I play this Album daily and every time I hear something new, I to love As Good As New like mentioned the funky gituar work, vocal work on Hole In Your Soul and Fridays vocals on WDIHTBM, ask said before finally great to hear I'm Still Alive in great quality instead of on boot led recordings. Maxisaxi New Zealand
At the moment, the standouts for me are "Summer Night City," "Money Money Money" and "Waterloo." There's something about the energy in those performances that pulls me right in. "Fernando" is another surprise for me: for such a gentle song, this performance is really quite gutsy. I'm appreciating it all over again. Of course, it's a treat to finally have "I'm Still Alive" in such excellent quality. I'm not a particularly huge fan of the song (yet, anyway - I'm sure it will continue to grow on me) but Agnetha gives a great performance. Plus, having it like this really helps to round out the ABBA story.
Surprisingly, Fernando is a stand-out track for me. I think Frida delivers a great vocal performance. After that it would have to be I'm Still Alive - great to have a quality recording and Agnetha sounds like she's giving everything. Finally, I have a Dream - sounds better live than the studio version.
Post by chelseacharger on Nov 17, 2014 19:10:00 GMT
The only one I'm skipping at times is 'Rock Me' because I've never really liked it. There's a few though that are in serious danger of being worn out through repeat playing. IIWFTN, KMKY, MMM, GGG, SOS (Just love the finale where the girls go in tandem. Better arrangement than the studio version imo), Fernando, Eagle, WDIHTBM, SNC. Some have a problem with the instrumental inclusions on the albums and in concerts but I've always liked them. They somehow re-connect ABBA with their roots and the tradition of Scandinavian melancholy. Intermezzo was no doubt deliberately placed in between WDIHTBM and ISA so as to give both girls two consecutive performances to sit out for a breather in the second half of the set list.
Love the opening: 'Gammal Föbodpsalm' is a wonderful swedish melody: nice keyboard, Benny
'Voulez-Vous' is good, 'If It Wasn't For The Nights' and 'As Good As New' are driven by funky riffs and Bennys great keyboards saving these songs: the vocals are stretched and stressed, Agnetha might be in tune, but it isn't pretty. Cred to the guitars!
'Knowing Me, Knowing You' is fine, carried by Anni-Frids warm voice: this is one of Björn and Bennys finest songs and ABBAs best recordings; Anni-Frid should have taken this song to her chest and put a bit more emotions into the choruses: the band drives it ahead like a bulldozer; gentle, please.
'Rock Me' sounds good, but I wished it had been more ... ...rock... ...this track should've been in the 2nd half, leading into 'Hole In Your Soul'...
'Chiquitita' is a little thin; Agnetha is half improvising where there's need for a carrying melody. The protagonist here is not the sad, pityful one, but the encouraging one; achy breaky is not the tone for this lovely song, and Aggie knows. Arrangement a bit schmaltzy. Benny, this song needs your piano taking the lead!
I choose 'Money Money Money', as Benny plays and has fun on his keyboards, improvising lovely :: wish Anni-frid performing this had been captured on film, Cigarette Holder and all :: Anni-Frids vocals are strong and playful too.
'I Have A Dream' follows where 'Chiquitita' ended; such a good song (I mean it), great vocals by Anni-Frid, but a bit schmaltzy again. I don't mind the childrens choir nor even the repeat of it -after all, there's a huge childrens choir onstage, proud parents and all, and it was 1979 and Unicef and all that too -stripping it a bit down and letting the vocalist carry the lyrics just for a moment, to save it from the 'Schlager' sirupy feeling. But, what the heck, I always liked this song anyway.
'Gimme Gimme Gimme' is great. Listening to the odd tape which surfaced last year, which is from the Record Studio Tapes from probably around or just before August 31st 1979, we hear the very same musicians playing this song just months before November 10th, before the track was mixed and the end was faded out: In the Wembley recording, however, Agnethas voice is odd; she sings quite rough, and it's actually ok.Deliberately? I like it. Cred to the guitars again: this is funky!
'SOS' has Agnetha being very gentle, almost too soft (is she mixed down or not close enough to the mic?): her interpretation is sweet, but Bennys keyboards should've been a proper piano: the synth sounds like a toy instrument, and the original sound of this song is watered out. The 'schlager' oompha could've been toned down a little: if only Benny had let Aggie lead this song a little more, and just follow her....
'Fernando' -one of ABBAs most successful songs ever -Anni-Frid is warm and close to the microphone. Ok, so she had a cold and a sore throat at the end of the week in London, but it is hard to hear: this is great. Cred to the vocalist! Listen to Benny!!
'The Name of the Game' and 'Eagle' -two of my favourite ABBA tracks, but here a little weak. Agnetha twists her voice a little on the weird side, Anni-Frid improvises very nicely, but the first song drives like a bulldozer forward and the second has the girls a bit uninspired -but man do the boys on guitars do their job: Mats Ronander, Lasse Wellander -this is pure gold!
'Thank You For The Music' is a shadow of other performances of this song.
'Why Did It Have To Be Me' sounds fun: great drum opening there: why oh why do we not have this on film? Björn sounds tired, and so does Anni-Frid at first.
'Intermezzo No 1' -Benny actually never composed a No. 2- -this man is one of pop musics very best pianists! Love this track, love this version! And, while he plays this, Anni-Frid, Björn and Aggie has a drink backstage My 2nd Choice!
'I'm Still Alive' -while Anni-Frid, Benny and Björn has a second drink backstage, Agnetha has the stage to herself. I have a relationship to the swedish version of this song, which I love -but always found the bootleg live recordings disappointing -finally the proper recording is here! Not Agnethas best melodies, not at all Björns better lyrics, boring arrangement and once more achy breaky interpretation. The title even, is hopeless. [ Agnetha, sing this again, and sing it with conviction: I'm sure the lyrics can sound more true than this ] 1st verse shouldn't have been by the backing singers, and one more verse and a bridge would have helped.
'Summer Night City' has Björn and Anni-Frid (and Agnetha?) singing acapella -I remember how I loved this immensly when I first heard it in the 'ABBA In Concert' tv programme -this version is even better: The Band plays with a great drive: I really love this! My third choice!
'Take A Chance On Me' is ok, but not more. this song could be much lighter and more playful...
'Does Your Mother Know' has Björn warming up, the Band plays superbly.
'Hole In Your Soul' has the Band and Benny speeding things up, and even the girls sound very good here.
'The way Old Friends Do' sounds warmer in this version; Agnetha is hesitating a little, nice harmonies from all four.
'Dancing Queen' Apart from singing "you can yive" instead of "jive" (the girls have done this a lot when performing this song: :: January, Jellyfish, Jingle Bells, Jogging, Jungle: Jive. You can Jive), this song is classic.
'Waterloo' rocks fast, adrenaline high, Benny speeds up on his keyboards.
By the way, the recording sometimes sounds like as if the crowd o thousands are a small, intimate audience: I guess the microphones got only the first row (clearly even) and the distant sound of the rest. || "Hello, London!!" ".. 'hello' ..." || "Are you feeling good? [...] What do you think of our band"? " .clap, clap, clap.. " ||
Benny says upon hearing the recording today that he thinks he himself was 'brave' in his playing, and I guess he means in his improvisations -and he sure has a lot of fun :: Anni-Frid also improvises vocally several places, and it's lovely. Today, whenever BAO is playing live, Benny re-visits old ABBA songs and enjoys playing around with these old songs again
After listenning to this album quite a number of times, even if I like some songs (AGAN, I n°1, MMM, DYMTO and HIYS), the album as a whole isn't as good as I was expected from ABBA.
Maybe this album is too "clean" not anough "Raw" for a live album.
The girls were clearly not at their best. Of course there is the fatigue of the tour and cold weather at this period of the year so after a week of concerts at the same arena + cold the voices were certainly weaken...
I prefer listenning to the bootlegs, even if they're clearly not perfect recordings, your are actually IN the concert like Milwaukee's one, you feel the atmosphere of the hall and the powerful sound of ABBA, the girls are at their best (I would love this concert to be released as an album if they recorded it)
I also love the Paris concert and the crazy crowd (Frida's favorite - "This is ABBA" radio interview) a real rock concert audience
In fact all the 1979/80 bootlegs I listen to, the girls sings much better than the Wembley Album.
I haven't bought it yet - I no doubt will and hopefully it won't take as long as it took me to get 'Ring Ring'...
Problem is, I'm not mad keen on audio-only live albums. It's a bit like hearing a great party going on next door, but not being invited to it. In fact, there's only a handful of 'Live' albums that I ever listen to. I'll perhaps start a thread on the topic.