Reviewing a tribute band will always be difficult. Do they sound as good as the original? Do they look the part? Thankfully ABBA Forever came up positive on all these points and I believe the sold-out crowd at the Radlett Centre would back me on this.
I had my reservations from the beginning as I found my seat and saw the stage set up. Everything looked the part, albeit on a smaller scale than the real thing, but would the performance that ABBA were known for, be up there with the originals?
The first half of the performance was a mixed bag, as ABBA have some of the most die-hard fans, and there’s the difficult question of how you please them all with an amazing back catalogue of songs. Playing some lesser know songs was a risk which seemed to pay off. However, as with most shows the biggest applause was kept for the greatest hits.
The attention to detail is what I believe gives ABBA Forever the edge over their peers in the tribute scene. Although Bjorn and Benny’s wigs were something else, the musical aspect of the show was spot on. Meanwhile Agnetha and Anni-Frid looked amazing, covering every bit of the stage.
Costumes were not in short supply either with the girls taking on some of the most famous guises, each one welcomed with more appreciation than the last by the audience. The second half of the show seemed to go up a gear with more and more of the most recognizable ABBA hits being played.
As the band took their bows at the end the crowd demanded more and the entire band returned with more crowd favourites by which time the whole theatre was on its feet making noise more fitting with an arena than a theatre.