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TourtrucksAustralia 1977Mag

Tour 1977

Australia

The Australian leg of the tour became legendary because of the ABBAmania going on in Australia which climaxed with the tour – and began to disappear again shortly after.

In total there was an audience of about 150,000 people with many more listening from outside the outdoor venues. Ticket costs were A$ 9-12. Costs for the tour were about A$ 700,000. In Europe Frida wore satin slacks for all concerts. For the Australian leg costume designer Owe Sandström made a short version as requested by Frida and they apparently brought both versions to Australia, but it seems Frida only wore the shorts there.

quoteWe’d had so many offers to go to Australia and we said, ‘No, it’s too far away.’ I don’t think anyone, [except] maybe Frida, wanted to go on this tour... Benny and I had realised a long time ago that the song is the important thing. In those days, you didn’t even make any money touring. Production [of the shows] was so expensive [with] a lot of people and stuff. And apart from the time you’re on stage, the rest is utterly, utterly boring and unproductive.
Björn, The Weekend Australian Magazine March 3-4, 2007, p. 18

2,000 fans came to Sydney airport for ABBA’s arrival on February 27. Newspapers predicted even more than 10,000 people and so the airport authorities warned fans to stay away.

quoteYes, the Australian tour was the most incredible of all the things that I experienced with ABBA. There was fever, there was hysteria, there were ovations, there were sweaty, obsessed crowds.
Sometimes it was awful. I felt as if they would get hold on me and I'd never get away again. It was as if I was going to be crushed. On occasions they would grab hold of us in the most unpleasant ways and there were times when we cried once we were inside the car.
No one who has experienced facing a screaming, boiling, hysterical crowd could avoid feeling shivers up and down their spine. It’s a thin line between ecstatic celebration and menace. It can turn around in a flash.
I don't think anyone could stay the same after such an encounter. It affects your personality. It remoulds you and can be the source of phobias. Naturally, it depends on how sensitive you are. Nonetheless I never felt that my life was in danger in Australia. Enthusiasm and warmth were always present too. We had a large security force of body guards and police around the clock, and always drove with the doors locked.
Agnetha in As I Am, p. 72ff
quoteWe had a situation getting out of the Myer Music Bowl when our car was lifted and moved into a different direction. That’s how many people were tugging... We had to get outand try to find our way through because you literally couldn’t see – it was just a sea of people.
Trainer and bodyguard Richard Norton, The Weekend Australian Magazine March 3-4, 2007, p. 18
quoteWe’re not talking about 20 or 100 fans at the airport – we’re talking about thousands. You haven’t seen that with anyone since.
Australian promoter Paul Dainty, The Weekend Australian Magazine March 3-4, 2007, p. 16
quoteIt was completely unreal. We’d arrive at an airport and there’d be people all the way along the road, waving. I couldn’t walk outside my hotel room – no way.
Björn, The Weekend Australian Magazine March 3-4, 2007, p. 16
quoteA lot of artists can get pretentious, but the girls didn’t even wear make-up offstage. They were so natural and down-to-earth and seemingly unaffected by who they were and how big they were, and that was really refreshing. Just walking around in their bikinis. There were no airs. It was just a nice, disarming quality.
Trainer and bodyguard Richard Norton, The Weekend Australian Magazine March 3-4, 2007, p. 18

Recordings

  • Some short video footage does exist and circulates at Youtube, showing snippets of and around the concerts, mainly recorded by TV stations.
  • According to Lasse Hallström in the interview on ABBA The Movie Limited Edition all Australian concerts were filmed with five cameras each, one steadycam on stage and four cameras on tripods.
  • Official recordings of ten Australian concerts exist according to Ludvig Andersson:
  • quote[...] a while ago we sat down and talked, Mia (Segolsson) and I at Universal. We talked about the fact that there was quite a lot of live material, which I thought sounded fun, so I asked if I could have it so that I could go through it. It really was a lot – ten concerts from Australia, [...]
    Ludvig Andersson in ABBA Fan Club Magazine #120
  • Set list

    Set list as usually performed on the Australian concerts

    Introduction with the sound of a helicopter
    (about 40 seconds; for the Australian outdoor concerts replaced with a longer introduction of Tiger)

    1. Tiger
    2. That’s Me
    3. Waterloo (followed by a welcome message by Björn)
    4. SOS
    5. Sitting In The Palmtree
    6. Money, Money, Money
    7. He Is Your Brother (introduced by Björn)
    8. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do (followed by an interruption while B&B play with sound effects for 3-4 minutes)
    9. Dum Dum Diddle
    10. When I Kissed The Teacher
    11. Knowing Me, Knowing You
    12. Rock Me
    13. I Am An A(introduction by Frida)
    14. I’ve Been Waiting For You
    15. Mamma Mia
    16. Fernando (followed by a reprise sung together with the audience)
    17. Why Did It Have To Be Me
    18. Intermezzo No. 1
      The Girl With The Golden Hair – a mini-musical
      :
    19. a) Thank You For The Music (introduced by Björn, different lyrics than on the studio version)
    20. b) I Wonder (Departure) (after an introduction by the narrator)
    21. c) I’m A Marionette (followed by an instrumental bridge)
    22. d) Get On The Carousel (including short reprises of the previous musical songs)
    23. So Long (played in Australia only, extended with the theme of In The Mood)
    24. Encore – Dancing Queen
    25. Encore – Thank You For The Music (reprise, with all of the band lined up)
    • At the Australian concerts there were fireworks after the show.
    • In ABBA The Movie Limited Edition Benny explains that the Mini-Musical wasn't supposed to be the highlight of the show. Regarding this he rather thinks of Fernando and Dancing Queen.
  • Staff
  • Links & sources

