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ABBA The Concerts
ABBA live 1970-1982

FestfolketSalvation ArmyBABBAB2

1970/71

The tours

Unfortunately there is only rudimentary information about the concerts during these years.

Premiere at Famagusta

The live premiere of “ABBA” was abroad: all four were on vacation in Cyprus from April 5 to 16, 1970. They had an advertisement deal for these holidays with the travel agency Fritidsresor and part of it was a concert for Swedish UN soldiers. Rehearsals were done on the balconies of ABBA’s appartments at Twiga Tower.

None of the ABBA members seems to remember any part of the set list for this concert of about 15-30 minutes. It presumably included a mix of various Swedish songs. Probably two songs were done together as ‘pre-ABBA’.

Festfolket

In late 1970 and in spring 1971 Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Björn toured with a cabaret show, Festfolket, accompanied by the dance band The Lolas. This show was about 45 minutes. ‘Festfolket’ means ’party people’. There also was a joke about this name because when written as ‘Fästfolket’ it means ’engaged couples’. Rehearsals for this show began in September 1970 at the hotel (?) Sankt Jörgen.

Before the start of the tour they appeared on the radio show Våra favoriter (taped September 29, broadcast October 3) where they performed Frida’s Barnen sover, Agnetha’s Som ett eko and Björn & Benny’s Hej gamle man! from their upcoming solo album. On October 21 or 22 the TV programme Five Minutes Saloon was taped (broadcast December 13) with them performing on the songs Red Roses For A Blue Lady (chorus only) and California Here I Come. And on October 29-30 this was followed by the TV show I stället för Tarzan (broadcast October 31) possibly performing Hej gamle man!.

They usually performed on or around the weekends. According to Frida the audience varied from 14 to about 400. Especially the Festfolket shows were pretty disappointing and are remembered by the ABBA members as a big desaster, with people ordering their meals and raising their glasses to each other during the show.

quoteThis is the low end of the collaboration between the four of us. [...] Because we were not doing what we were supposed to do. We were singing other people’s songs in a kind of cabaret act. Benny and I were doing a number where we supposed to be two little boys. [...] It was embarrassing, but it was after that tour that we realized, our own songs that's we should do.
Björn in Sunday Night Show Special: Agnetha speaks, Channel 7, Australia, May 2013
quoteIt was not a success, generally comprising of a thin spread of vapid jokes and other people’s songs.
Agnetha, As I Am, p. 37
quoteLuckily, the show was never recorded. This was when we learned exactly what we should not be doing.
Björn, Bright Lights, Dark Shadows 2014, p.150
quote[Hej gamle man!] got absolutely the best audience reaction of all the numbers in the show. That’s when we really knew that we should concentrate on doing our own material in the future – it was a kind of turning point.
Björn, The Complete Recording Sessions 2017, p. 32

The BAB tour

While Frida toured with Lasse Berghagen from May 1971 on, Agnetha, Björn and Benny did an own folkpark tour with 60 shows, starting on April 30. They performed cover versions and several of Agnetha’s songs during a show lasting for about 30-45 minutes, accompanied by Göran Lagerberg (bass) and Kjell Jeppson (drums).

A 1971 summer tour with all four together may have been dropped because of the long time they already had spent and would spent together so closely, in private as well as on stage, which caused some stress and quarrels amongst them.

Inbetween (on July 6) Agnetha and Björn got married, Björn & Benny worked on own projects and Agnetha recorded her album När en vacker tanke blir en sang during the tour.

It’s a charming show from the trio Agnetha, Björn and Benny. They are good on stage and Björn and Agnetha seem very loving as a couple. In total there are ten songs which are very chart-oriented, although some of the songs are quite weak. Most memorable is a superb version of Graham Nash’s Teach Your Children and two amusing sketches. Björn Ulvaeus still sings with a little nasal sound which is characteristic of him, whilst Miss Fältskog is still limited vocally. I’m sure that will change over the years...
Hans Fridlund in Expressen (according to ABBA The Book p. 53-54)
The show is sincere, simple and very “hit parade”. Agnetha Fältskog has more stage presence and sings more in tune now. Björn Ulvaeus got lots of applause for Hej gamle man and for his duets. As for Benny Andersson, he’s a real stage animal these days. But it looks like they’ve gone for the easy option. It’s a shame they don’t put more into different songs. Benny is one of our rare real composeres.
Bengt Malin in Aftonbladet (according to ABBA The Book p. 53-54)
  • Set list Festfolket

