In 1977, ABBA visited Perth for just five days, but their time in the city left an indelible mark, with their contributions to “ABBA – The Movie” and the bootleg CD “Live At Last.” My research in the State Library’s archives has allowed me to compile a chronology of ABBA’s stay in Perth.
Upon arriving in Perth, ABBA surprised their fans by heading straight to the Swan River for a sail on the yacht Sir Henry Merkin, rather than going directly to their hotel, The Parmelia Hotel. Promoter Patti Mostyn revealed that “The girls brought their bikinis in their hand luggage,” and “They have not had any time off since they arrived in Australia and they wanted a swim.” Some of the most famous photographs of ABBA during their 1977 concert tour were taken on the Swan River.
Meanwhile, a group of 30 to 40 fans eagerly awaited ABBA’s arrival outside Perth’s Hilton Hotel, The Parmelia. Among them were Evan Burton and Jim Snee, who were interviewed by the “Daily News.” Jim had written poetry for Agnetha, while Evan had brought a synthetic rose. Security was noticeably lax, with only one lounge-suited man dubbed “Mr. Meany” by the fans. As the cars pulled up and ABBA stepped out, the fans were unable to contain their excitement and began to mob the group. Mr. Meany warned them repeatedly, “You’ve blown it now, you’ve blown it for all time,” but to no avail. ABBA, in keeping with their amiable image, remained gracious and even rewarded the fans with the occasional peck on the cheek.
During their time in Perth, ABBA had several encounters with fans and other famous guests. One such encounter involved Local Aboriginal leader, Ken Colbung, who brought a group of children from the “New Era Fellowship” to the Parmelia hotel to serenade ABBA with a number of their songs played on the didgeridoo.
Unfortunately, the first concert at the Perth Entertainment Centre on Thursday night was marred by a bomb hoax. According to “The West Australian,” the pianist Benny Andersson found himself alone on stage with the three other members absent, and they did not return for several minutes. A voice then came through the amplifier announcing a 15-minute internal break and asking the 8000 people to leave the hall in an orderly fashion. The start of the second performance scheduled for 9pm was delayed by 15 minutes. Despite being worried about his son’s safety, Benny Andersson continued with the concerts.
A major photo opportunity occurred on Friday at the Parmelia Hotel where ABBA and other famous guests, including Alice Cooper, The Dubliners, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, Stephane Grappeli, and the Diz Disley trio were photographed together for the “Weekend News”.
Although many concert sequences in the movie ABBA – The Movie were filmed in Perth, the editing makes it difficult to build a meaningful chronology. The “Live At Last” CD contains six tracks recorded during one of the Perth concerts, including Tiger, That’s Me/Waterloo, I Do, When I Kissed The Teacher, I Am An A, and So Long.
2 responses to “ABBA in Perth – 1977”
Wow – does this bring back some very enjoyable memories. Thanks for sharing!
Look there to my website I already have 2 concerts from Perth and one from Sydney,Melbourne and Adelaide and much more.