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ARRIVAL FROM SWEDEN: THE MUSIC OF ABBA

RIALTO THEATRE

Tuesday, Jan. 28

If you don't appreciate the music of the Beach Boys, the Ramones, AC/DC and ABBA, well, buddy, you must not like living life and breathing air. It's the beauty of simplicity. They'll give you the bouncy rhythms and infectious harmonies; all you have to do is bob your head and sing along.

There was a lot of singing along at the Rialto last Tuesday night. While the president was delivering the State of the Union, about 75 of us watched a group of Swedish ambassadors deliver another type of message—ABBA is good, ABBA is gold, ABBA is God. Arrival from Sweden: The Music of ABBA is, you guessed it, an ABBA tribute band.

The band took the stage at 8 sharp and dived right into "That's Me" from 1977. In addition to the faux Agnetha, Frida, Björn and Benny—the core members of the band—there were also two backup singers, a drummer and a young man alternating between keyboard and saxophone. The seated crowd ate it up. Faux-Frida gave us a lengthy history lesson just before doing "Knowing Me, Knowing You," my personal favorite.

This was a festival-seating show. About 30 minutes into the first set, the band gave the crowd a reason to get up and dance with a rousing version of "Waterloo." After that, only the most timid of the timid remained in their seats. The first set ended with a slam-bang version of "Mamma Mia," complete with "Frida" giving the mic to the audience to sing their hearts out.

After a 15-minute intermission, the band was back. Wearing silver and gold robes, false Frida and Agnetha oozed va-va-voom with their cover of "Voulez-Vous," complete with saucy dance moves and peek-a-boo poses. Following that was "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)," the tune that had me on the dance floor. With as much fun as I was having, nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming emotions when Not-Agnetha delivered a pitch-perfect version of "The Winner Takes It All." Choking back tears, I was thankful when they ended the show with the one-two punch of "Thank You for the Music" and the show-stopper "Dancing Queen." It might not have been the real thing, but I'll take it.

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