The Wembley album | 31 October 2014
The first time I listened to ABBA Live at Wembley Arena was a sobering experience. I was slightly disappointed. Well, to be honest, I was quite disappointed. Why? Were my expectations too high or was the album simply not good?
The thing that struck me in the beginning was the crystal clear sound. Pure magic. But another aspect of the album was overpowering: Agnetha's voice. In the beginning I found it very, very difficult to enjoy her songs on the album.
Because sometimes she sounds like she is in Alvin and the chipmunks movie. In particular in As good as new and The name of the game. In other songs she sounds out of breath. Agnetha doesn't sound like the Agnetha I have known for over 40 years. She's different. Well, always has been.
Oddly enough in several songs Agnetha sounds great. I love SOS and Hole in your soul, when she just blows me away. After a couple of listens to the album I get used to the rawer and not so polished Agnetha. I even start to like it. Maybe it only took me a while to get used to her voice.
But let's focus on the album as a whole. Much has already been said about it and it's hard to pick a favourite track. There's so many great songs and great performances, it's hard to say what I like most.
Of course there's the utterly fabulous Gammal Fabodspsalm which gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. I tremendously enjoy the lesser known ABBA tracks like Rock me, If it wasn't for the nights and Intermezzo no. 1.
But absolute highlights are Money, money, money, Knowing me, knowing you, Hole in your soul, Why did it have to be me and Summer night city.
I keep laughing about the quite awkward introductions of the songs. But it's so brilliant that they have left these introductions on the album.
A big THANK YOU to Universal is in order here. I am eternally grateful that they managed to get a complete ABBA concert on CD. And I very much like the fact that they have left it almost as it was recorded live. That's one important lesson they have learned from the embarrassing ABBA Live album from 1986.
The Wembley album is no superb ABBA masterpiece, but it is a very, very important ABBA release. In particular for people like me, who have never had the pleasure of seeing them live. So here's to ABBA Live at Wembley Arena
Four stars out of five!
Subscribe to the ABBA Plaza mail service and receive site update notifications by e-mail.