Just like the real thing, ABBA gold the 40th Anniversary tribute band for the most part thrilled the sold out audience both young, old, and in between at Twin Towns on Saturday night. Tiff and I were like excited teenagers leaving the kids at home to relive memories of wanting to be Anna and Frida for just one night. I was particularly excited, growing up in a large extended family and being the least dainty looking of the girls, always being forced to play the part of Benny in our ABBA tribute band – but tonight I (Jodie) was Frida and Tiff was Anna.
The musicians – Andrew Taylor as Bjorn and Nick McGregor as Benny, supported by a drummer and Bass player were extremely tight and sounded great. Accompanied by the pitch perfect performance of Kathleen Maloney (Agnetha) and Kirsten Elliot as Anna Frid (Frida) on vocal, you had a pretty decent ABBA tribute band. Opening with the not so big hit “Tiger” – the audience eventually warmed up when Voulez Vous – their big disco number, getting them out of their seats, clapping their hands or arm waving ‘Countdown’ style. Neither of us at this stage possessed the courage to get up in the aisles, but we watched and cheered on a group of women who sang along to Knowing me Knowing you. They looked like they were having a fun girly night out, and it was great to see them dancing to the same music they did when they were teenagers.
Just as we were about to join the ladies, spurred on by; Rock Me, Take a chance on me and When I kissed the teacher, ABBA sent the drummer and bass player off for a short quiet acoustic set of two of their beautiful songs – Chiquitita and Fernando, highlighting the amazing vocals of Kathleen and Kirsten. The final set delighted the crowd and inspired us out of our seats and into the aisle, busting some old moves with the Girls to some of the big hits, Money Money Money, Ring Ring, Mama Mia, Waterloo and yes we were all young and sweet and only 17 again when Dancing Queen was played as the encore.
A special mention must be made of the costumes. Remember how flamboyant some of their threads were back then. Well according to our research (Lady Google), their outfits were so crazy because of Swedish tax laws. Any stage outfits could be counted as sartorial deductions – as long as they were SO outrageous that no one would wear them on the street. First cab off the rank was the very tight asymmetric blue lightning bolt number, followed by the dress (or is it a top?!), with the sequined gold and blue cats – harmonised by Bjorn and Benny in their white satin overalls. The girls then raced out during the musician jam for a quick change into the gold ruffled skirt and top. The final costume was the one famously worn by Toni Collette and Rachel Griffith in Muriel’s Wedding (yes the satin jumpsuit) complete with platform white leather, knee high boots. Oh and Bjorn and Benny definitely impressed in their white satin Kimonos. ‘Anna’ and ‘Frida’ had a fabulous fun night, absorbing the glitz and the hitz of ABBA – celebrating the 40th anniversary of the ABBA album, and being Bjorn again teenagers for one night.