Monday, February 9, 2009

But Did Putin Request "The Visitors"?

So it seems that John McCain isn't the only political figure who is passionate about ABBA. According to published reports, including this one from UPI, Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently took in a private performance of "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia!" by Bjorn Again, an ABBA tribute band.

Oh, but the January 22 show wasn't just another gig. Reportedly, Bjorn Again was flown from London to Moscow, traveled for an additional 9 hours, and were told to perform behind white curtains so they could not identify the members of the audience. They were also told that they were not permitted to leave the stage.

"It was the smallest audience we have ever performed to, but Mr Putin was
really enjoying it, shouting 'bravo' and clapping with the others," singer Aileen McLaughlin told The Times [of London]. "He was dancing along in his seat to 'Super Trouper' and raised his hands in the air during 'Mamma Mia' when we asked the audience to."

Singer Jennifer Robb told The Daily Telegraph: "The prime minister didn't
stand, but he and his wife, or whoever it was, were jigging about on the sofa
and singing the words to 'Honey, Honey.' All his officials were singing away and
doing a finger-pointing dance. They really got into it, even though there were
only nine of them. At the end, the prime minister shouted, 'Bravo, bravo' and
gave us great applause."

The Kremlin, however, is denying that such a concert occurred. So, as a proud ABBA fan, I'd like to pass along a message to my man Vlad, should he be reading this. (Whaaaaat? You don't think it's conceivable that the Russian Prime Minister is a closet reader of The Betty and Boo Chronicles?) There's no shame whatsoever in being an ABBA fan. In fact, truth be told, it actually makes me sleep a little better at night knowing that the Russian Prime Minister shares my appreciation of ABBA.

What I'm still wondering, though, is if Vlad requested the title song from ABBA's final album in 1981, "The Visitors."

But how I loved our secret meetings
We talked and talked in quiet voices, smiling ...
Now I hear them moving, muffled noises
Coming through the door, I feel I'm crackin' up
Voices growing louder, irritation building
And I'm close to fainting, crackin' up
They must know by now I'm in here trembling
In a terror evergrowing, crackin' up
My whole world is falling, going crazy
There is no escaping now, I'm crackin up
These walls have witnessed all the anguish of humiliation
And seen the hope of freedom glow in shining faces
And now they've come to take me
Come to break me
And yet it isn't unexpected

I have been waiting for these visitors ....

The cost of this private concert of ABBA's best hits? $30,000 (or $45,000, according to the New York Post). The blog fodder potential? Priceless.

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