Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

LORRAINE WILSON: ABBA Voyage live show is everything I’ve dreamed of since 1974

Lorraine was there for the opening of ABBA Voyage - a moment she's dreamed of since she was a little girl.
Lorraine was there for the opening of ABBA Voyage - a moment she's dreamed of since she was a little girl.

The sofa was blue-green boucle with teak wooden arms, the TV was in the corner of the room, and unusually for our house the “big light” was on.

My mum was out at the Powrie Bar with my auntie and uncle, and my dad was on babysitting duties, pottering around while I watched TV.

It was Saturday April 6, 1974, and this seven-year-old was watching the Eurovision Song Contest in Fintry Drive, Dundee.

I was leaning over a hard wooden arm when an explosion of colour arrived on the stage.

Shiny clothes, massive smiles and shiny pop music – and they were from a faraway land.

That first encounter with ABBA is one of my crystal-clear childhood memories.

From that moment I was hooked.

I still am.

To attend the premiere of ABBA Voyage, their first live show in 40 years on Thursday evening was something that teeny me could never have dreamed of.

When I was 10, they played Glasgow. There was no one to take me.

ABBA are back. Photo: Bailllie Walsh.

I entered a competition on Swap Shop to go to a Wembley Arena concert and the morning they pulled the winning postcard from the tombola I was so sure it would be me.

It wasn’t.

That same year though, the ABC in Dundee showed ABBA the movie.

My mum and dad dropped me off with sweeties and I rushed to the front row.

I remember the awe of looking up at them on this massive screen and thinking this was the best day of my life

Little Lorraine growing up in the Fintry area of Dundee.

So when I told friends I had been invited to attend the premiere, the most common reaction was “you deserve it.”

Like they’ve never been away

I was loyal until the final single. One of the few buyers who got Under Attack to number 36 in the charts.

And in the intervening years between then and now, they have been a constant.

Even as a teenager when I veered off into New Wave, they always underpinned what music meant to me.

ABBA in Brighton, after winning the Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden with Waterloo in 1974.

It wasn’t cool to like ABBA but thankfully I’ve never been cool.

When they held a global event to announce the show and a new album, Voyage, released last November, I was in two minds.

I loved the legacy so much – would this spoil it for me?

The Mamma Mia! musicals I can see far enough to be honest.

I’m a purist when it comes to hearing how these songs are performed.

However, the success of the stage show and films probably paved the way for this comeback, scooping up new generations of fans.

Lorraine on the red carpet for the first night of ABBA Voyage.

How else could they justify spending a reported £145 million on designing and creating a purpose-built arena and employing the best digital effects people on the planet to create as close to a live experience as we were ever going to get?

A triumph of technology over time

Ranging in age from 72 to 77, the band members are never going to play live again.

Agnetha didn’t enjoy touring in her 20s, why would she agree to it now?

When I interviewed Benny a few years ago, when the project was still in its infancy, he said it would allow him to be at home with his grandchildren and dogs, as any man in his 70s should be, while the band played “live”.

They are rarely thought of as trailblazers. But Andersson was something of a synth pioneer on albums like The Visitors and the vision they’ve shown in the Voyage concert is admirable.

The show itself is difficult to describe unless you’re in the custom-built arena.

The building has to be constructed around the technology.

But sitting in that arena on Tuesday evening, I had to remind myself on several occasions that the four figures on stage weren’t real.

It’s a spectacular achievement and despite the digital aspect it manages to humanise the avatars.

ABBA in the suits they wore to create their avatars lifelike movements. Photo: Baillie Walsh.

The emotional attachment is clearly to the people rather than the creations, but it’s palpable in the room.

ABBA appeal is bigger than music

Why ABBA? Why anyone?

Everyone reading this will have their own “ABBA.” A band, an author, an artist, a sports team. Something that lifts them out of the ordinary and also serves as a comfort blanket.

As a musically literate adult I could talk about the songwriting and the arrangements and everything that I’ve done for years to “justify” liking them so much. But it’s so more than that.

The Voyage concert and album, and the general “return” of ABBA rekindled that sense of hope and wonder and joy that they inspired in a shy, swotty, seven year old.

At the Voyage concert, I experienced that unrestrained, unfettered joy that you remember as a child, free of bills and politics and conflict.

Looking around I saw smiles and tears and people who weren’t reacting to digitally created avatars.

They all had their reasons for reacting the way they did.

But we were all there because ABBA still have the power to produce something magical.

When the four members made an in-person appearance at the end, I’m sure the roar could be heard as far away as Stockholm.

For you, it might not be ABBA, it probably isn’t. But if something makes you feel that way, grab on to it and cherish it.

We all deserve it.