ABBA Forever: a night of Mamma Mia or was it more SOS?


ABBA has been my secret guilty pleasure for a long time. Super Trooper got me through the late nights and lack of sleep while I was writing my dissertation. But I thought I was the only one who knew all the words to every song, and I would never have admitted to it in public. It turns out, however, that the students of St Andrews are big ABBA fans – judging by the number of people filling Venue 1 for the ABBA tribute night.

I was slightly worried that people would be put off by the new layout in Venue 1 resulting from the closure of the main bar and there would be fewer spur-of-the-moment ticket sales from those who go for a quiet drink at the Union but then somehow end up dancing until 2 am and have to crawl out of bed hungover for a 9 am the next morning (don’t lie, we’ve all been there). But there was no need: when we arrived around 11, there was a queue right out the door!

The band was advertised to come on stage at 11:15. They came on slightly later than planned but this gave us a chance to grab a drink and try to find a good spot among the crowd. Then they burst onto stage in a dazzle of glitter and colour, and for over an hour they played all the hits – completing the look with 80s dance moves, some interesting silver capes and some fairly unrealistic wigs. They might not have been the best musicians, but who cares? It was lots of fun. They really knew how to work the crowd, encouraging them to clap along or sing into the mic.

After a great set – ending with crowd pleasers Thank You For The Music and Dancing Queen – the event continued. It was billed as the typical Rewind event, focusing on cheesy music and guilty pleasures. Most people seemed to stick around for the final hour and it was really great to see Venue 1 busy for this sort of event. I always enjoy the Rewind events so this was a great way to continue the night.

The Rewind Saturdays are returning in weeks four and eight, and promise to be filled with classic dance cheese, while UNItrash makes a comeback in week seven.

The new-look building site bar was open for those attending the event and the lower drinks prices seemed to be going down well. There was no need to be concerned about Money, Money, Money either – the whole event was well priced at only £4. None of the Refreshers’ events have been over £5, which means you can go to more of them and have a great time even if you are watching the pennies.

The bar in Venue 2 doesn’t seem to be suffering from a lack of trade either. While the bar is tiny, and on busy nights may be a stuggle to get to, the relaxed layout and glass walls make for a great place to have a chilled drink earlier on in the evening. Whether this can be continued for the rest of the semester remains to be seen.

All in all, it was a great night and one of the most enjoyable I’ve had at the Union in a long time. The best thing was that everyone got really into it and I realised that maybe it was cool to like ABBA after all. All I can say is Gimme, Gimme, Gimme more events like this!


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