Acclaimed Tribute Show Host the Ultimate Dance Party, Entertain Generational Audience
Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
Over the history of pop music very few groups have shared the same global impact as ABBA. While the original four members haven't toured together in over 40 years, with the 1999 hit musical 'Mamma Mia', followed by two successful movies, the music of ABBA continues to attract fans of all ages.
The resurgence of ABBA over the past quarter century has led to several tribute bands, with Mania : The ABBA Tribute becoming one of the top draws in Europe, Asia, and North America. Tuesday (Feb 6th) night Mania offered up an ABBA hit parade as they delighted a near sell out crowd at the historic Charleston Music Hall.
The quartet of performers who portrayed Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anni-Frida, sashayed onto stage in full 1970's attire opening the show with 'Waterloo', the song that put ABBA on the map 50 years ago. For over two hours including a 15 minute intermission Mania covered one of the greatest hits catalogs in recorded music.
The female singers said right from the start the evening was going to be a non-stop dance party, and they weren't kidding. The members stayed in character as they ripped through hit after hit, often inviting the audience to sing familiar choruses as well encouraging everyone to get up out their seats and dance the night away.
While most of ABBA's songs are upbeat there are a few more mellow numbers, with the vocalist portraying Agnetha providing two of the most poignant salutes, offering up the ever hopeful 'Chiquitita' as well as a soulful rendition of 'The Winner Takes It All', for which she received thunderous applause. The young woman stepping into the shoes of Anni-Frida enjoyed her time in the softer spotlight on 'Fernando', which surprisingly is among the best selling singles of all time.
During the band introduction, keyboardist Benny got to steal the show appropriately sending out 30 seconds of 'Benny & the Jets' by Elton John. Bjorn took center stage, playing to the ladies on 'Does Your Mother Know'. "I can chat with you, baby, flirt a little maybe" was a definite crowd pleaser as he strutted around the stage.
With over 250 million plus in album sales (eight that topped the charts), and 19 Top 10 hits worldwide, ABBA is more than just a moment in time, rather they are a phenomena. Although songs such as 'Mamma Mia', 'Take a Chance On Me', Knowing Me, Knowing You', and 'Waterloo' receive consistent airplay today, diehard ABBA fans know 'Name of the Game', 'I Have a Dream', and 'Voulez-Vous' are equally impressive from the arsenal of songs, and Mania covered them all.
Mania : The ABBA Tribute did not disappoint at the Charleston Music Hall, and their expressive performance is proof positive why they are among the best ABBA tribute groups canvassing the globe today. With Benny on piano and Bjorn on guitar, the quartet backed by a three piece (drums, bass & lead guitar) band captivated the crowd.
Ultimately letting the songs take front and center, an unpretentious backdrop consisting simply of neon lights in the form of shapes provided a nice addition to S.O.S. True to form the ladies made several costume changes, with lots of glittery gold filling the stage.
As ABBA enjoys a continual renaissance the fascination of the group has transcended generations as witnessed at the music hall. Grandparents were joined in attendance by their Millennials kids, who in turn brought Gen Zers to the show. It was both enlightening and pleasantly surreal to witness grandmas dancing with granddaughters. ABBA music unites families.
It goes without saying that Mania : The ABBA Tribute end their choreographed performance with ABBA's biggest global hit, with the female leads playfully taunting the audience on what number they had left to present.
With the crowd shouting in unison 'Dancing Queen' Mania offered up a slightly extended version of ABBA's biggest chart topper, allowing fans to dance their way home carrying with them a good time and epic memory.
Mania crisscrosses the United States almost on a yearly rotation. If you're an ABBA fan (hard not to be) than I highly recommend taking in show in whatever city they are playing in. For more on Mania and their tour schedule visit https://maniatheshow.com/us/