not to tour
    In terms of the international rock scene in the 1970s, ABBA was, in many ways, a most unusual band. Take touring, for example. Many other acts saw this as something they simply had to do, whether they liked it or not. When an album was released it was the band’s “duty” to promote it as much as possible, and the way to do that was to go on tour. Some artists even toured parallel with their hard work in the recording studio, flying back and forth between audience-filled stadiums and the intensely private studio environment.

    But that was not for ABBA. As far as their musical career was concerned, writing songs and working in the studio was always their number one priority. Everything else – from photo shoots and video filming, to interviews and promotion – they could have done without most of the time. Of course, as four individuals they each had a slightly different take on the matter. All four members loathed the travelling that comes with the touring experience, as indeed do most rock stars. But onstage their feelings were more divided. “I think its fun being onstage,” Frida once said. “I feel secure because I enjoy what I’m doing.” Agnetha was more ambivalent. Meeting the audience could be an emotional kick for her, but she never felt entirely comfortable as a stage performer. Björn and Benny’s feelings were somewhere in-between most of the time: they had each performed at least 1,000 gigs during their careers as local pop stars in 1960s Sweden. With some reason, they felt that they had done their share of touring.

    However, even ABBA went out to meet their audience from time to time. But by 1979, five years after their international breakthrough with "Waterloo", touring outside Scandinavia had been limited to a few weeks in Europe and a short venture to Australia in 1977. That was all. So far the band’s videos and their television appearances had worked very well for them as promotional tools. But the band knew – as did their manager, Stig Anderson – that there was one continent where touring was absolutely necessary if you wanted to make an impression: the United States of America.

    So far, ABBA’s record sales had been impressive if not exactly explosive on the American market. "Dancing Queen" had been a number one in 1976, and a promotional campaign in the spring of 1978 had kicked "Take A Chance On Me" up to number three on the charts. But album sales had remained a little slower for ABBA, their LPs seldom staying very long in the Top 20. Therefore, they finally bit the bullet and decided to make a concert tour of the United States in the autumn of 1979. The tour would then be extended to Europe, concluding with two weeks in Japan in the spring of 1980.

    Preparing for the Big show
    For this tour, ABBA wanted to be especially well-prepared and began preliminary rehearsals in May 1979, four months before the start of the tour. “We tour so infrequently that we need to have a little warm-up”, said Benny. “Especially since we’re going to the United States, where we’ve never been before. … We need a little extra self-confidence as a stage act.” To try out their new band, ABBA even performed surprise concerts at clubs in two Swedish towns. For one of the biggest acts in the world to appear live onstage in front of just a few hundred people was certainly not an everyday occurence. Small wonder that the crowd was filled with dropped jaws.

    After a summer break, rehearsals continued in August. At this time, Björn and Benny were also trying to come up with a brand new song that could be released as a single in conjunction with the tour. After a couple of attempts they finally came up with the tune they were looking for: the disco number "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)".

    On the Stage tonight
    Rehearsals concluded, costumes fitted and sown, and stage settings designed, ABBA were finally able to commence their tour. The first concert took place at Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum in Canada on September 13, 1979.

    In the backing band were mostly ABBA’s usual tour and studio regulars: Ola Brunkert on drums, Rutger Gunnarsson on bass, and Lasse Wellander on guitar. Anders Eljas (who later co-arranged and orchestrated Björn and Benny’s musicals Chess and Kristina från Duvemåla) provided additional keyboards. An unfamiliar name for international audiences was backing singer Tomas Ledin. Tomas – the boyfriend of Stig Anderson’s daughter, Marie – was a new signing to ABBA’s record label, Polar Music. He was also awarded a solo spot in the show, performing his current disco rock single, "Not Bad At All".

    The largely white, blue and purple stage set was meant to reflect the “chilly” Nordic origins of ABBA. The backdrops took the shape of icebergs, underlining the “north pole” theme. The man behind this concept was designer Rune Söderqvist, working closely with costume designer Owe Sandström.”We used the last three colours of the rainbow – blue, indigo and violet – as the starting point for our designs”, Owe recalled. “Then we studied all ranges of colours imaginable; it’s no exaggeration to say that we looked at several hundred different shades of those three colours.”

