ARRIVAL from Sweden The Music of ABBA
Reviewed By Kevin Rolfe
Photos By Bree Robles
I have many fond summer memories in Utah heading to the Sandy Amphitheater to watch ARRIVAL From Sweden THE MUSIC OF ABBA. ARRIVAL played Sandy for the better part of a decade before the pandemic hit. The band is actually from ABBA’s native country of Sweden so even when things started to open up, I’d imagine it took some time to work out touring visas to come back to the states. Sandy Amphitheater has a pretty full schedule this summer so ARRIVAL needed to look for another home here in Utah. I can’t think of a better place than the Snow Park Outdoor Theater at Deer Valley Resort in Park City. If you’ve never been to a concert at Deer Valley you are missing out. It’s the perfect place to escape the summer heat and listen to some great music.
A little background on ARRIVAL From Sweden according to their bio…
ARRIVAL from Sweden THE MUSIC OF ABBA was founded by Vicky Zetterberg in 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden, and very soon became one of the world’s most popular and most selling ABBA show bands. Since its start in 1995, the band has toured in over 70 countries and has appeared on several TV and radio shows all over the world. Since 2005 ARRIVAL from Sweden has made almost 90 successful tours in the USA.
The ARRIVAL From Sweden concert was part of the Deer Valley Music Festival which is Utah Symphony’s summer concert series. Utah Symphony was all set to perform this concert with ARRIVAL but due to some positive Covid tests within the symphony, it was decided that they would not perform. This left ARRIVAL to soldier on without the orchestra and play to the sold out crowd themselves. I must admit I was a little disappointed because seeing ARRIVAL From Sweden combined with the amazing Utah Symphony would have been a real treat. But having seen ARRIVAL in the past, I knew they would blow this audience away just on their own. And that is exactly what they did.
ARRIVAL started the show with a couple lesser known songs to the casual ABBA fan. I thought “Tiger” and “Ring Ring” were excellent choices for opening songs. Both really fun upbeat songs. This gave man of the audience members who had been socializing and walking around a chance to get to their seats. It gave those already in their seats a chance to hear something that might be new to them, or if they’re a true ABBA fan they got to hear some real gems. By the third song the crowd was settled in for the show, and in kind ARRIVAL flooded the setlist with huge ABBA hits. It’s hard not to. There are so many. ARRIVAL played “Fernando”.
They told the crowd they’d be singing the first verse of the next song in Swedish and then in English. When the flute melody played the crowd cheered the song. It reminded me that these songs were written in ABBA’s second language. I can’t imagine writing anything good in another language. “Fernando was followed by other ABBA favorites “SOS” & “Money Money Money”. It was fun to look around and find the different groups of fans get excited about each song.
The first half of the concert flew by. For the majority of Set 1 the crowd remained engaged, excited, but still seated. Of course, there were groups up dancing, but for the most part, the crowd was enjoying the concert from their blankets and chairs. That is until ARRIVAL played “Waterloo”. The infamous song that started it all for ABBA. They won the Eurovision Song Contest with this song and the rest is history. People all over were flying to their feet. People were dancing and singing with excitement. I wished they had been like that earlier but they definitely were going now. The dancing continued during the Set 1 closer, “Mamma Mia”.
It might be my favorite ABBA song so I was right there with everyone. I didn’t want the set to end. People were finally up and dancing. I was worried that ARRIVAL would have to start the momentum all over again.
Set 2 began strong. Many people were ready to continue the fun and dancing of the first half of the night. Songs like “Voulez Vous” and “Gimme Gimme Gimme” helped with the fun. There are so many great ABBA songs. It would be impossible to fit them all into the set. ARRIVAL brilliantly gave the Deer Valley crowd a taste of many more ABBA songs by performing a few medleys throughout the show. My favorite of these was the medley of “Kisses of Fire/ Angel Eyes/ Lay All Your Love”.
A major highlight of the evening was “The Winner Takes it All”. It’s such a beautiful song. It was performed brilliantly and the audience showed their approval by lighting up the crowd with their phone lights. The band and the vocalists were exceptional. ARRIVAL traditionally does not give the names of the band in order to keep the focus on ABBA. But the singers and ten-piece band were in great form. They had only arrived (no pun intended) in The States the day before the concert. I’d imagine they were suffering from major jetlag. If that was the case it was impossible to see in their performance.
The night ended strong with a few of my favorites. Who am I kidding? A few of everyone’s favorites! “Chiquitita” is an inspirational song that always seems to get audiences swaying and singing. Read the lyrics to this song. They really are uplifting and can be an inspiration to anyone struggling with someone. “Take A Chance On Me” was another great song to dance to. I could see groups of friends trying out routines they must have been practicing. Others were just going for it. The thing about this music is it’s just so fun. It’s hard to not smile and have a good time when you hear it. ARRIVAL performs it in a way where you never feel distracted by it not actually being ABBA.
And is there any doubt how things went for the closing song, “Dancing Queen”? You would have thought that ABBA themselves were performing this song. The crowd went crazy. Everyone from little kids to old men were into it. It was a sight to see, let me tell you.
ARRIVAL From Sweden is welcome to Utah anytime. They do such a good job honoring ABBA. Once the show started I never thought about the Symphony. ARRIVAL did such a good job that I didn’t even miss them. That being said, I don’t know what I missed. I’d love to hear ARRIVAL combined with the great Utah Symphony. Word on the street is plans are already being made to have ARRIVAL come back next summer. You can bet I’ll be there. It’s a guaranteed good night!