REVIEW: ABBA The Concert – Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

“Thank You For The Music!”

You can dance, you can jive, and have the time of your life at this one-night-only celebration of the music of enduring pop sensation ABBA. It’s a joyous look back at the career of one of the world’s most beloved groups of all time, performed by a charming ABBA-esque quartet backed by musicians from ABBA’s own original rhythm section.

ABBA The Concert has been dazzling audiences around the world for well over a decade with its authentic recreation of the costumes, sights and all the iconic hits of ABBA, the world-wide sensational Swedish pop band that formed back in 1972 that rolled out hit after hit on the pop charts. Now ABBA The Concert takes you back to that time when bell-bottoms and big collars ruled the dance floor, playing hits like “Waterloo,” “Dancing Queen” and the smash hit, “Mamma Mia.”

Few can forget the huge impact Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid made on modern popular music and many mourned when their rule of pop ended voluntarily ten years later. But with their numerous top-selling albums, their songs are still played around the world on radio, having well over an estimated 380 million in total record sales. While there have been hints of new songs by the band or even an ‘avatar’ type of reunion with the four original members – Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – regrettably, none of this has happened yet.

Fortunately for ABBA fans in Orange County, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts welcomed to their stage ABBA The Concert for a December 30th end of the decade celebration, the acclaimed cover band that looks and sounds just like the original foursome. The packed venue enjoyed a night of ABBA’s greatest hits performed flawlessly. The dazzling band kicked off the night with the danceable “On and On and On” and they continued with “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”, “Take a Chance on Me” and “Money, Money, Money,” among many others. The band also stayed true to the original ABBA fashion statements they made in the early days, performing on stage with identical clothing style, while keeping us up on our feet while they performed ABBA's most iconic hits likes “S.O.S”, “Fernando,” the tear-jerker “The Winner Takes It All” and “Does Your Mother Know.”

Most people are aware that ABBA is one of Sweden's most proud exports. In fact, not many know that "Waterloo" was originally performed in Swedish or that “Dancing Queen” was first performed for the royal couple in Sweden. If you think that ABBA was popular world-wide, it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the Swedish hysteria for ABBA in the 1970s where every little girl fancied themselves an Anni-Frid or Agnetha. Appropriately enough, ABBA the Concert is also fronted by four Swedes, but the music, of course, has long been claimed by the rest of the world as their own.

Back in 1996, Martin Håkansson and Christian Fast was a big part of starting the ABBA-tribute band Waterloo. Quickly they became known for their fantastic ABBA-sound and ABBA-look-a-like performance. And now audiences and the press all agree…this is the closest to ABBA you will ever get.

The lead guitarist for ABBA The Concert has no reason to doubt that fact. ABBA is the second-highest selling pop group of all time, behind only The Beatles. The Swedish group’s songs have inspired a musical, two films based on said musical, and kept ’70s discos thriving across the globe. And all this from just eight studio albums released over the band’s short ten-year career. The reason for their enduring success?