Abba were my first love. They shaped my childhood in so many ways. The 1976 Greatest Hits album was the first vinyl I owned. I played it so often, the volume so high, my sister would thump on the thin wall that divided our bedrooms. I still play it today, loud of course.
Their music made me feel things I was too young to understand. I always cried when Fernando came on, Super Trouper led to melancholy. Mama Mia and Waterloo made me infinitely happy.
One of my earliest memories was being in Stalham, at my grandparents chalet. My family were all in the bar while I sat outside on that balmy summer’s evening, trailing my fingers in the cool water of the small fountain in the garden. The first strains of Dancing Queen leaked out of the bar and I ran inside, skidding over on the wooden floor. Getting straight back up to dance until the song had finished and then sobbing because my knee hurt.
As I grew older Abba were my constant companion. Through break ups and heartbreak. Celebrations. A song for every mood.
When Abba announced the Voyage experience I booked tickets the second they were released.
I’ve needed something to look forward to, this year more than ever. Plagued by ill health I marked off the days to the concert on a calendar but when last weekend I found myself unexpectedly in hospital again it was doubtful whether I’d be up to going.
But thankfully I was.
And WHAT a night.
I knew the theory of what Abba wanted to do, put on a show using digital versions of themselves but… WOW.
I won’t give any spoilers but when they took to the stage I was blown away. They looked so incredibly real that by the end of the first song I’d forgotten that they weren’t.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hologram before unless you count Rimmer from Red Dwarf and, you know…
I’m not actually sure I’ve seen a hologram now. I don’t know what the technology is but it’s probably unlike anything the majority of us have ever seen.
It was as though we were some weird kind of time vortex, stepping into the future to reach the past. The whole evening carried a sense of history being made.
The show consisted of Abba of course but also a phenomenal live band, animations, archive footage and an incredible light show. An auditorium of people dancing together, singing together. United.
I’d purposefully booked opening night tickets hoping that the band would put in an appearance and when they came out at the end to take a bow six year old me was jumping up and down with delight.
All in all it was such an emotional night.
Fernando still made my throat tight with tears but it was during ‘Thank You For The Music’ that I was so overcome with emotion I had a little cry. Realising how much music has always meant to me, how much Abba meant to me. Thinking back to 6 year old me, in my childhood bedroom, playing my first record on my first record player believing then that life was endless, limitless. Knowing now that it is neither.
Although Abba it seems will live forever.
And rightly so.