ABBA Stafford Bingley Hall 11 November 1979

I’m starting this weeks posts with a guilty pleasure. I’ve always had a broad taste in music, and over the years, I’ve been to see quite a lot of straight pop acts, and artists from other genres. One concert that I am particularly proud of attending, and feel no quilt at all about, is Abba. My mate Davy and I went to see Abba at Stafford Bingley Hall at the height of their fame in 1979. Abba toured the UK twice, once in 1977 and again in 1979, and played around a dozen shows in the UK in total. Their first tour was at smaller venues such as Glasgow Apollo, and I remember regretting missing them on that tour. So when they announced some dates at larger venues in 1979, I bought a couple of tickets to see them in Stafford Bingley Hall. The concert was on a Sunday, and we drove down to the concert on the afternoon, and as I recall, went to a chinese restaurant for a meal before the gig.
Stafford Bingley Hall was used for gigs throughout the 70s, Davy and I also went there to see The Who in the mid 70s. It was a big old cattle market, and smelt like one! For the ABBA concert they laid plastic seats in rows, we were in Row 18, which wasn’t too far away from the front. I don’t recall there being any support act for this gig. One thing I do remember is we were both were quite tickled that the actor, John Forgeham, who played Jim Baines in Crossroads at the time was sitting in the next row. The setlist will have been something like: Gammal Fabodpsalm; Voulez-Vous; If It Wasn’t for the Nights; As Good as New; Knowing Me Knowing You; Rock Me; Not Bad At All; Chiquitita; Money Money Money; I Have a Dream; Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight); S.O.S.; Fernando; The Name of the Game; Eagle; Thank You For The Music; Why Did It Have to Be Me; Intermezzo No. 1; I’m Still Alive; Take a Chance on Me; Summer Night City; Does Your Mother Know; Hole in Your Soul; The Way Old Friends Do; Dancing Queen; Waterloo. The four members of Abba were accompanied by a band, and by a large choir of local children for I Have a Dream. They played all the hits and a selection of album tracks. The sound at big gigs wasn’t great in those days, and I seem to remember that being the case at this gig; it was quite quiet in comparison to a more traditional rock concert. Davy and I really enjoyed it, and I still look back on this gig with fond memories and feel quite lucky that I got to see Abba. My programme is above. After the gig we then drove straight back up to Newcastle, which is around 200 miles. It started snowing as we got further north, and I dropped Davy off at Newcastle City Hall, where he joined the queue for tickets for Paul McCartney and Wings which went on sale the next morning. I went home for a few hours sleep, got up went to work for a short time, then went through to Newcastle and met (a very cold and tired) Davy who had managed to get the Wings tickets, but thats a story for another day.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ella on November 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I’ve always wondered what this concert was like. Thanks for posting this..


  2. It is about that same time that I was dragged to a Barry Manilow concert. I can finally admit that I did enjoy it. Guilty pleasures in music almost sounds like a good post topic!


  3. Posted by Hockey on April 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Great blog again Peter, I’m also a hard rock/prog fan with a few guilty pleasures, mine was seeing the Bay City Rollers in 1976 (the week after seeing the Rainbow Rising tour!), initially for a laugh, but they were pretty good. I’d also now love to have seen Abba, but was far too macho at the time to admit their pop brilliance – damn, too late now…..


    • Posted by vintagerock on April 21, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Thanks for your support. Actually I think there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, just good music and good gigs, and the truth is that most major acts are great to see live. Cheers Peter


  4. Posted by Pete on July 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I too was at this ABBA concert, my parents took me, I had just turned 16. What’s memorable is that I had been to see The Stranglers a couple of weeks earlier which was the first proper gig I’d ever been to and I thought ABBA where quite tame in comparison! Looking back now I am so blessed to have seen both ABBA and the Strangers at their peak.


  5. Posted by Ellie rowley on July 13, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I went to see abba at bingley hall in 1979 it was wonderful what an experience. They arrived and left by helicopter so special for that time. Look how big They are now. Still fantastic music timeless.


  6. Posted by Trevor Crumpton on September 21, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    Well I was dragged to the concert by my wife. It was a typical November night & we were so far back in the audience but what an experience. I’ve been an avid fan ever since & bought all their records, which I still have but which have obviously been superseded by cds etc. God bless ABBA for bringing so much pleasure to so many folks with their wonderful music & songs.


  7. Posted by Keith Lambert on October 31, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for posting this, I spotted it whilst re-reading the Queen (Leeds 1982) thread. As a rock fan through and through, I absolutely love ABBA. The arrangements, the melodies and of course those ‘once in a lifetime’ vocals. One of my big regrets is not having seen them. I’d have to say that ’77 is probably my favourite ABBA year. The Australian footage is priceless.


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