Live At Wembley Arena is the second live album by Abba with the full concert from 10 November 1979 in London finally released. This was the sixth night the group had played at the venue on the tour to promote the Voulez-Vous album.
At this stage, Abba were the biggest pop band in the world excluding the United States of America. For some reason, they remained resistant to the charms of Abba apart from a few singles like Dancing Queen and Take A Chance On Me. Elsewhere Abba had a lot of top 5 singles with many going all the way to the top.
Some of these songs have previously appeared on Abba Live but on that album, there was some fixing up in the studio.
Of course, the music wasn’t the only attraction to seeing Abba perform live as you’ll see in some of the videos that appear further down.
Review of Abba Live At Wembley Arena 1979
- Gammal fäbodpsalm – 1:43 an instrumental opening track
- Voulez-Vous – 4:11
- If It Wasn’t For The Nights – 5:18
- As Good As New – 3:25
- Knowing Me, Knowing You – 4:30
- Rock Me – 3:34
- Chiquitita – 5:34
- Money, Money, Money – 3:57
- I Have A Dream – 6:51
- Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) – 5:34
- S.O.S. – 3:30
- Fernando – 4:12
- The Name Of The Game – 3:09
- Eagle – 6:10
- Thank You For The Music – 3:52
- Why Did It Have To Be Me? – 4:32
- Intermezzo No.1 – 4:07
- I’m Still Alive – 4:29
- Summer Night City – 5:28
- Take A Chance On Me – 4:25
- Does Your Mother Know – 3:58
- Hole In Your Soul – 4:39
- The Way Old Friends Do – 3:05
- Dancing Queen – 5:51
- Waterloo – 3:51
This concert isn’t quite at the end of the popular period for Abba. They went on to have two more #1s in the UK in 1980 with The Winner Takes It All and Supertrooper. However this album is very close to being the greatest hits of Abba played live.
There’s no doubt that Abba were an excellent pop group with many great songs that have stood the test of time and which appeal across the age groups. For oldies like me, there are few other groups who so easily take me back to my teenage years.
Abba didn’t regard themselves as a great live band and in the main, they concentrated on trying to recreate their studio sound. In some ways it’s commendable that they were able to do it so beautifully but a great live album is about much more than the studio songs.
There’s a bit more of a rougher, rockier edge but I’m not sure that’s enough. I’d have liked them to take more risks with the songs.
Gimme Gimme Gimme
Hole In Your Soul
Atmosphere and Authencity
Abba are one of the few groups who I think I’d get as much value from a live DVD as I would from a CD.
From the video clips, you can see the fun the group are having singing and playing these songs and the crowd love it.
This is Abba performing at their peak time.
Abba excelled in the studio and I think that most casual fans will prefer a greatest hits compilation than this live album.
The more hardcore Abba fans will probably be split. Some will resent the lost sound perfection and regard crowd noises and the edgier performance as irritating. These people (and I think they may be in a majority) will dislike live albums.
Other Abba fans will love the more energetic, rougher sound and long to be able to go back in time to see them perform. I’ve always been surprised that some huge offer hasn’t tempted them to reform but even now, there is no talk of a reunion.
As far as I’m concerned, this is top quality pop that is bound to put a smile on your face.
What Other People Say
I normally link to Amazon.com because it has more reviews but i this case, given the strength of Abba in the UK, I’ve gone for Amazon.co.uk
You can hear samples of the songs from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk and I recommend that you do this before buying.
Buying Abba Live At Wembley Arena
You can get this fascinating live album from:
- Amazon.com as a CD or mp3
- Amazon.co.uk as a CD or mp3
- iTunes as a digital download
- eBay as a CD
What Do You Think?
Is this the best pop live album?
If You Like This, I Think You Will Also Like…
My blog isn’t strongest in the category of pop rock but I think these albums will be interesting to you:
- Wings Over America – I didn’t know that the early post Beatles songs from Paul McCartney would sound this good live but it’s one of my absolute favourite live albums.
- Paul McCartney Tripping The Live Fantastic (Highlights) – this is probably as close as we can get to hearing The Beatles sing their late 1960s hits live including Hey Jude, Let It Be etc.
- Kate Bush Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1979 – she did these concerts and didn’t do any more solo live gigs until 2014