It’s hard to ignore the sudden resurgence of tribute bands in recent years. Only a decade ago, impersonators such as the Bootleg Beatles were considered mere more than a cheap novelty. Nowadays, such acts are revered with the likes o Fools Gold (Stone Roses) even working alongside their idols.
None, however, have spawned as many would-be pretenders as pop’s famed acronym Abba. Boasting more than 40 acts in Britain alone, the lucrative tribute scene has been paramount in the Swedes’ revival which has witnessed the launch of musicals Mamma Mia and Kristina.
Few have received the same recognition as Abba Forever, the nation’s leading live Abba tribute (editors note..they also perform under the name Bjorn in Sweden). Tonight’s diverse audience at the Edinburgh Playhouse highlighted the band’s universal appeal. School groups rubbed shoulders with elderly “dancing queens”, each eagerly awaiting the foursome’s arrival.
For most tribute artists, both image and performance are crucial. And Abba Forever proved no exception. Dressed to the nines in gleaming gold platforms, baco-foil capes and skin-tight romper suits, the band uncannily resembled their adopted roles down to the last meticulous detail. The performers remained in character throughout, avoiding the pitfalls of self-caricature.
Unlike competitors Bjorn Again and Voulez Vous, Abba Forever focus is on the live elements of the production. Sidestepping material from Abba’s famous Gold album, the group ventured into unfamiliar territory with songs Ring Ring and Slipping through My Fingers, the later the chance to showcase the full extent of “Agnetha’s” soprano voice.
The men were also given the occasion to exhibit their musicianship. While the girls changed from neon pink jumpsuits into raincoats for Money, Money, Money, “Benny” treated his fans to a bracing solo from his earlier “Hep Stars” career.
But it was the anthems that the audience had come to hear and this evening’s show did not disappoint.
All of the Scandinavian supergroup’s hits were present with SOS, Waterloo, Super Trouper and Knowing Me, Knowing You, performed with much joie de vivre.
The band concluded their set with the inevitable encore of Thank You for the Music and Dancing Queen, sending the spirited crowd of “fernandos” and “chiquititas” dancing and jiving into the aisles. For judging by their reactions they were, no doubt having the time of their lives.
See also our review back in November http://www.lmmuk.com/agentblog/?p=1722