Start singing one of ABBA’s hits — “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Waterloo,” “Mamma Mia” — and chances are anyone nearby will join in.
The Swedish pop stars have only grown more popular over time — especially with the Broadway show “Mamma Mia!” inspiring a movie and sequel. They’ve appeared in viral YouTube videos, commercials and movies.
So it’s only natural that the superstars would inspire tribute shows, including the Lodi area’s own Supertrouper: The Ultimate ABBA Tribute.
The band formed in August 2016, but its roots go deeper. Many of the members were part of a previous ABBA tribute; when that band broke up, a core group pulled together with and reached out to other musicians to form a super of ABBA tribute supergroup.
“We named the project Supertrouper in honor of one of ABBA’s many popular songs,” drummer Louis Brazil said.
They’re dedicated to putting on a show that lives up to their inspiration’s reputation. That includes working hard to perfect the group’s signature vocal harmonies and finding costumes that are authentic to the 1970s and 1980s, when ABBA was at their height.
“The ladies (of Supertrouper) do more costume changes than most people can believe,” Brazil said.
The tribute has been a labor of love for its members, especially Norway native Gro Bondevik.
“From the first time she heard ABBA as a child, she wanted to perform ABBA,” Brazil said.
When she moved to Minnesota in the 1990s to attend the University of Minnesota, she held ABBA dance parties for her friends. She came to the Lodi area in 1997, and began performing.
Kiah Cornelious, the band’s bassist, has some serious musical connection. Her distant cousin, Don Cornelious, was the host of “Soul Train.” And keyboardist Richard Rushton was once the musical director of the Showboat at Pollardville.
They’re joined by vocalist Rachel Songer of Sacramento, keyboardist Ginnie Sue Medford, guitarist Bill Stevens, and percussionist and background vocalist Brenda Stern.
Together, the members of Supertrouper have about 65 years of experience combined in ABBA tribute groups — and much more experience in music in general.
“We have a good team,” Brazil said.
They put on a show for their fans, and the fans respond. They dance in their seats, sing along — which Supertrouper encourages — and some even dress the part.
Brazil plays drums for several bands.
“But playing with Supertrouper and seeing fans come dressed up in their ’70s and ’80s clothes ... that is literally the best part of the show,” he said.
Fan interaction has become part of every concert, and the band members are happy to hold a meet-and-greet after each show to reminisce about ABBA.
“Everybody just wants to tell their stories,” Brazil said.
But that comes later. First is the concert, packed with ABBA’s top 10 hits.
The goal is for everyone — band and audience alike — to have a great time.
“If you’re a lover of ABBA music, or if you don’t know ABBA music, you need to come and see because it’s going to rekindle some amazing music memories,” Brazil said. “We would challenge (the audience) to be able to sit in their seat for the whole show.”