ABBA-mania hit Colombo with a huge bang last Sunday when an ecstatic audience was sent into raptures by Bjorn Again, providing an ideal start to the nation’s Victory celebrations!
The Australian quartet is universally recognized as the best exponents of the music of their Swedish heroes and a crowd in excess of 2500 needed no prompting to know why they enjoy such an accolade.
Right from the moment they hit the stage with Waterloo all the way through to a repeat of ABBA’s first international hit about 100 minutes later, fans were kept on their toes – clapping, swaying and singing.A good part of the crowd even ventured to the back of the Convention Centre to grab the opportunity to loosen their limbs!
It’s not often a local audience acts with such spontaneity and enthusiasm. In fact, they had a ball as Bjorn Again lived up to the hype and rolled out the hits, one by one – some in full and the rest packaged in splendid medleys!
The beat was pulsating, the lyrics so familiar while the tunes were virtually standards. Small wonder that even the country’s First Lady couldn’t help singing along with the rest of the crowd!
All major ABBA hits – barring, perhaps, Hasta Manana – made the night in a craftily packaged set.
And such was the quality there were many in the audience who believed it was the real Bjorn Ulvaeus who was on stage right before their very eyes! But the great man is far too busy travelling the world with partner Benny Andersson, supervising the fruits of their labour – both in the form of film and that outstanding stage show MAMMA MIA, which should also make it to Colombo in the not too distant future!
Andersson has seen the group in action quite a few times while Ulvaeus had wished if the real ABBA was able to produce the same sound as Bjorn Again.
However, for one who’s seen Bjorn Again live in concert in excess of a dozen times on home soil, I’ve got to confess the sound was far short of acceptable levels while the lighting was amateurish, to say the least.
Yet, Bjorn Again was worth the wait. It was a truly magical experience, delivered by an outfit that has been in existence for more than a couple of decades. It was the ultimate Feel Good show, one that left them all clamouring for more!