Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 13, 2009


Talcott Mountain Music Festival, Simsbury Meadows, CT
Various events through July 17, 2009
by Eric Sutter

ABBA is Love! The super group came alive again in this spirited tribute to the 70's musical sensation. Beautiful weather, Swedish accents and the re-Bjorn sounds of ABBA combined to raise goose bumps at Talcott Mountain.

"Knowing Me, Knowing You" created a party atmosphere as the large crowd joined in on the background vocals. People sighed and moaned at the opening chords of romantic ballads such as "I Do, I Do, I Do" and "Fernando" with instantly recognizable flute and drum solo intros.

Andrea Pressburger (Agnetha), brought strong, haunting vocals to "Mamma Mia". Mathew Whale (Benny) provided memorable musical moments and swelling keyboards during "Chiquitita ". Nick Pattison's (Bjorn) electric guitar chimed in with the strings of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, which lightened the spirit of the songs. Guest conductor Glen Adsit had his work cut out for him as ABBAmania performed the disco tinged hits "Voulez Vous" and "Summer Night City." "Super Trouper" closed out the first half with Pressburger out front working the audience.

"Lay Your Love On Me" featured percussive keyboard that caused the female back-up singers to cavort with Pattison in a Conga line. As Monica Tietz (Anni-Frid) sang "I Have A Dream", a giant mirror disco ball appeared. The audience went wild over the swirling lights, propulsive sound and lavish costumes. They sang, swayed and waved hands in the air as Pressburger belted out a powerful "The Winner Takes It All". The happy beat of "Take A Chance On Me" with its warm vocal harmonies was a crowd pleaser and the cast encored with a zesty "Dancing Queen" with, of course, dancing everywhere.

Testimony to ABBA's mass appeal was the age range of the audience members who instantly reacted as the keyboard intro to "SOS" began. It was amazing to see 20-somethings (mostly female) clapping, dancing and singing along to ABBA's first big hit, "Waterloo", released way back in 1974.