74Tour174TourTour74-75Oslo

The European tour 1974/75

ABBA’s first European tour

The Concerts

Mirrored photo on the tour poster 1974/75Actually a folkpark tour with about 25 venues was planned for the summer 1974. Because of the promotion after the victory in Brighton this tour was cancelled on April 16. One can imagine that the folkpark managers were not amused at all. ABBA concentrated on a tour in autumn instead. Concerts originally were planned even in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Turkey, Israel, Greece, Yugoslavia and Spain, but these plans finally were dropped because of the small hit base. Some additional venues, for example Zürich (Switzerland), were cancelled because of the lack of
interest. The remaining tour was devided into two parts because Agnetha and Björn did not want to be away from their daughter Linda for too long.

quote‘I remember it as completely miserable.’ According to tour producer Thomas Johansson, it was ABBA’s European record labels who wanted ABBA to promote themselves through a concert tour. With only one major hit in Waterloo to their credit, Björn feels ‘it was too early. We hadn't built up enough credibility to sell out arenas and such.’

Carl Magnus Palm in ABBA Deluxe Edition, liner notes, p. 12

Rehearsals were done around November 5-15, 1974 in Rudbecksskolan, Stockholm-Sollentuna. Prior to the second part of the tour another week of rehearsals was spent at the Jarla theatre in Stockholm.

The tour was an average success only and not sold out everywhere outside Scandinavia. Some concerts even were cancelled because of low interest. Several press reviews were rather negative or written in a mocking way.

quoteWe thought that we would be turning some people away here and there. Especially in Germany and in Austria, where our records were always at the top of the charts. We also thought that we would be singing in front of a younger audience. The majority of people in the crowd were at least twenty-five to thirty years old.

Björn in ABBA The Book, p. 107

quoteWith ABBA I had a nice experience. There was this terrible Grand Prix Eurovision which previously has produced some interesting people, see Udo Jürgens or Celine Dion. ABBA were also present at the time, their Waterloo was a huge success. Immediately after the Grand Prix I addressed their Swedish tour producer. He was a friend who has made our concerts in Sweden. I urgently wanted to get ABBA to Germany, but it was a financial flop. People indeed have listened to ABBA, they were the winner of the competition, but they couldn't imagine yet, if that will also be a great night where you get great entertainment for two hours. So I have lost money with the first ABBA tour, but I retrieved this money later by several times through sold-out large halls.

German tour promoter Fritz Rau (2009)

press Much skin and a hot show

[...] Benny and Annafrid were sure after two successful concerts: “We made it in Germany.” Anna and Björn, the two pessimists of Abba, didn't dare to be joyful: “Perhaps we still will fail...”
Meanwhile this is for sure: all seven shows were a big success for the four Swedes (the Düsseldorf concert had to be cancelled because of TV duties). Despite their fear of the test of fire in Germany. This was because these were Abba’s first live gigs since the victory with “Waterloo” in Brighton. They had worked on their 90-minutes non-stop show for three months:
– Annafrid and Anna did two hours of dancing lessons each day. The result: they swirled on stage like Las Vegas girls.
– Benny and Björn got Sweden’s seven best studio musicians together for a first class background band.
– However, the main reason for the hot atmosphere at the concerts was: Abba showed much skin. More than any group before. The most courageous were Björn and Annafrid. Björn wore a skin-tight glittering suite in a Mick Jagger style. Annafrid appeared in a short bolero and a mini-skirt dagged 18 times. “From us as Swedes one just expects to look sexy”, Annafrid says. “And we have no problem with showing much skin. The main thing is that the music stays most important. And for our most recent single ‘So Long’ we got a great reception at our shows....."

Gerold Büchelmaier, BRAVO 51/1974, p. 15

For the concerts in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, a four page folder was printed “including discography, three pages including what was said about the group in the press, a black and white photograph taken during the pre-selection with Waterloo in Sweden and a folded poster naming all venues and dates in those three countries”. (ABBA Intermezzo #86
p. 11)

  • Set list

    StockholmSet list

    Before ABBA the Beat Makers played alone.

