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77Tour1977Poster1TourtrucksAustralia1977Mag

Tour 1977

Europe & Australia

The concerts

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.

Rehearsals

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 illustrates how they worked on the stage design and the choreography. Apparently it was filmed just for documentation purposes or a possible inclusion in ABBA The Movie and perhaps will be on display again at the permanent ABBA museum in Stockholm.

quoteHonestly 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. 1 Tiger
  2. 2 That’s 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
  3. 3 Waterloo
  4. 4 He Is Your Brother
  5. 5 S.O.S
  6. 6 Sitting In The Palmtree
  7. 7 Money, Money, Money
    • Frida almost whispers the words off my mind

  8. 8 I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
  9. 9 Dum Dum Diddle
  10. 10 When I Kissed The Teacher
  11. 11 Knowing Me, Knowing You
  12. 12 Rock Me
    • Rock Me features some improvised lines by Björn in the second chorus
  13. 13 I’ve Been Waiting For You
    • Starts with the piano intro later used for I Wonder (Departure).
  14. 14 Mamma Mia
  15. 15 Fernando
  16. 16 Why Did It Have To Be Me
  17. 17 Thank You For The Music
    • 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.
  18. 18 So Simple (I Wonder, assumed working title)
    • 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
  19. 19 I’m A Marionette
    • 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
  20. 20 Get On The Carousel
    • 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.
  21. 21 Dancing Queen
  22. 22 So Long
    • 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.

quoteBenny 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!
Björn in The Complete Recording Sessions (2017), p. 229

Europe

In total there was an European audience of about 100,000 people.

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

  • 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?
  • quote“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
  • 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. How much additional material has survived after the movie was finished is not clear.
  • 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
  • There is also a live recording of the February 14 Royal Albert Hall concert (in 2014 a snippet was announced for a digital release, but it didn’t happen).
  • quoteOne 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
     The Complete Recording Sessions (2017), p. 232
  • In an interwiew in January 2019 with Icethesite Ludvig Andersson said that the 1977 live material wasn’t as good as the Wembley recordings:
  • quoteIt 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.

     

  • Set list (Europe)

    Set list as usually performed in Europe

    • Introduction with the sound of a helicopter (about 40 seconds)
    • Tiger
    • That’s Me
    • Waterloo (followed by a welcome message by Björn)
    • SOS
    • Sitting In The Palmtree
    • Money, Money, Money
    • He Is Your Brother (introduced by Björn)
    • 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)
    • Dum Dum Diddle
    • When I Kissed The Teacher
    • Knowing Me, Knowing You
    • Rock Me
    • I Am An A(introduction by Frida)
    • I’ve Been Waiting For You
    • Mamma Mia
    • Fernando (followed by a reprise sung together with the audience)
    • Why Did It Have To Be Me
    • Intermezzo No. 1
      The Girl With The Golden Hair – a mini-musical
      :
    • a) Thank You For The Music (introduced by Björn, different lyrics than on the studio version)
    • b) I Wonder (Departure) (after an introduction by the narrator)
    • c) I’m A Marionette (followed by an instrumental bridge)
    • d) Get On The Carousel (including short reprises of the previous musical songs)
    • Encore – Dancing Queen
    • Encore – Thank You For The Music (reprise, with all of the band lined up)

    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.

  • Set list (Australia)
  • Staff (Europe)
  • Staff (Australia)
  • Links & sources

 

The Concerts

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

  • 1977, January 28 – Oslo (Norway)

    77Oslo1Oslo_

    Oslo, Ekeberg Idrettshall

    Facts & trivia

    • Audience: 6,000 (sold out)
    • The Norwegian royal couple was in the audience. To honour them ABBA did an a capella performance of the song
      Vi har ei tulle med öyne blå which the Norwegian Crownprincess Sonja had recorded in 1976. Apparently ABBA only sang the first verse:
      Vi har ei tulle med øyne blå, (We have a little baby girl with blue eyes)
      med silkehår og med ører små, (with silky hair and with tiny ears)
      og midt i fjeset en liten nese (and in the middle of the face a little nose)
      så stor som så. (as big as this.)

