The Swedes are coming to Barre, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, in the form of Arrival From Sweden, an ABBA tribute band whose previous visit several years ago was a crowd-pleasing success.
According to Barre Opera House Executive Director Dan Casey, Arrival, which features 12 musicians, is “at the top of the list of tribute groups we’ve had in terms of quality and entertainment value.”
If you remember the 1970s and the original ABBA, you’ll enjoy Arrival’s authentic costumes, dance numbers and the harmonies that made ABBA’s singing special.
“They’re really a lot of fun,” said Casey. “Our sold-out crowd had a blast the first time they were here.”
Any native Swedish speakers in central Vermont will be excited at the chance to see this Gothenburg-based band return to the Opera House stage. “Wow, en ny chans att se gruppen!*” they might exclaim. “Ett underbart Svenskt band**,” they would remark. “Alla gillar ABBA. ***”
If you haven’t heard of ABBA, you are probably too young to remember the 1970s and the Soviet Union, Saab cars, the movie “I Am Curious, Yellow” or any president before Ronald Reagan. Here’s an opportunity to find out what gets your parents up and dancing or misty-eyed and nostalgic about that decade.
The original band was a quartet of two women, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and their husbands, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The men wrote the songs and the women were the primary vocalists. The name derives from the first letter of their first names. They were from Sweden and Norway, and while European, they sang in English.
The band became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1975 to 1982 and selling over 380 million albums and singles worldwide, making it one of the best-selling groups of all time.
Adding to ABBA’s accolades is that they are the best-selling band from continental Europe, and also from outside the English-speaking world. ABBA was the first group from a non-English-speaking country to achieve consistent success on the charts of English-speaking countries. They had eight consecutive number-one albums in the U.K. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin America and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.
In 1999 the band’s music was adapted into the successful musical “Mamma Mia!” The film, starring Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep, was released in 2008, becoming the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. A sequel, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” was released in 2018.
Arrival From Sweden is authentic in that its members all hail from Sweden, having formed in Gothenburg in 1995. The band performs ABBA’s many hits, including “Money, Money,” “Fernando,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen.” ABBA had 20 singles that made the Billboard Hot 100 and earned the band a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Arrival From Sweden has toured over 60 countries to very favorable reviews. The band has toured in the United States since 2005. It is the only group that has the exclusive right to copy ABBA’s original outfits and the exclusive permission and trademark ABBA in its production name ABBASOLUTELY — permitted by Universal. Arrival is also the only group that has been given an unreleased ABBA song directly by ABBA.
This performance certainly will offer a smorgasbord of ABBA music for fans to sample.
While the original ABBA members have repeatedly said they are not going to perform again as a band, fans should take note of this news item: On April 27, 2018, it was announced that the band had recorded two new songs after 35 years of being inactive, “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.” On Sept. 18, 2018, in an interview, Andersson said that they are still working on the songs, with possibly a third one written; they are set to be released in 2019.
For those who don’t speak Swedish, here are the translations of the quotes from Swedish Vermonters:
* “Wow, another chance to see this band.”
** “A great Swedish band.”
*** “Everyone likes ABBA.”