    Songs performed by ABBA probably included (listed alphabetically):

    • Gonna Sing You My Lovesong
    • Hasta Manana
    • He Is Your Brother
    • Hey, Hey Helen
    • Honey, Honey
    • Intermezzo No. 1 (‘Mama’)
    • I've Been Waiting For You
    • King Kong Song
    • Rock’n Roll Band
    • Rock Me
    • Sitting In The Palmtree
    • So Long
    • Watch Out
    • Waterloo (according to a press review performed as encore)
    • Ring, Ring is mentioned in a review of the Vejle Amts Folkeblad

    Notes:

    • While the set list may be very similiar to the Eskilstuna concert 1975 it seems that this list isn’t complete. ABBA The Book (p. 105) says ‘about 20 songs’ were played. The tour poster also mentions Ring, Ring, so it may be assumed that it actually is one of the missing songs.
    • Additional elements of the shows were fireworks (?) and soap bubbles.
    • As stated at the fanclub day in April 2016 Universal Music Sweden have no recordings of this tour in their archives, so we only can hope that there still are some official audio recordings elsewhere.
  • Staff

    Staff

    • Sound engineers: Michael B. Tretow and Claas af Geijerstam
    • Support group and live band were The Beatmakers:
      Boris Lindqvist (vocals, guitar, piano, percussion), Caj Högberg (bass), Peter Kott (trumpet),
      Torsten Dannenberg (saxophone, fluit, accordion), Wojciech Ernest (piano, keyboards), Zbigniew Ryta (drums)
    • Björn's old friend Hansi Schwarz (from the "Hootenanny Singers") was a bus driver for this tour.

    quoteSeveral of our band were not interested and I had to struggle to convince them. You have to remember, this was early ABBA and there was no budget. We were offered 300 kronor (about 34 Euro) a gig, which was a joke as we would make more money on our own. That money included ourselves being the opening act.

    Caj Högberg in ABBA Intermezzo No. 67/2012

    More information about people on the official site (Story –>The people).

  • Links & sources

    Books

    Links

    Thanks to Guido for providing several press articles.

 

Top of pageThe Concerts

Click on each entry to open/close a window with details.

  • 1974, October 22 – Sollentuna (preparation concert)

    Rudbeck

    Sollentuna, Rudbecksskolan

    Facts & trivia

    • ABBA rented the auditorium for two weeks of rehearsals and gave a free concert (perhaps not the full show) for the students

    Links

    • unknown Swedish paper, 1974ABBA played for free – and the teachers reported them!
    • Mikory’s BlogWhen I met ABBA in 1974 – fan report about the rehearsals and the concert at Rudbecksskolan
    • Mikory’s BlogYou should never give up – pictures of the rehearsals on October 25, 1974
  • 1974, November 17 – Copenhagen (Denmark)

    74kopenhagen2

    Copenhagen, Falkonercentret

    Facts & trivia

    • Begin: 16.00
    • Audience: sold out
  • 1974, November 18 – Hannover (Germany)

    74Hannover1

    Hannover, Kuppelsaal

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: 1,200 plus many free tickets (capacity 4,000)
  • 1974, November 19 – Munich (Germany)

    74Munich1

    Munich, Deutsches Museum

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: not sold out
  • 1974, November 21 – Frankfurt (Germany)

    74Frankfurt1

    Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: not sold out
  • 1974, November 22 – Berlin (Germany)

    74Berlin74Berlin3

    Berlin, Hochschule für Musik

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: not sold out
    • Begin: 19.00
    • a second concert was scheduled for 22.00, but cancelled due to technical problems according to the official explanation
  • 1974, November 23 – Nuremberg (Germany)

    74nuremberg1

    Nuremberg, Meistersingerhalle

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: not sold out

    pressBeing infantile for two hours
    ‘ABBA’ and the well-proportioned Swedish girls

