The tour was devided into two parts because Agnetha and Björn didn't want to be away from their daughter Linda for too long. In total there was an audience of 250,000 people (100,000 in Europe and 150,000 in Australia). The tour costumes were re-used on the Japanese TBS TV special in 1978.
Beginning in December 1976 preparations and rehearsals were done at Glenstudios (January) and at the Europafilm studios in Stockholm. For the ABBA World exhibition a (silent) video of about 3:10 was made with material filmed by Jack Churchill. It only was shown at the Sydney exhibition 2011 and documents how they worked on the stage design and the choreography. Apparently it was filmed just for documentation or a possible inclusion in ABBA The Movie and perhaps will be on display again at the permanent ABBA museum in Stockholm.
Honestly I’m afraid of our world tour in spring when we also will come to Germany. I'm trembling with fear that we cannot fullfill the huge expectations of the fans. Even though we already have rehearsed our shows almost daily since November. But when you had so many hits like we did there always are enough people just waiting for you to fall on your nose.
Frida in BRAVO 52/1976, p. 38
As described in Carl Magnus Palm’s 2017 edition of The Complete Recording Sessions (p. 228-231) ABBA recorded a rehearsed set list on January 7 at Glenstudios:
- 1 Tiger
- 2 That’s Me
4 He Is Your Brother
6 Sitting In The Palmtree
7 Money, Money, Money
8 I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
9 Dum Dum Diddle
10 When I Kissed The Teacher
11 Knowing Me, Knowing You
12 Rock Me
- The section I’m carry not the kind of girl you’d marry is repeated three times as it would in concert, but the rehearsal version ends with the words That’s Me before it segues over to Waterloo
13 I’ve Been Waiting For You
- Rock Me features some improvised lines by Björn in the second chorus
14 Mamma Mia
16 Why Did It Have To Be Me
17 Thank You For The Music
- Starts with the piano intro later used for I Wonder (Departure).
18 So Simple (I Wonder, assumed working title)
- Starting without narration and featuring different lyrics in the chorus:
What would life be?
Without a song, just a burden to bear
So I am, thanks to all the music
The girl with golden hair.
19 I’m A Marionette
- Swedish narration by Björn
Here is where the girl comes in, playing in a local band and having a very good time, but she doesn’t experience
great happiness until she meets a man, who she thinks is going to give her everything: a career, a home, happiness – everything. And then she sings to him.
Sung entirely alone by Frida I Wonder features completely different, unfinished lyrics, repeated in all verses:
So simple, it’s frightening
Is it love, this flash of lightning...
We’ll build a future
It can’t go wrong
20 Get On The Carousel
- Björn’s narration continues along the familiar story. The instrumental break is a dance-friendly riff played by saxophone and bass together with drums and percussion and on top a piano riff. Palm writes it resembles the bass riff in Do It Any Way You Wanna by People’s Choice
21 Dancing Queen
22 So Long
- In the first part of the song Björn throws in some I wanna get on! and Oh yeah, I wanna get on, get on! phrases in his Rock Me style. This version is about 1:45 longer as it would be in concert because of some more repeats of the line get on the carousel! and some more dissonant band parts.
- Björn ends the recording “Thank you very much. We’ve done a double-LP here today.”, apart from making a joke perhaps also an indication of the original plans for a live album.
Musicians: Benny Andersson (keyboards) – Anders Eljas, Wojciech Ernest (keyboards)
Björn Ulvaeus, Finn Sjöberg, Lasse Wellander (guitars) – Rutger Gunnarsson (bass) – Ola Brunkert (drums)
Malando Gassama (percussion) – Ulf Andersson, Lars O. Carlsson (saxophones, flutes)
Lena Andersson, Lena-Maria Gårdenäs, Maritza Horn (backing vocals)
I Am An A (it probably didn’t exist yet), Intermezzo No.1 and the reprise of Thank You For The Music weren’t included at this stage. So Long appears after Dancing Queen in opposite to the final (Australian) set list.
Benny and I had become interested in the musical form at a very early stage in our career and when we were about to go out on this tour, we thought it would be fun to have a sequence of songs that were a bit more theatrical than our other material.
I think it was I who came up with this concept, which was simple and flexible enough to fit almost any type of
song. I remember that someone asked us why we didn’t extend it to a full length musical. Well, I don’t think the story was quite good enough for that!
- Some video footage of several venues 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. How much additional material has survived after the movie was finished is not clear.
According to a BRAVO report it even was planned to transmit the filming on a video screen. True or a confusion with the filming for The Movie?
“We plan to do a video show which no other pop group in the world has done before”, says Björn. “TV cameras will record us live at our concerts and transmit the video directly to a huge on stage screen. This way even the people in the last rows will see everything.”
Gerald Büchelmaier, BRAVO 6/1977, p. 42
- Audio recordings of the Australian concerts exist according to Benny’s son Ludvig Andersson:
[...] 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
- There is also a live recording from the February 14 Royal Albert Hall venue (in 2014 a snippet was announced for a digital release, but it didn’t happen).
One of the shows was also recorded on 24-track tape by a London production company called La Maison Rouge, founded by prog band Jethro Tull. Intriguingly, on the tape box the client was listed as Atlantic Records, suggesting that the recording was made to give ABBA’s American record company a flavour of what they were like as a live act. With no apparent involvement by Michael B. Tretow, the engineers were Maison Rouge-employees Robin Black and Trevor White, and the producer was Dave Dee [...] It is not known whether this recording was ever mixed down
- In an interwiew in January 2019 with Icethesite Ludvig Andersson said that the 1977 live material wasn’t as good as the Wembley recordings:
It is true that I wanted to see if I could work with some of the Australia 1977 material as well but in terms of recording quality it was unfortunately not up to the standard that we could release.