Jeans ’n Classics delight audience with ABBA tribute

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Photo: Shirley Nadeau

Andrea Koziol, Katalin Kiss, Lis Solderberg and Stephanie Martin, the lead singers of Jeans ’n Classics, absolutely charmed the audience at the Grand Théâtre during their ABBA tribute concert.

After last year’s fantastic Jeans ’n Classics concert with the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, featuring the music of the Beatles, people flocked to the Grand Theatre last Friday and Saturday evening for an encore performance, this time featuring the music of the Swedish wonderband, ABBA, one of the most commercially successful in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982.

The Jeans ’n Classics performers did not try to imitate the original singers – Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – but instead paid tribute to their music in their unique way, with four female singers, backed by their drummer, two guitarists, a pianist and a full symphony orchestra, the OSQ.

The four talented Canadian singers – Andrea Koziol, Katalin Kiss, Lis Solderberg and Stephanie Martin – sang duets, trios, and solos, with the others singing backup vocals and harmonies.

Their two hour concert, with intermission, featured the best of ABBA’s songs from “Mamma Mia,” “Knowing Me Knowing You,” “Does Your Mother Know,” and “Fernando,” to “Super Trouper,” to name a few.

Before singing “Chiquitita” singer Stephanie Martin explained that, after it was featured in a 1979 UNICEF charity event, ABBA donated half the royalties from the song to the charity. To this day, 50 per cent of the proceeds from the song go to UNICEF in recognition of the International Year of the Child.

The concert continued with “Waterloo,” “SOS,” “Fernando,” “Super Trouper,” the very popular “Voulez Vous” (the only song with a hint of French), “I Have A Dream,” “The Winner Takes It All” and more. For an encore, the group came back on stage, wearing feather boas to sing “Dancing Queen.” Some fans couldn’t resist the urge to dance and got up in the aisles to move to the music.

This journalist met two women who had come to Quebec City from Nova Scotia as the result of a spur-of-the-moment idea for a “girls’ weekend.” When asked if they had known about the Jeans ’n Classics ABBA tribute concert before they left home, they replied, “No, we met some members of the band at our hotel and they gave us free tickets!” It made their trip to Quebec City more than worthwhile. They were thrilled to have their programs signed by the singers after the show, and had their photo taken with them too.

OSQ violist Eline Brock said she thoroughly enjoyed working with the group’s bandleader, David Martin, and the Jeans ’n Classics musicians. She hopes the management of the OSQ will invite the group back more often.

Why? As keyboardist Don Paulton explains on the Jeans ’n Classics website, “It gets a whole new crowd and demographic in the seats to see your orchestra. It features the orchestra in the arrangements, including solos. Sponsors love the JnC shows because they feature cool classic pop/rock music played with an orchestra. And, the arrangements are well organized, ‘correct,’ 100 per cent legible, and don’t put the orchestra in a background secondary role to the band.”