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Generation NEXT at ABBA Mania: Take a Chance on Me

Generation NEXT at ABBA Mania: Take a Chance on Me

Let me begin by saying there are few things in the world that I will miss Glee for on a Wednesday night… ABBA is one of them. I know what you’re thinking, “ABBA?!  Even my MOM hates disco!”  To you, friend, I pose this question:  Have you ever sat down and seriously listened to the ABBA-Gold: Greatest Hits album?  It is—no exaggeration here— the greatest thing ever.  I too was a skeptic once until my college roommate (a total music snob—no offense, Katie!) came out to me as an ABBA-maniac.  You can imagine my shock.  Sure, I enjoyed Mamma Mia (who didn’t?!) but listening to ABBA on a day-to-day basis?  I needed convincing…

Now I’m not so much a morning person as I am a person that sets 5 alarms and still hits the snooze button several times before rolling out of bed for coffee.  One morning, when Katie was sick of hearing my alarm go off for the third or fourth time, she popped in her ABBA cd in an effort to rouse me from my slumber.  True story, by the end of “Take a Chance on Me” I was on my feet with that disco rhythm running through me like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever!  Was it magic you ask?

No.  It was ABBA.

Mind you, I am not the only one that feels this way.  ABBA is a lasting phenomenon.  Those of my generation may remember the A*Teens (“Upside Down”) who originally started as a teen ABBA cover band and adopted the same sound as ABBA for their own music.  Then, of course, there is the Broadway and movie megahit Mamma Mia with productions and tours all over the world.  As an American Studies major in college we studied the impact of disco on popular culture.  While many embraced disco music and the clothing, dance styles, and club culture that went with it, the well-known “Disco Sucks” backlash plays a large role in its history as well.  The disco culture was viewed as, among many things, shallow and escapist.  However, for all the things that can be and have been said about disco, I defy anyone to listen to a great disco group like ABBA and not at least bop their head to the beat.  It is infectious!

So tomorrow night Katie and I are going to go see ABBA Mania in concert and suffice it to say we are VERY excited.  Now I just have to decide between wearing the vintage disco dress and the full-out one piece jumpsuit…


Generation NEXT at ABBA Mania: Dancing Queen

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Any show that features sparkly, silver, platform, knee-high boots, 70’s jumpsuits, and a man named Bjorn is something that I want to be a part of.  Believe me, you would too!  Granted I walked in the door an ABBA fan, but I promise not everyone there was a Swedish pop music aficionado... I’m pretty sure the guy a few rows in front of me was forced at gunpoint by his girlfriend to buy tickets… but that being said, even HE was on his feet by the end of the first act!  So now…without further ado…

The Top 5 Greatest Moments of ABBA Mania!

5) The audience dancing in the aisles.  There are very few theatrical events where I have actually been encouraged to get out of my seat and sing and dance along with the performers.  Usually theatres HATE when you do that!  Especially the Broadway houses (trust me…I know…)

4) The finger dance.  Just what IS the finger dance, you ask?  Point both your index fingers up in the air.  Raise your right index finger.  Lower is as you raise your left index finger.  Reverse.  Repeat.  The audience was instructed to do this with the performers— I can’t explain it, but there is something SO cool about doing the same choreography as the performers… even if it is something as deceptively simple as the finger dance.

3) The terrible ABBA puns you make with friends at intermission (if you put enough ABBA fans in one room it’s bound to happen.)  Examples: “I ABBAsolutely love this!”  “This is FABBAlous!”  “I Fernandon’t ever want to leave!” (Okay, that last one’s a stretch, but you get the picture.)  *Challenge: What is YOUR best ABBA pun?

2) ABBA-maniacs.  I thought wearing my 70s jumpsuit would be over the top, but let me tell you there are some serious ABBA fans out there.  You will know them by their platform knee-high boots, blonde wigs, and sequins.  They are super nice, very fun, and I’m pretty sure always smiling and dancing (at least from what I’ve seen.)

1) My favorite moment of the night: one of the singers begins a stirring rendition of the “The Winner Takes it All”.  The last song had been upbeat so people were still a bit riled up and chatty when the volume was brought down for this slow song.  Apparently someone towards the front was still whispering because an avid ABBA fan let out a huge, angry “SHHHHH!” which, no lie, I heard all the way in row X.  ABBA fans are serious about their music!

Full Circle 2009 at Matheny Arts Access

Full Circle 2009 at Matheny Arts Access

Springsteen's American Vision

Springsteen's American Vision