    Rock’n’Roll regression in the Meistersinger Hall: the since Waterloo successful Swedish chart toppers “ABBA” showed how they managed to win the Grand Prix d’Eurovision: namely with a clever mix of sophisticated clean sex, infantile lyrics and a crisp sound. This recipe has already been applied successfully in 1965/66 by many American groups, this ’music’ then was called ‘teenbeat’ or ’bubblegum music’. The Swedes even expanded this recipe by some extent. They enriched the 4/4-Beat by interspersed brass passages and clever arrangements that they copied from the good James Last. Through the many trappings you do not realize immediately how primitive this music is, and you can happily stomp to it anyway, one-two-three-wham. The lyrics (‘ding dong, sing along!’) have the fascination of children's songs and cling – real earwormes – so firmly in your ears that you still find yourself humming them at breakfast the next morning. The whole thing gets a special kick by the two female singers whose voices cut like laser beams and whose hip moves outclass Marilyn Monroe to a
    well-behaved schoolgirl. Being really infantile for two hours, stomp stomp and slap slap, while the two
    well-proportioned Swedish girls and the two equally smart Swedish boys show what they have – what more could you want on a Saturday night? I liked it.

    Nürnberger Tageszeitung, 25.11.1974

    pressThe group ABBA in Nuremberg

    Fresh, happy, clean and sexy, these are Björn, Agnetha, Annafried and Benny, the four super whites from the land of the midnight sun, who were classified in the phalanx of lop leaders via Grand Prix Eurovision 74 and reminiscences of Napoleon and now can distribute their easily digestible ABBA sound to the province. The offer is a perfect show, a funny, colourful, cute bubble world. First in fairy costumes the two girls. Ruffles and feather work, doing choreographed movements, dolls in lockstep. Snow White and Rose Red. One plays it cool, shaking her pretty butt here and there, the other one, a vivacious whisk, in boots with knee pads, knew how to showcase a sexy navel.
    Honey, Honey! ‘The tight costumes always sit tight where it is expected by the public. And who does not dream of how a crisp Swedish girl is built like. The two boys: no swashbuckling types whose joints just role out of the suitcase. Nice guys like you and me.’ (so the advertising text) And the music? Rocky tear-jerkers made in Sweden, through with the four victors meanwhile have earned a few million. The scheduled addition nearly failed because the audience almost forgot the clapping. But then they abruptly remembered that ‘Waterloo’ had not been staged yet. So there finally still was the desired earworm for the way home.

    Nürnberger Nachrichten, 25.11.1974

  • 1974, November 24 – Wels (Austria) – cancelled

    Wels, Jubiläumshalle

    • scheduled for 20.00
    • cancelled because Frida was ill
  • 1974, November 25 – Innsbruck (Austria)

    Innsbruck

    Innsbruck, Kongresshaus

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: 800 (not sold out)

    press”Abba” at the Kongreßsaal
    Honey quickly makes money

    The success enforced the tour: the Swedish hit group “Abba” live at the well-filled Kongreßsaal for the first time.
    Honey, Honey, here is Abba doing Waterloo - and that was that. A group being successful on the market also shows off in a concert for once, and the sole surprise: one hadn’t expected how loud they can be. With
    Humphries-voices, sexy gymnastics and fairy-tale costumes the quartet does a danceparty set and their music fits best for harvest festivals. For a concert though this was a bit too poor.
    An average ensemble, brought to business by some lucky circumstances with songs disappearing like the last snow. Honey, Honey quickly makes money - but “Abba” at the Kongreßsaal wasn’t a total Waterloo. Entertainment for onlookers.

    Österreichische Zeitung

    pressABBA in Innsbruck

    ABBA convinced with their Innsbruck gig. The two female singers of the group were a class of their own. Unfortunately the concert suffered from the bad and too loud setup of the amplifiers and the awkward accoustics of the Dogana.