The Concerts

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

  • 1977, March 3 – Sydney (Australia)

    77Sydney77Sydney377Sydney2

    Sydney, RAS Showground Arena

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: more than 20,000 (sold out), one article states up to 30,000 each
    • Begin: 20.30
    • There was heavy rain on March 3 and Frida slipped during Waterloo (according to Bright Lights, Dark Shadows, some reports say it was during SOS), resulting in a contusion of the hip and two sprained fingers
    • Most of the filmed material of the first show was heavily damaged by water

     Pre-show itinerary

    • February 27: arrival of ABBA and all equipment from Sweden and the UK and from the Australian company Jands
      ABBA stayed at the hotel "The Sebel Town House".
    • February 28: set up
    • March 1: press conference, 14.00 sound checks and rehearsals
    • March 2: 14.00 sound and string rehearsal
    • March 3: 14.00 sound rehearsal
    quoteWe hardly had time for a sound check, so we were just praying to God that everything would work.
    Benny in Bright Lights, Dark Shadows
    quoteWe were terrified. We could have been electrocuted.
    Björn in Bright Lights, Dark Shadows
    quoteWe waited a long time for the rain to ease up. With so much electrical equipment around, guitars, microphones, sockets and so on, it made performing risky. However, we decided not to leave the soaking audience in the lurch, which was so much appreciated that we have probably never received such a rapturous reception anywhere – when we ran on the stage it seemed the ovation would never end.
    Agnetha in As I Am, p. 75.
    quoteThat rain! It did stop for a short time – and everyone got covered in bugs – including ABBA – then it started again. We didn’t care.
    Roxanne Dickson, ABBA Fanatic, October 1, 2016
    quotePaul [Dainty, the Australian promoter] and I [looked] at alternative sites to stage the shows at the back
    end of the tour, but we really didn’t find any sites that could take 45,000 people, so we said the shows have to play. I had to convince [the group] to perform and the crew that we could do it safely.
    ABBA’s tour manager Thomas Johansson, The Weekend Australian Magazine March 3-4, 2007, p. 19
    quoteNot everyone remembers the time Frida’s wig flew off while performing The Girl with the Golden Hair during Abba’s 1977 Australian tour. But it is seared into the memory of Ingmarie Halling. It was her first gig as hair and make-up stylist for Abba, having deserted the Swedish ballet company on the eve of a Russian tour to travel with the band to Australia. She was responsible for attaching the wig to Anni-Frid Lyngstad’s hair. “In the first dance the wig came off – whoosh – swished off her head. I thought, ‘Now I'm going to be sent home’,” Halling says. But when Frida came off stage, the recriminations never came. “She was just laughing, as she does all the time. She still has a good laugh about that today.”
    The Sydney Morning Herald, December 16, 2010

    Set list

    • For the Australian outdoor concerts the helicopter intro was replaced by a longer introduction of Tiger.
    • Due to the rain So Long was omitted from the set list. There was a long break instead.

    Recordings

    • I Wonder was released as the B-side of The Name Of The Game.

    Fan recording

    • this recording can easily be identified by the remarks about the heavy rain
    • includes the introduction with the sound of a helicopter (apparently inserted for the tape)
    1. Tiger
    2. That’s Me
    3. Waterloo
    4. SOS
    5. Sitting In The Palmtree
    6. Money, Money, Money
    7. He Is Your Brother
    8. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
    9. Rock Me
    10. I Am An A
    11. I’ve Been Waiting For You
    12. Mamma Mia
    13. Fernando
    14. Why Did It Have To Be Me
    15. Intermezzo No. 1
      “The Girl With The Golden Hair” – a mini-musical:
    16. a. Thank You For The Music
    17. b. I Wonder (Departure)
    18. c. I’m A Marionette
    19. Encore – Dancing Queen
    20. Encore – Thank You For The Music (reprise)

    Links

  • 1977, March 4 – Sydney (Australia)
  • 1977, March 5 – Melbourne (Australia)
  • 1977, March 6 – Melbourne (Australia)
  • 1977, March 8 – Adelaide (Australia)
  • 1977, March 10 – Perth (Australia)
  • 1977, March 11 – Perth (Australia)
  • 1977, March 12 – Perth (Australia)

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