    Set list

    The first Festfolket shows (around 45 minutes) included the following songs:

    • opening: Skriva låter (“Writing Songs”, a medley of pre-group songs written by Björn, Benny and Agnetha)
    • Arga unga män, förenen eder!
      (sung by Björn & Benny, a medley of “The Internationale” and other anthems and protest songs songs with altered lyrics)
    • Barnen sover (sung by Frida)
    • Tre kvart från nu (sung by Frida)
    • Vi är väninnor (sung by Agnetha & Frida)
    • Som ett eko (?, sung by Agnetha)
    • plus other songs (Vem kan segla förutan vind ?)
    • final: Tyck om varann (new lyrics to Hej, gamle man! by Bosse Carlgren, sung by all)
      by the end of November this was replaced with the orignal version of Hej, gamle man!

    (mainly based on information in ABBA The Book and Bright Lights, Dark Shadows)

    A couple of months after my début as a lyricist for stage shows I was contacted by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and asked to write material together with Peter Himmelstrand for a show with four young musicians who already had made names for themselves. Benny from rock band the Hep Stars, Björn from the folk group Hootenanny Singers, and the singers Anni Frid and Agnetha who had great solo careers well under way. [...] I can still remember the way Björn and Benny looked when they performed "Arga unga män... / Angry Young Men, Unite!" dressed as small children from a daycare centre. A couple of years laters acts like this one would be impossible to furnish ABBA with, but it worked for Festfolk.
    Bosse Carlgren
  • Set list Agnetha, Björn & Benny
  • Links & sources

The Concerts

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

  • 1970, April 10 – Famagusta (Cyprus)

    Cyprus

    Famagusta, Peroquet night club

    Of course this concert wasn’t part of any tour, but it was the first concert ever featuring the four members together.

    Facts & trivia

    • All four were on vacation in Cyprus from April 5 to 16, 1970. They had an advertisement deal for these holidays with the travel agency Fritidsresor and part of it was a concert for Swedish UN soldiers. Rehearsals were done on the balconies of ABBA’s appartments at Twiga Tower.
    • None of the ABBA members seems to remember any part of the set list for this concert of about 15-30 minutes. It presumably included a mix of various Swedish songs. Probably two songs were done as ‘pre-ABBA’.
    quoteAs I worked with Fritidsresor in Cyprus at that time I remember it very well.
    The four of the later ABBA group came to entertain the Swedish UN batallion. [...]
    I was asked to be the conférencier and it worked out well. The four did their performance very well and when all seemed to end I turned to the four and asked them if they could do anything together. They talked to each other and finally they came up to perform all four together. It was fantastic to listen to all four of them together. All of  us loved this performance.
    Goran Wrambeck

     

    Thanks to Goran for some information and clarification.
  • 1970, November 1 onwards – Gothenburg (Sweden)
  • 1970, November – Gothenburg (Sweden)
  • 1970, December 1-20 – Stockholm (Sweden)
  • 1971, January – Gothenburg (Sweden)
  • 1971, January / February – Sweden
  • 1971, March 14 – Hammarby (Sweden)
  • 1971, April 30 – Alingsås (Sweden)
  • 1971, May 1 – Lidköping (Sweden)
  • 1971, May 8 – Örebro (Sweden)
  • 1971, May 9 – Degerfors (Sweden)
  • 1971, May 15 (?) – Åhus (Sweden)
  • 1971, unknown date – Kristianstad (Sweden)
  • 1971, unknown date – Karlshamn (Sweden)
  • 1971, unknown date – Linköping (Sweden)
  • 1971, June 15 – Stockholm (Sweden)
  • 1971, June 26 – Säter (Sweden)
  • 1971, June 27 – Boras / Västergötland (Sweden)
  • 1971, July 10/11 – Stockholm area (Sweden)
  • 1971, July 16-18 – Uppsala area (Sweden)
  • 1971, July 31/August 1 (?) – Skutskär / Gävle (Sweden)
  • 1971, August – Odensjö / Gränna (Sweden)
  • 1971, August 19 – Stockholm
  • 1971, August – West Sweden
  • 1971, August 27 – Västerås (Sweden)
  • 1971, August 28 – Köping / Eskilstuna (Sweden)

The tours & concerts

1970-71
1973
1974-75
1975
1977
1979
1980
1981

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