    Innsbrucker Zeitung

  • 1974, November 26 – Zürich (Switzerland)

    Zürich, Kongresshaus

    • cancelled due to low ticket sales
  • 1974, November 27 – Vienna (Austria)

    79Vienna1

    Vienna, Stadthalle

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: 1,200 (not sold out, capacity 5.600?)

    pressAbba and the “Beatmakers”

    This time Eurovision champignons from Schweden came to Vienna Stadthalle: the pop group Abba, which consists of two couples – Agnetha and Björn, Benny and Annifrid – and made its group name from the first letters of their names. Prior to them the “Beatmakers” played, their accompanying band who are quite nice in the background, being in the focus however they hardly presented any performances worth being mentioned.
    Björn and Benny write the lyrics and play the music, Annifrid and Agnetha worth being seen and heard as pretty singers. The four work brilliantly together, are a good team.
    Their performances include numbers, which charted in the hit lists – unambitious, heartfelt entertaining music. Ring-Ring, Waterloo and Honey, Honey were welcomed by the audience, but there weren’t any real storms of excitement. Weren’t their enough true fans of the kind of music Abba does in the Stadthalle? But after all success isn’t just about loudness.

    Wiener Zeitung, 01.12.1974

  • 1974, November 28 – Düsseldorf (Germany)

    Düsseldorf

    • apparently cancelled due to low ticket sales, the German magazine BRAVO claimed it was because of TV duties
  • 1974, November 29 – Bremen (Germany)

    1974Bremen21974Bremen1

    Bremen, Glocke

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: not sold out (less than 1,000?, capacity about 1,400)
    • Begin: 19.00

    Press reviews

    pressGruppe "Abba" brachte Popmusik aus Schweden


    „Was kann aus Schweden schon Gutes kommen?“ sagten skeptische Branchenkenner, als vor mehr einem Jahr die schwedische Popgruppe „Abba“ ihre erste Langspielplatte auf den deutschen Markt brachte. Dann aber kam im Mai dieses Jahres das europäische Schlager-Festival in Brighton in England, und „Abba“ siegte mit dem Beitrag „Waterloo“. Seitdem reißen die Angebote nicht ab. Auf der Europatournee kehrte das Schweden-Quartett – der Name „Abba“ steht für die Anfangsbuchstaben ihrer Vornamen Anna, Agnetha, Björn und Benny – auch in Bremen ein. Der große Glockensaal war allerdings nicht gefüllt. Dem Publikum servierten die Schweden zunächst ihre Begleitband solo. Die „Beat Makers“ legten eine Rockmusik vor, die manchmal jazzähnliche Anflüge erhielt.

    Dann erschienen die Sänger. Die beiden Ehemänner verstärkten die Band zusätzlich durch Piano und eine weitere Gitarre. Die Damen, bis auf Bauchnabel beziehungsweise Brustzwischenraum verhüllt, ließen lediglich ihre Stimmen erschallen. Schließlich fielen ihre Umhänge. Die Herren wurden noch kühner. Sie sangen in der zweiten Konzerthälfte sogar "oben ohne". Das Programm bestand teils aus süßlichen Schlagerliedchen, teils aus härteren Titeln. Technik und Licht wurden verschwenderisch eingesetzt. Maschinell fabrizierte Seifenblasen markierten den Schlußpunkt. Das Publikum ging mit. Ob Pfiffe bei solch einem Konzert Begeisterung oder Mißfallen ausdrücken sollen, ist allerdings schwer auszumachen.


    The group “Abba” brought pop music from Sweden

    “What good can come from Sweden?” Said skeptical industry experts, when the Swedish pop group “Abba” brought their first LP to the German market more than a year ago. Then, in May of this year, the European Schlager Festival came to Brighton in England, and “Abba” won with their entry “Waterloo”. Since then, the offers do not stop. On the European tour the Swedish quartet – the name “Abba” stands for the initial letters of their first names Anna, Agnetha, Björn and Benny – also came to Bremen. The large hall of the Glocke was not filled. The Swedes first served their audience their accompanying band solo. The "Beatmakers" presented a rock music, which sometimes received jazz-like approaches.

    Then the singers appeared. The two men also reinforced the band with a piano and another guitar. The ladies, wrapped up except for the belly or chest gap, merely let their voices ring. Finally their cloaks fell. The gentlemen became bolder. They even sang “top less” in the second half of the concert. The program consisted partly of sweet Schlager songs, some of harder tracks. Technology and light were used lavishly. Machine-made soap bubbles marked the ending. The audience went along. It is difficult to tell though whether whistles at such a concert express enthusiasm or displeasure.

