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Does your mother know? A second chance for the true believers

Arrival from Sweden the Music of ABBA concert review
Arrival from Sweden the Music of ABBA

Arrival from Sweden the Music of ABBA concert review

I’ve seen Mamma Mia (the musical) three times and the movie once (though I skipped to the part where Alison Janney sings “Does Your Mother Know”). I have the Definitive Collection (2-disc set) and a couple of records on vinyl—Album and Arrival. I also have Arrival on cassette.

But I’d never seen an ABBA cover band until now.

So when I heard Arrival from Sweden the Music of ABBA was coming to the Snoqualmie Casino in Washington State I knew what I was putting on my Christmas wishlist. But my girlfriend couldn’t take the time off work for a trip down south mid-week.

Instead, she bought us two tickets to see ABBA: Arrival from Sweden in Vancouver, where the Swedish cover band performed last night at the Orpheum Theatre with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

After a shaky start – a version of “Ring Ring” sung in Swedish and with limp drumming – the concert got progressively better. Things really took off somewhere in the middle with “Mamma Mia”, and by the end of the nearly two-hour show everyone in the audience – a mix of mothers and daughters who’d loved Mamma Mia (musical and/or movie), VSO season ticketholders and latent homosexuals like myself – was feeling the ABBA love.

Arrival from Sweden the Music of ABBA gets bonus points for the following: having one of the original session musicians, a bassist, playing with them; for having ’70s disco/Logan’s Run outfits that were based on those worn by the original band; and for a setlist that was a mix of ABBA standards and some not-so-familiar tracks (“I Wonder”, “I Am the Tiger”, “Summer Night City” – but no “Dum Dum Diddle” or “When All is Said and Done”).

Also, the girl doing Frida (the auburn-haired one) wore a high-cut dress that drew a few catcalls (and not from me) when she turned around. The four main Arrivals were augmented by three backup singers and a sax player, along with the rhythm section. The VSO gave a dramatic boost to many of the songs.

All in all Arrival from Sweden the Music of ABBA confirmed my love for the Swedish pop stars whose eight-year run of hits hasn’t been topped, in my opinion, for sheer volume of great songs. ABBA forever!

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