    The tour went on from Canada to various cities in the United States, and then back to Canada again, before ABBA returned to Sweden for a break. The US part of the tour was only half-successful: a couple of concerts were not quite the sold-out smashes the group and their manager had hoped for. There was also an incident where ABBA’s private plane got caught up in bad weather, a horrific experience for Agnetha, who already had a terrible fear of flying. “For one and a half hours our lives were in mortal danger – that’s how it felt for me”, she recalled. As a result of Agnetha’s trauma and a flu she was battling at the same time, the concert in Washington D.C. had to be cancelled.

    The critics were divided in their opinion of the show, some praising the group, others complaining that ABBA were too well-behaved, far from the usual stadium rock’n’roll performance. But most audiences were well aware they weren’t up for a wild Led Zeppelin-style rock fest and simply enjoyed ABBA for what they were. The show featured energetic interpretations of a wide range of ABBA hits, with a particular emphasis on the group’s then current album, Voulez-Vous. Audiences were also treated to a brand new ballad, "I’m Still Alive", written and performed by Agnetha (Björn provided the lyrics). ABBA never released the song on record.

    On October 19, the European part of ABBA’s tour started with a concert in Gothenburg, Sweden. After mostly sell-out dates in Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, England (including an extraordinary six concerts at London’s Wembley Arena) and Scotland, the tour finished with a concert in Dublin, Ireland on November 15. After ABBA took their show to Japan for two weeks in March 1980, the group never went on tour again. “My musical home is the studio, not the stage”, Agnetha remarked at one point – and she might as well have been speaking for the whole group.

    lifted from here: In Focus: North American & European Tour 1979 | ABBA
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  10. ThirdBowl

    ThirdBowl Have You Had Your Third Bowl Today?

    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Amazing! Please feel free to share any details about the show! Must have been cool seeing them at the Concord Pavilion.

    Any specific memories? highlights? Ticket stub? Photos??
     
    FloydMaui likes this.
  11. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I can’t believe I didn’t see them when they were in CA, only a few miles from where I lived! Of course, when you’re a teen you think everything is going to last forever and you can just catch it another time. A shame. I also missed Supertramp’s last tour just a few years later. Look forward to reading more posts here!
     
    ThirdBowl and FloydMaui like this.
  12. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Should anybody want an 8 minute ABBA history lesson ......... this'll do !

    of course there are many others ......
     
    ndoheny and ThirdBowl like this.
  13. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    It was a good show but not great for me. I was so excited to see them but the show felt a little subdued. In looking at the schedule above it was their third night in a row so maybe they were a little tired perhaps. I would have ideally preferred to have seen the Arrival tour show they did in Australia. I liked the material much better on that gig rather than Voulez Vous. Still obviously great to see them though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    anduandi, FloydMaui and ThirdBowl like this.
  14. Troy4

    Troy4 Forum Resident

    Steven Wilson said the Beatles were the best pop band ever and Abba were the second best..
    I have never owned a abba record but always know every word to all there songs like most people.
    Ingrained in the membrane.
    Good tunes and catchy lyrics once heard will stay in ones head for ever.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  15. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    the September 8, 1979 issue of Billboard Magazine had a special 42 page supplement devoted to ABBA.

    ABBA Fans Blog: Billboard

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    cut to the chase, Jrr and ThirdBowl like this.
  16. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I understand that feeling .....
    That actually speaks to a good question ..... Did ABBA wait too long in coming to America ?
    Did they miss their optimal moment by not coming here to tour in early 1978 when "Take A Chance On Me" and "Name Of The Game" were still fresh ?
    I think the answer might be yes ......

    I'd like to hear more of your thoughts about Concord .... perhaps you can share more .... maybe on the 19th .
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    anduandi, ThirdBowl and chacha like this.
  17. Amoladikwig

    Amoladikwig Member

    Location:
    NC
    Do any live recordings exist from this tour besides the one from London?
     
  18. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    ABBA recently overtook the Bee Gees as my favorite all time band. Seems a lot of people are like me where if they liked one, they liked both. However, I think there is a pretty good distinction I see with the benefit of time, and may explain why ABBA was simply not that popular in the US until Mama Mia the musical came out.