    Weser-Kurier (?), November 1974

    pressHits to view
    The Swedish group “Abba” being guest in the main hall of the Glocke

    Rarely has the great hall of the Glocke been so badly frequented as for the guest performance of the Swedish group “Abba” – recently come to name and considerable royalties by two long-running international hits in the charts. First, the bad visit probably was because of the unfavorable initial time (for a variety of reasons 19 o'clock is not everyone’s cup of tea) and on the other side the promotion drum was stirred relatively little this time.
    The Swedish success quartet first did not let them vex themselves. The excellent backing band ‘The Beat Maker’ already had heated up with vigorously with oversized pitch and so the stars of the evening so to say could jump on the moving train. What “Abba” delivers must be – in terms of German groups of the same kind – classified to be of some higher levels, while this group mixes rock, soul and even homemade music together well. The evening provided the hits visually refined, especially the two sexy-lively ladies of the quartet knew how, and the fun was great at a precisely calculated show where everything was adjusted right, from the gestures on the microphone, the meticulously set dance routines to the well-calculated solo performances of individual group members, even if sometimes it was bordering kitsch.
    In the scantly occupied rows in the hall of the Glocke there was all joy and enthusiasm, but due to the low visit it overall could not develop to the level of cheers and approval as “Abba” probably is used to elsewhere. And so the smart Swedes only with great difficulty could be moved to do an encore, and what else could it be than their hit song Waterloo ...

    Weser-Kurier, 30.11.1974

  • 1974, November 30 – Hamburg (Germany)

    74Musikhalle1

    Hamburg, Musikhalle

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: not sold out
      According to a fan report an unknown number of free tickets was given to students at local schools.

    pressABBA in Hamburg

    The show-enjoying double couple from Sweden delivered lively banal food with oodles of sewn, punched and printed sequins and glitz, blowing bubbles from an invisible pump in the gridiron... ABBA’s solidly carpentered arrangements, the healthy musicality of all parties and the lively sense of a squeaky clean Go-Go atmosphere (a casually raised fluttering skirt here, a skintight pants suit there), which all means that it is such concentrated friendly and peaceful arts and crafts, that saying anything bad is not possible.

    Die Welt, December 2, 1974

  • 1975, January 10 – Oslo (Norway)

    74Oslo

    Oslo, Chateau Neuf

    Facts & trivia

    • no details known
  • 1975, January 11 – Stockholm (Sweden)

    75StockholmPoster197475Stockholm2

    Stockholm, Konserthuset

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: 1,700 (in Stora salen, sold out)
    • Begin: 21.00
    • The performance of "King Kong Song" was aborted after a mistake about the vocals.

    quoteIt’s the worst onstage moment that I have ever experienced. It happened on King Kong Song. When we came to one of the percussion breaks in the song, one of the girls started singing in the wrong place. One half of the band followed her, the other half played on like it was supposed to be, and after a while it was just chaos. There were a lot of colleagues in the audience, and it was all so embarrassing. We didn't even manage to finish the song properly, everyone just stopped playing, one after the other!

    Björn in The Complete Recording Sessions, p. 34

    Recordings

    Not available. The only known fan recording of these years is Eskilstuna 1975. Sometimes you can come across files labeled as ‘Copenhagen’, ’Gothenburg’ or ’Stockholm’, but these turn out to be the same recording, only of worse quality and/or different order of tracks.

  • 1975, January 12 – Lund (Sweden)

    OlympenPoster Lund74Lund1

    Lund, Olympen

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: sold out?
    • Begin: 16.00

    Links

    • Lotten.seBoken om Olympen i Lund och t.ex. tusen försvunna stolar, some memories of concerts at Olympen, includes a few pictures of the ABBA concert
  • 1975, January 14 – Vejle (Denmark)

    1975011419750114b

    Vejle, Idrættens Hus

    Facts & trivia

    • DGI-huset Vejle today
      In the 1970’s Idrættens Hus was an important concert venue, where Oscar Peterson, James Last, Sweet,
      Procol Harum, Gasolin’ and ABBA were among the performers  (Wikipedia)
    • Audience: 1,500?

