ABBA Live | 12 October 2007
I have never seen ABBA live in concert, so I don't know how ABBA was in the flesh. The only live material that I ever saw was the ABBA in concert Laserdisc, which was reissued as VHS tape and which is available as ABB in concert on DVD now. And the 1986 Live CD was the only Live album that was released.
However, that CD has been deleted from the official ABBA catalogue. Was it really that bad then? Well, maybe for those who saw the true live concerts? But not for those who never witnessed such an event. Of course we all know that the CD was filled with heavily overdubbed and remixed recordings. And even knowing that, I kind of liked the Live CD for what it was: a bunch of ABBA live recordings. At least it gave you an impression of what ABBA sounded live.
Unfortunately the idea behind the album was completely wrong. Instead of the strange (and very bad) mix of recordings from ABBA's entire career, it should have been a single full concert. And that might have been a 1977 show or a 1979 show.
With ABBA's complete studio recordings released in a deluxe box set almost two years ago, I would have expected a somewhat smaller box with live recordings last year or in the spring of this year. Sadly this didn't happen.
So isn't it time for an ABBA Live Box? I think it definitely is! OK, now we have The Album in a deluxe box set, so maybe a live box would not be a commercial success right now. But in 2008 it would be very appropriate. In 2008 there can't be a deluxe edition of Voulez-Vous yet, because that will probably happen in April 2009, just in time to coincide with the opening of the official ABBA museum.
So autumn 2008 might be a very interesting time for a live box set. And it should at least include the following items:
A CD with a full 1975 concert, a double CD with a full 1977 Australian concert including I'm an A and the complete mini-musical, a double CD with a full 1979 Wembley Arena concert including I'm still alive, a CD with the full Dick Cavett performance, a rarities CD with other live recordings (Eurovision, tv-programmes, etc.) and the Live DVD as we know it.
That would be a "7 CD / 1 DVD" box set. And I don't buy it when Universal claims they have nothing left in the can. Don't give me the usual "we don't have any complete live recordings" crap. There must be recordings in the vaults, they simply need to dig a bit deeper. Take for instance the BBC transcription disc LP from 1980 with a readily mixed 1979 live concert. Or what about the recordings for ABBA The Movie?
But please: no horrible overdubs this time. We want to hear how amazing ABBA really was!