    Reviews

    press An outer of gold

    ABBA won everyone’s hearts when the smiling and honest demonstrated their amazing sound system and ended with the reply: It’s so good that anyone can do this after us.
    But, it is a mild exaggeration, because even though it may be a lot to put your finger on the musical and textual content of their world fame, the four middle-aged youths are immensely professional in the performance and grasp of their audience. In Biblical robe style, ABBA, which means father in the same box language, preached a heyday of Waterloo for light-hearted hearing and vision equipment. 30 square meters of speaker system and a never-resting candlestick, which alternated between hell’s red to ice-blue and poisonous green, were the frame of view around show. As well as a large and well-played orchestra and over 6,000 audiences who had been expecting from large car queues in the area Østbanen / Lambertseter. On a shelf in the wall, under the sign
    “heime - burte”, the Crown Prince Couple was welcomed with “I have a tulle with eyes blue”. Then it broke loose with SOS and “I’m a tiger”. For it should be said that ABBA is not quite as innocent in its appearance as good people like to think. Sex is a major ingredient in their show, and the Swedish girls in silver tricot turned the butt to the audience a little more often than what normal hindsight would indicate. But it’s not the first time Swedes have shown Norwegians their back in a sports hall. Which, by the way, surprised with excellent acoustics. Now, ABBA is not known to drive in lowered audiences with catastrophic volume, but it did well when the bass guitarist tore strings like hardest and the two parallel-playing drummers used maximum armor. And yet the sounds separated and listened more closely.
    The blowing group brought in was of high quality, and the music arrangements were first-rate for their use, although we came up with the reprehensible thought that they were written more to cover than to emphasize the qualities of the group’s beaters. On the whole, the external effect was fierce, the spouse’s use of sound and light has never been heard and seen in Norway. With the full blast on the machines, the two girls sang as 100 Anita Hegerlander, while the guys stayed more discreet in the background. The overall impression was very sympathetic. As kind and neat as the four are, they gather the generations in unanimous joy. It is the first time in the history of entertainment music that children and mother and grandfather understand each other’s tastes. In this fact, much of ABBA’s success lies, but also a part of their musical neglect. They strive for, and have the talent for, instantly captivating fighters who do not encounter anyone, and present them with the well-educated skills of the international artist.
    The audience took the event with stoic calm, but it was quite clear that the show fell into taste. However, it should not be pushed under the chair that the pace dropped towards the end, as tradition is in sports halls. The newly created mini-musical about the little amateur who became a star, and did not know how tiring it was, made no lasting impression. On the other hand, it did ABBA as stage people, and the show as a sparkling butcher cabaret.
    Øyvind Thorsen, Aftenposten (Norway), January 29, 1977
    press ABBA in Oslo - The goodness symphony

    Stunned cheers when ABBA appeared, but no one whistled and stamped, such as does ABBA’s audience. Then the applause became milder for each song. After an hour, half the concert, I saw several go, and in halls outside there was a queue outside the slot machine.
    Yet, the world’s most popular group appears publicly for the first time in a long time. Premiere in a sports hall in Oslo, the tour now goes to other cities with large halls down Europe and ends February 14 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Then on to Australia.
    Little joy came after a song that was fast and strong and could be mistaken for rock. It was in the air that the young people wanted to dance, but it didn’t. Cheers also when ABBA pretended to leave the line.
    We have to sit in place well before, as when Ingmar Bergman directs at the Dramat. So great expectations have to come. Carbon black – and a threatening engine noise. And so, full light and the drape away; there they were four in ABBA with nine musicians and three singers, all in white. Annifrid and Agneta had a silver cover with wide sleeves.
    Were they dressed up as angels? No, it was probably jiujistu clothes.

    They started with “Tiger”. Continuing with old numbers from the records, “Waterloo” arrived quite early and got distracted applause. Then the girls took off their silver caps and it helped a little. The big thrill spurred only later when they came in white swimsuits.
    Björn and Benny were yawned, one could not and the other was too thick, they said. The girls sometimes stretched out one arm, and in turn they turned and showed their tails. In honorary honor, Crown Prince Harald and his princess sat.
    It went surprisingly quietly on the estuary: no massive or elaborate gestures. The three girls in the chorus tied up their heads a few times.
    ABBA is mainly aimed at girls around the age of 15, all in the most special and perplexing years. On the breathtaking threshold between children and adults. They sing about a girls who dared to kiss their teacher, if the queen of the dance teased with the guys, lit them up and sticks.

    Actually, it is not music they sell, but the dream of success, the big lift that in one stroke will give a villa by the sea or at least a two-roomer on the eighth floor with its own key.
    They sing about the girl who hopes to close a rich man, so their advice sounds. If you can’t do that, you will be traveling to Las Vegas and winning the luck of the casino. The same kind of songs sings Git Gay and Anita Lindblom.
    The song “Money, money” is an effective and unexpected melody, and arrangements have contrasts. I think many of the hundreds of Swedish groups that are better than ABBA, some have to learn from them when it comes to dramatic effects.
    They revealed a dream: to put their music in context. Then came a 25 minute cavalcade of melodies that told the story of an unknown singer from the country who became famous and made tours around the world but became a puppet.

    This game was made with magnificent effects of smoke and flashing lights in different colors, but stiff and lifeless, as if they actually didn't see the game being about them stealing.
    It became extra mechanic, since ABBA’s sound is fierce. Although I heard several records and now heard them in reality, I do not know how they sing. One hears some hissing voices in the distance, inside a chubby drunk. They make the appearance of being natural and show themselves openly, but only tell slogans.
    And about kindness. They send out songs of tolerance and hide behind bodyguards called gorillas. They believe that their audience is of a sufficiently uncertain age to be cork. It is a stupor of humanity so amazingly large and pretentious that it is swallowed by pure genius.
    This was the most political music I’ve ever heard.
    Ingemar Glanzelius, Dagens Nyheter, January 29, 1977

    Recordings

    Not available.

    Links

  • 1977, January 29 – Gothenburg (Sweden)
  • 1977, January 30 – Gothenburg (Sweden)
  • 1977, January 31 – Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • 1977, February 1 – Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • 1977, February 2 – Berlin (Germany)
  • 1977, February 3 – Cologne (Germany)
  • 1977, February 4 – Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • 1977, February 5 – Antwerp/Deurne (Belgium)
  • 1977, February 6 – Essen (Germany)
  • 1977, February 7 – Hannover (Germany)
  • 1977, February 8 – Hamburg (Germany)
  • 1977, February 10 – Birmingham (United Kingdom)
  • 1977, February 11 – Manchester (United Kingdom)
  • 1977, February 12 – Glasgow (United Kingdom)
  • 1977, February 14 – London (United Kingdom)
  • 1977, March 3 – Sydney (Australia)
  • 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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