ABBA '80 Concert Tour in Japan

Filmed: Sunday 9 - Friday 28 March 1980

Location: Japan

Broadcast: Never broadcast

Release status: Released on ABBA in Japan

Duration: 36:41

Shown in: Never broadcast

Additional information

A wonderful account (without narration) of ABBA's tour of Japan in March 1980 showing them in between TV shows, press conferences and some of the concert itself - specifically:

  1. ABBA arriving at New Tokyo International Airport on 9th March 1980 at 16.10
  2. Press conference in the Banqueting Hall of the Hotel New Otani, Tokyo on 10 March.
  3. Record company Discomate's 5th anniversary celebration and party (where ABBA was the special guest and received a commemorative gold disc) held in the banqueting room at the New Otani Hotel. They are seen holding boxes of It was Nihon-Shu (Japanese sake, an alcoholic drink). The girl who gave the flowers to ABBA members was the head of the fan club at that time! The woman next to ABBA was a singer.
  4. preparing for concerts
  5. sound rehearsal including behind-the-scenes
  6. interviews with all four ABBA members
  7. arriving at Festival Hall, Osaka on 21 March
  8. Benny at the Tea House
  9. Departure by train (Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station, train scenes from Osaka to Nagoya including Agnetha picking up a little boy
  10. arriving at Aichi Prefecture Gymnasium, Nagoya on 24 March
  11. Gifts from the fans (wearing special Japanese outfits)
  12. ABBA's departure from New Tokyo International Airport 28 March 22.30.

Featured songs (all filmed at concerts, but dubbed with studio recording):

  1. Voulez-Vous
  2. If it Wasn't For the Nights
  3. As Good as New (at last, a performance of this song - shame we can' hear it properly)
  4. Tomas Ledin - Not Bad at All
  5. Hole in Your Soul
  6. Dancing Queen
  7. Thank You for the Music (although no concert footage)
  8. Waterloo
  9. I Have a Dream (with a Japanese children's choir)

The little song that Frida continually sings about a squirrel is called Ekorren (The Squirrel). The Swedish generation who grew up in the Fifties would be most familiar with a recording of Ekorren by Alice Babs.

This documentary had been rumoured to exist for many, many years and only a privileged few had access to it. Apparently one Japanese fan visited the offices of Discomate Records in 1984 (must have been shortly before they went bankrupt) and saw a film of ABBA's tour in Japan which had different content to the ABBA in Japan programme. So its existence has been known about for some time. It was definitely worth the wait when it was first seen on the DVD ABBA in Japan released in 2009.

Seeing ABBA so relaxed is a rare treat. Whilst they had no free time during this trip whatsoever, this documentary shows them as real people, not the strictly-controlled image we usually see. We therefore see more of their individual personalities and see them having fun, being natural, warm and happy - and now we love them even more!

The whole programme is not available on YouTube but there are plenty of snippets to be found.  I have chosen to use the available concert footage here.

Björn and then Agnetha both wore the lilac jumpsuits that were worn on the cover of the Gracias Por La Musica album and also for the Gracias Por La Musica PROMO.  However, for both the album cover and the perfromance, Björn wore a turquoise jumpsuit, not a lilac one - so did he and Agnetha share an outfit (unlikely) or was Björn wearing the jumpsuit that Benny wore on the album?!) 

Frida could be seen wearing the big red coat from the Chiquitita PROMO

Björn also could be seen wearing the black and white stripey jacket he would wear on Måndagsbörsen.

This programme was released on the ABBA in Japan DVD in October 2009.

There are lots of things in this documentary worth looking out for but the best ones:

  1. Agnetha and Frida dancing closely together on stage
  2. Frida accidentally punching Björn in the face as he walks towards her at the end of Hole In Your Soul and then running after him to say sorry!
  3. Benny giving his cigar to the airport official at the end because he can't take it on the flight!

Thanks to M and R, Julian Körner, Alexei Zviaguintsev, Mayumi Taheri and Jozsef.
YouTube link c/o woutch

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