    Press reviews

    Huge success for abba. With an international class show, the Swedish group takes the audience by storm.
    Vejle Amts Folkeblad

     

     

    information thanks to Lucas
  • 1975, January 17 – Copenhagen (Denmark)

    75tivoli2

    Copenhagen, Tivolis koncertsalen

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: 1,800 (?) (sold out)

    Recordings

    Not available. The only known fan recording of these years is Eskilstuna 1975. Sometimes you can come across files labeled as ‘Copenhagen’, ‘Gothenburg’ or ‘Stockholm’, but these turn out to be the same recording, only of worse quality and/or different order of tracks.

  • 1975, January 18 – Gothenburg (Sweden)

    Scandinavium

    Gothenburg, Scandinavium

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: 7,000 (sold out)

    Recordings

    Not available. The only known fan recording of these years is Eskilstuna 1975. Sometimes you can come across files labeled as ‘Copenhagen’, ‘Gothenburg’ or ‘Stockholm’, but these turn out to be the same recording, only of worse quality and/or different order of tracks.

    Links

  • 1975, January 20 – Helsinki (Finland)

    75Helsinki175Helsinki

    Helsinki, Finlandiatalo

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: sold out (?)
    • Begin: 20.00
    • After the concert at Finlandia Hall (Finlandiatalo) ABBA also did a short show at the night club Hesperia in Helsinki

    pressUusi Maailma, January 1975

    Helsinki airport was packed with celebrities that afternoon. Jane Fonda had just got on the Leningrad plane with her mother-in-law and her daughter Vanessa, as the next plane arrived carrying ABBA from Stockholm. The plane landed at 17.05. The quartet arrived together with Beatmakers, group of Swedish/Polish musicians, ten of them all together.
    Agnetha was wearing a long black maxi-coat, Anni-Frid an even longer black coat made out of velvet. With the boys wearing black too, they really looked like a group that belongs together. Frida had been knitting in the
    plane, Björn doing cross words, Benny reading the newspapers, and Anna (she has changed her name to sound more international, as did Frida too) well, Anna just tried to cope, she was feverish and eating penicillin... Being a little ill is not an acceptable reason to cancel the show, only if she lost her voice completely would be another matter.
    This is not the first time in Finland for them. Both girls have toured here as solo artists. Benny's been here with Hep Stars and Björn with Hootenanny Singers. Agnetha recalls performing in a town called Åbo.
    The ABBA members tell me that they will sing and tour only as long as they are popular. They really don’t believe they want to tour for much longer... They are planning to quit in the very near future and dedicate for making new songs, maybe recordings too.
    From the airport ABBA travelled to hotel Hesperia with a Rolls Royce model 1934. Some fans aged 10-12 were already there waiting for them. otherwise the visit was very inconspicuous, they were left alone between the two shows. After a little 30 minutes rest, the group members rushed to Finlandia Hall to see the stage and test the acoustics.
    At the Hesperia night club the audience had to hear 90 minutes of testing the instruments before ABBA got on stage. But each and everyone of those who’d bought the 50 marks ticket seemed quite satisfied. ABBA was just what people were waiting for and they’d seen on TV. Anna wore her fringed white pants, singing and moving like an angel. Frida was ruffer singer and very recognizable in her curly red hair, tiny skirt and white boots. We heard all the hits Hasta Manana, Ring Ring, Honey Honey, and of course at the end Waterloo, that really made the audience wild. Waterloo will be ABBA’s trade mark from now till eternity, they'll never get rid of it.
    The show was really swinging, as they say, the stage was full of action, sex, profesional entertaiment that makes you happy and your heart beating. – I really feel alive! This is what music should always be! It gives me energy! Said some one arterwards. And the ABBA-fans around Europe share this opinion.
    From Finland ABBA flew to Umaja right next morning. And that marked the end of the ten day nordic tour. And a first free weekend for a very long time! When ABBA are not working they do nothing special. They just are. But not together. While working they see each other even too often.

    Article in the Finnish magazine Uusi Maailma, January 1975, translated by Silly Old Clown for the ABBA4ever forum

  • 1975, January 22 – Umeå (Sweden)

    75Umea

    Umeå, Universum

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: sold out (?)

 

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