Preparations – The Concerts
Originally ideas for a world tour 1979 included Western Europe, North America, Asia and also Eastern Europe. Because ABBA needed more time for the Voulez-Vous album these plans were condensed and Eastern Europe and most of Asia were dropped, only the Japan tour 1980 remained. In the spring of 1979 the intended venues still looked different though to the actual tour:
In June the published tour schedule was this:
For their route through the USA their record sales were analysed and they finally sticked with their “heartlands”.
The stage design by Rune Söderqvist was built in London. Three big trucks transported the 40-50 tons of the stage design and the equipment. ABBA usually travelled by private jet, Agnetha travelled by limousine or with the band in the bus whenever the distance between two cities was close enough.
The 45 concerts of the 1979 tour had a total audience of around 300,000. However, some concerts in the USA weren’t sold out and though the audience reportedly was enthusiastic throughout they also received some bad reviews by US journalists. In the end they lost about $US 200,000 with the North American concerts and couldn’t push their record sales as much as they hoped for. (ABBA in America / Bright Lights, Dark Shadows)
According to Stig Anderson the top price for US tickets was $US 9.50 because “We draw a lot of families with kids”
(Billboard, September 29, 1979, p. 3).
Rehearsals with musicians and backup singers started on May 13, 1979 at the Grünewaldsalen at Stockholm’s Konserthuset and two preparation concerts were done in May already. From July 30 on rehearsals continued at Europafilm in Bromma.
Plans also were to include a completely new song
In May ABBA did two surprise concerts.
On August 10 a recording of several rehearsed tracks was made including My Love, My Life, One Man, One Woman and The King Has Lost His Crown (The Complete Recording Sessions 2017, p. 338)
After Benny’s solo performance ABBA played a set of 11 songs:
Detailed information about the track list is not available. According to Norrköpings Tidningar ABBA played 10 ‘greatest hits’.
Source for all comments: Carl Magnus Palm, The Complete Recording Sessions (2017), p. 338-340
Benny Andersson, Anders Eljas (keyboards)
Lasse Wellander, Mats Ronander, Björn Ulvaeus (guitar)
Rutger Gunnarsson (bass)
Ola Brunkert (drums)
Åke Sundqvist (percussion)
Birgitta Wollgård, Liza Öhman, Tomas Ledin (backing vocals).
Management & technicians
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This concert featured the only live performance of One Man, One Woman which afterwards was dropped for the rest of the tour. Saying is that this was done because the reception by the audience wasn’t as good as expected. However, there isn’t any known original ABBA statement regarding the reasons.
This recording features ABBA in top form and probably has the best sound quality of all fan tapes. It’s also interesting because of the choir version of Thank You For The Music.
Toronto shirts were worn by all ABBA members at several concerts, especially by Benny, pictures/videos with these shirts therefore don’t necessarily show the Toronto concert.
Waterloo wasn’t played.
At least two recordings exist:
The second version (5 parts) is a full recording.
At least two recordings exist.
The second version (2 parts) is a full recording.
At least two recordings exist:
The second version (2 parts) also includes Waterloo.
Some video material exists, including snippets of the following songs:
A fan recording does exist, the complete tack list is unknown though.
A fan video exists including excerpts of these tracks: