The title ABBA--In Concert
is perhaps a little misleading in promising something a bit more "live" than is actually delivered. While this "official" TV film provides a fascinating insight into ABBA's 1979 tour of North America and Europe, the first segment of the 50-minute documentary is given over almost exclusively to behind-the-scenes material. As the film progresses and the action shifts from the US to London's Wembley, more live performance footage is included such as full length renditions of "Chiquitita", "Dancing Queen" and "Summer Night City".
Made by Swedish television company SVT, and released for the first time on DVD in 2004 to coincide with ABBA's 30th anniversary, Urban Lasson's film begins by charting the group's attempts to crack the US. Rather than using a narrator to guide the viewer through the scenes, the film competently uses stylish images to tell the story of the group's trip across the continent. Recorded at the height of the disco era, the American footage is dominated by images of roller skaters, and some of the live material from the Wembley shows was shot by a roller-skating cameraman, so that he could move more quickly on stage to get the best shots.
The four split just a couple of years after this tour, making the film one of a few quality recordings of the band playing live. It's a shame that additional full performances of other ABBA favourites were not recorded, or included in the final cut. However the disc does include previously unreleased DVD footage of "The Way Old Friends Do", "I Have A Dream" (Unedited Live Version) and "Thank You For The Music" to partially compensate for this.
On the DVD:As well as the bonus concert performances, the DVD includes recently recorded interviews with the film director Urban Lasson, and the promoter and tour producer Thomas Johansson. A tour souvenir programme picture gallery is also included, and the disc comes with a 28-page colour booklet, which features an excellent extended essay by Carl Magnus Palm on the making of the film. The soundtrack has been painstakingly remastered in 5.1 Surround Sound, making the live performances sound stunning. --John Galilee
ABBA In Concert (2004 UK Region 0 PAL DVD featuring remastered performances from Wembley Arena 1979 plus previously unseen versions exclusive interviews photo gallery movie tralier and more. Picture sleeve with 28-page booklet!)