HAVING been lifelong ABBA fans, my mum and I were excited when Thank You for the Music, otherwise known as the ultimate tribute to ABBA, announced they would be bringing their tour to The Anvil in Basingstoke.

The audience, which was surprisingly a vast mix of ages, was transported back to the 70s as four talented musicians transformed themselves into Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, putting on their platforms and colourful costumes – including the famous cat dresses, which were originally designed for the television show Made in Sweden – For Export in 1975, but have now become a part of pop history.

The tribute show, which is now in its 20th year, brings together all of ABBA’s number one hits, and the band definitely didn’t disappoint, taking us on a journey through the hits we know and love, including Dancing Queen, Knowing Me Knowing You and Take a Chance on Me.

Fans of Mamma Mia – the film or the musical – were certainly delighted when songs from the production formed part of the setlist, including Chiquitita, Money, Money, Money and, of course, Mamma Mia.

What surprised me the most was the amount of audience interaction, the musicians got us up on our feet learning ‘Swedish line dancing’ and singing our hearts out to some of the classics. Even when a few sombre numbers were sung, including SOS, The Winner Takes It All and One of Us, our arms were up in the air swaying and at one point the theatre was illuminated by phone lights for Fernando.

Between songs, each member of the band took time to chat to the audience, really getting into character by using convincing Swedish accents. They all had great camaraderie with the audience and with each other.

As the performance was coming to an end I was disappointed that ABBA’s 1974 Eurovision single hadn’t been performed, but there was nothing to fear, as with any true performer, there was an encore and Waterloo was just that! The audience were bursting with excitement.

It struck me that it didn’t really matter to me or the rest of the audience that the amazing voices of the performers weren’t exactly like the real ABBA, everyone was just there to have a good time and we certainly did. The band embodied their idols and put on a show that is definitely one that certainly mum and I will remember for a long time.