Less than a year after it stopped at Davenport’s Adler Theatre, the group that bills itself as the world’s number-one touring ABBA tribute returns for a concert this Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m., 136 E. 3rd St.
Mania: The ABBA Tribute formed in 1999 and the show has been selling out theaters and concert halls internationally ever since. Mania has toured every continent in the world and has played over 3,000 live concerts in over 35 countries.
The group bio says they deliver an “authentic and unforgettable tribute to the legendary Swedish band that has captured the hearts of fans for generations. With stunning costumes, energetic choreography, and impeccable musicianship, Mania: The ABBA Tribute recreates the magic of ABBA’s music in all its glory.”
From “Dancing Queen” to “Waterloo,” “Mamma Mia” to “Take a Chance on Me,” the band performs all of ABBA’s greatest hits with passion and precision, transporting audiences back to the disco era of the 1970s, says a tour release.
The show recently enjoyed an 80-date sell-out U.S. national tour in 2022-2023. They usually tour three to four months each year, and 2024 will be four months, since it’s the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s “Eurovision” song contest win in 1974 with “Waterloo.”
“It’s a big celebration,” singer Alison Ward (who performs as Agnetha (Aggie) Faltsog, said recently. ABBA was a pop supergroup formed in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972, including Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — and the group’s name is an acronym of the foursome’s first names.
This current tour of Mania extends from Oct. 13 to Nov. 12, 2023. The tribute concert was at the Adler in November 2022.
Ward said the last show before this tour was in Manila, the Philippines, where there are “massive ABBA fans,” she said. “They were screaming from start to finish. I think ABBA has been loved worldwide for many years now.”
She started with the tribute in 2010. Ward (a brunette) wears a blonde wig to become Agnetha, her alter-ego. “Blondes do have more fun. It’s a great time, I love it,” she said. “I’ve been doing it for many years. I’ve sung ‘Dancing Queen’ hundreds of times, maybe thousands of times. I love it every time.”
Despite doing the same hits each show, they never get tired of it.
“Honestly, the audience reaction each time that song starts is worth it,” Ward said, noting it’s a big party atmosphere every night, with lots of audience singalongs.
She is based in Las Vegas and loves performing there. She also does a solo show as herself, including on cruise lines.
“I love it. I love them all,” Ward said. “I’ve spent a lot of time on Princess Cruises, but also Celebrity and some of the smaller ships. I love being at sea, being able to perform my songs and not ABBA songs. It’s like a little luxury vacation where I get to sing and put on some sparkly dresses. I love it.”
She does diva hits from the ‘60s to today, including from Adele and Amy Winehouse. “All the favorites, and I even sing ABBA believe it or not,” Ward said.
In another show as herself, the 36-year-old Brit talks about her own upbringing in Liverpool, England and includes Beatles songs.
As ABBA, they put on Swedish accents and try to be very similar to their concerts.
“I feel their movement is very simple and dainty,” Ward said. “We do add a few extra dance moves to fill out the huge stage. They didn’t do a lot of big dance breaks.”
The real ABBA reunited to release “Voyage” in November 2021, its first new album in 40 years, but the Mania tribute does not do any of the new songs, preferring to stick to the classics.
As Ali (compared to Aggie), Ward said she is more outgoing, “a chatty Cathy,” she said. “It definitely is a hard life being on a tour bus, keeping the momentum going, so we have to keep our spirits up for sure. But it’s a little ABBA family. We get to do what we love to do – sing, play live music and we get the reaction of the crowd that loves it, so it works both ways.”
They get a lot of energy from the crowds, Ward said. “Every night is a different show and they help much more than they realize. When they’re swaying and dancing along, it makes it 10,000 times better for us. It never gets old for me.”
So on Thursday, dig out those platforms, dust down those flares and enjoy all your favorite hits, including “Mamma Mia,” “Voulez Vous,” “Dancing Queen,” “Winner Takes It All,” “Waterloo,” “Fernando,” “Super Trouper” and many more.
Tickets ($25 to $65, and increasing $5 on the day of show) are available HERE or at the Adler box office at 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport.