Saturday, 22 March 2014

Concert Review: Abbamania


(Excerpt from my article featured in

I am a late bloomer when it comes to being a fan of the legendary Swedish pop group ABBA but I am a big fan nonetheless.  The group, composed of Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, was formed by in 1972 and broke into big time after winning, in 1974, the Grand Prix at the Eurovision Song Festival with the song Waterloo. More hits followed until the group broke up in 1982.  Their songs have remained popular and the timeless appeal of the music of this much-loved foursome was further immortalized in the successful stage musical Mamma Mia!.  Later, it was adapted to screen, starring a singing Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, no less.  
Lead singers Sharon Fehlberg
and Ewa Scott
Along comes Abbamania, the acclaimed ABBA tribute group from Europe, the closest thing to a true ABBA experience in concert.  It was with great anticipation that my wife Grace, another ABBA fan, and I attended our first Abbamania concert, held at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center at the CCP Complex in Pasay City. 
Abbamania has performed in sold out concerts in Denmark, England, Portugal, Scotland, Belgium,  France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Russia, Germany, South America  and as well as the Philippines. 

Fresh from their concert held the day before at Solaire Resort & Casino, Abbamania, formed in 1998 in the United Kingdom (UK), is recognized as one of the most authentic ABBA tribute bands in the world.   
Its current lineup is composed of Ewa Scott (as Agnetta), a classically trained vocalist from Poland; Sharon Fehlberg (as Anni-Frid) an actress, accomplished singer and songwriter from the UK (she joined Abbamania in 2012); the multi-instrumentalist and musical virtuoso Steven Galert (as Benny), the musical director of Abbamania; and Adam Robertson (as Bjorn), another widely successful multi-instrumentalist from the UK. All hold either a degree or master’s degree in music and were drawn together by their mutual love of ABBA’s music.  All four were backed up by Gareth Whitehead (guitarist) from UK; and Bryan Smith (guitarist) and Lee Brady (drummer), both from Scotland, plus two unnamed female background vocalists.  All (except Ewa who performed with Abbamania in the country last April 2013) are first time performers in the country. 
Guitarist Adam Robertson joins the lead singers
The one and a half hour, 20-song concert was pure ABBA nostalgia, with lavish and glittery 1970s spangled costumes and boots, party-like atmosphere  and close-to-perfect ABBA-style showmanship and dance routines.  

The very enthusiastic audience, mostly composed of people in their 50s and 60s, was singing, clapping and waving their arms, with abandon-free gusto, to songs like WaterlooHoney HoneyChiquititaThe Name of the Game, the raunchy Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)Thank You For The Music, the romantic FernandoKnowing Me Knowing You  Voulez VousSuper Trouper, the haunting The Winner Takes It All and Mamma Mia!.  
The group performed I Have A Dream with the opening act OB Montessori Choir while Steven Galert (Does Your Mother Know), Ewa Scott (Money, Money, Money) and Sharon Fehlberg (Take A Chance On Me) did some solo numbers.   The crowd also leapt to their feet and even danced in the aisles to Dancing Queen and S.O.S..  Their encore featured a medley of eight of the aforementioned songs.  Too bad they didn’t perform Our Last Summer, one of my favorite ABBA songs.  
With the OB Montessori Choir

Abbamania was so good that, even if you close your eyes, you wouldn’t have thought they weren’t ABBA. This is as true to an ABBA concert as you will ever get. True credit must be given to the performers as they revived, in a respectful and enjoyable way, special memories of when ABBA ruled the airwaves in the 1970s. They’re “the-next-best-thing-to-watching-the real-Abba-perform-together-again.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment