Arrival brings ABBA tribute show back to Peak
Vicky Zetterberg performs as Frida from ABBA during Arrival's visit to Penn's Peak in July, 2008. At left is Finn Sjoberg, an original guitarist for ABBA. Arrival -The Music of ABBA returns to Penn's Peak Friday night. JOE PLASKO/TIMES NEWS
Arrival's timing for its Penn's Peak performances couldn't be better, at least from the perspective of ABBA fans.
The tribute group, which hails from Sweden, like the original ABBA, last played at the Jim Thorpe venue in July, 2008, coinciding with the theatrical release of the movie version of Mamma Mia!, the musical filled with ABBA songs, which starred Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan.
Arrival now returns to The Peak on Friday night for an 8 p.m. performance, weeks before ABBA is set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which will occur on March 15 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
The popularity of ABBA never seems to wane. The group was a world-wide smash during the 1970's and early 80's with their flashy costumes and melodic pop sound, featuring the vocals of Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid ("Frida") Lyngstad.
ABBA was formed by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and with the addition of singers Agnetha and Frida, took its monicker from an acronym for the members' first names. Eventually, the group became two couples, as Bjorn married Agnetha and Benny wed Frida, but both couples have since split.
In 1973 ABBA, then known as Bjorn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid, placed third in the Eurovision Song Contest with "Ring Ring". A year later, now called ABBA, the foursome won the contest with "Waterloo", which went on to become its first Top Ten hit in the U.S.
From that point, ABBA continued with a string of hits, including "Dancing Queen" (the group's lone American chart topper), "SOS", "Mamma Mia", "Fernando", "Take a Chance on Me", "The Name of the Game", "The Winner Takes It All" and "Chiquitita".
At the end of 1982, ABBA decided to take a break, but it turned out to be a disbanding, as the group has not reunited since then, even with the popularity of ventures such as Mamma Mia!, which first came out on stage in 1999 and hit Broadway in 2002, prior to the successful movie version.
During the height of its popularity, ABBA had only toured in the U.S. once, and with no official reunion in sight, tribute groups have formed to fill the void.
Arrival From Sweden was created by Vicky Zetterberg, who performs as Frida in the group, in 1995 and bills itself as The World's Greatest ABBA Show. From an authenticity standpoint, it's hard to argue. Not only does Arrival share the same homeland as ABBA, but it boasts two members that played with the original band: guitarist Finn Sjoberg and drummer Roger Palm.
In addition, Arrival performs in replicas of the original costumes, having received the exclusive rights to the clothing from its creator, Owe Sandstrom.
Arrival also received permission from Ulvaeus and Andersson to record an unreleased ABBA song, "Just a Notion".
Watching Zetterberg and company perform, it's easy to imagine that this is how an ABBA concert would have sounded during its reign on the radio and on the Billboard charts.
Arrival - The Music of ABBA, will perform at Penn's Peak on Friday, Jan. 22. Doors open at 6 p.m. with showtime at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28 for premium reserved seating and $23 for regular reserved seating and are available on-line at www.ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets including Boscov's and Gallery of Sound, and at the Penn's Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant. For more information, call the box office at (866)-605-PEAK.