Saturday 20 October 2018

Troopers at their creative peak during performance in Dublin

Winners take it all: ABBA on stage in 1979
Winners take it all: ABBA on stage in 1979

ABBA rarely toured in their 1970s pomp and they only played Ireland once - during what would become their final tour - when they called to Dublin's RDS on November 15, 1979.

A decade before the launch of the Point Depot, the venerable Dublin 4 address was the primary venue for the world's biggest names in music.

It was the final night of the European leg of a tour in support of their sixth album, Voulez-Vous, and the two-hour set met with considerable praise by the Irish Independent and other newspapers.

There are no known recordings of the show but an idea of how slick their live set was then can be gleaned from the Live at Wembley Arena album, which was recorded at the famed London amphitheatre the week before.

There was a notable difference in the Dublin show, however: Much to the Irish crowd's surprise, 'Danny Boy' was performed as the opening song. Tickets were IR£8.50 - considered steep for the time - and all 4,000 of them sold out in just two hours. Touts - then as now - were conducting brisk business outside venue.

It was Agnetha's birthday and she was presented with a cake by members of a children's choir especially assembled to provide backing vocals to 'I Have a Dream'.

The band stayed at the Gresham Hotel and they threw an end-of-tour party for backing musicians and crew in the early hours of the morning. The following day they were presented with a trophy commissioned by members of the Irish ABBA fan club.

Although they would not play Ireland again, those who saw them in action at the RDS witnessed them at their creative peak, according to Andersson. The digital holograms which will tour the globe next year have been fashioned from how they looked and sounded in 1979.

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