    ABBA’a DNA was all over their very first album, and while they were firming things up and experimenting a little (with guys still taking a lead here and there, but diminishing as time went by) and figuring out their “go to” style until it seemed locked in by Arrival, the Bee Gees changed their music to go more with the times. You would be forgiven not even knowing who sang Jive Talkin’ (as many didn’t) even if you were a hard core fan in 1967. So, they have a lot of period fans, where with ABBA, if you didn’t like their second album you probably didn’t like The Visitors (final album) either. So, you were likely on for the entire ride or you never were a fan back in the 70’s/early 80’s. Their chord structures were very sophisticated but they were dismissed as a fluff pop group. In the US, I think they were simply ahead of their time. Timing is everything with both films and music. I think had ABBA came out in the 90’s they would have had a much better chance of hitting it big from the get to. Touring could have changed that the lackluster reception in the 70’s, but they just weren’t getting a whole lot of radio support either, and I don’t think Atlantic really knew how to promote them. Don’t even know why they were on that label...they didn’t seem well served. They had some singles hits, but their albums here didn’t sell that well. And as big of a fan as I am, I do think they come across as unexciting and boring on video. They readily admit they were a studio band, and they most certainly were. ABBA and Michael Tretow, the engineer, were masters of their domain and perfectionists. The US finally accepted them when Mama Mia came out, and their schtick was much more in tune with the times by then. And that’s when the US was really introduced to their music. It was the right time in the 90’s.

    I have the three album live set and a few other live items, and I just don’t ever play or look at any of them. For me, they will always be one of the finest studio bands. Some bands are just better being behind the scenes. Fleetwood Mac is the rare band that excel at both.
     
  19. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I have wondered if ABBA would have been received differently in the US (and everywhere) if Björn had been a more capable and conventional guitarist ..... He didn't really have a "voice" on the guitar .... If he'd been an actual counter-balance to Benny as an instrumentalist ..... then .... ?
     
    ThirdBowl likes this.
  20. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Sept. 13, 1979 ..... press conference in Edmonton before the first show....



    Burns me up that the questioner cut off Frida while she was talking ! :mad:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  21. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    The answer is yes .... the one from Vienna 10-29-79 is the best I know of.
    There are others that are pretty poor quality, and of questionable ID ....
    plus it's hard or impossible to find these things in a pure/lossless form .... they've been mp3'd repeatedly, cut up and messed with, youtube'd, downloaded again, repeat .....

    and what became of the original tapes ...... ???

    really frustrating !
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    ThirdBowl likes this.
  22. Amoladikwig

    Amoladikwig Member

    Location:
    NC
    Thanks. The only thing i have seen besides the official live album is a radio broadcast from one of the London shows. Not sure which one it is though.
     
    FloydMaui likes this.
  23. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    There is also a complete recording from Tokyo March 1980 that is listenable, to me at least... but I only found it in mp3 and have no idea how far from the master it is.

    I have a theory that "bootleg" cds from the mid-90s -- before the era of widespread cd-burning, file-sharing, social media, etc. -- are where some of the best surviving recordings are .....
    but sadly.... I don't have a single one....
    wish I had the bucks to entice someone to part with their's ....

    I once connected with a European "superfan" (or so I thought because of his extensive website) who claimed to have a nice collection of old bootleg cds -- he had posted a ton of stuff in mp3 form, and I grabbed a lot of it .... I tried to get him to share lossless files with me ..... but the process was slow and error-ridden .... and it turns out he didn't have a very good grasp on the substance of what he had .... plus the language barrier .....
    darn.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    ThirdBowl likes this.
  24. FloydMaui

    FloydMaui Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Edmonton 9-13-79

    this pic might look familiar...
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now, three things happened at this first show that were extraordinary ....

    The first was that it was revealed that their male backup singer, Tomas Ledin, got a featured spot in the show singing his song "Not Bad At All"....
    Very generous on the part of ABBA to give that too him .... and it wasn't a bad song, really, but ................... of course everyone would've preferred another ABBA tune instead. (my vote would go to "Mamma Mia", imo the set's most glaring omission)
    Tomas Ledin - Wikipedia

    The second was that they (supposedly) performed "One Man, One Woman", sung by Frida, for the first and only time ..... It never happened again .... so something unfortunate must've happened that night that killed it .... really too bad !!! .... They must've rehearsed it a bunch so .....???



    And the third thing was that they (supposedly) did not perform "Waterloo" ! ....
    What ?? Why not ??? very strange .... It should've been the final song ..... so my guess is that they ran out of time and hit the curfew .....? That must've been very disappointing to the fans that night ....

    Now, you might think "One Man, One Woman" was then cut to make room for "Waterloo" .... but neither were (supposedly) performed at the next show in Vancouver BC either so ...... ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
    Mbe, cut to the chase and ThirdBowl like this.
  25. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    Location:
    detroit, mi
    Never realized they toured in the U.S.
     
    FloydMaui likes this.

Share This Page