On Meeting Bjorn (or "I can almost die now..")

published on ABBAMAIL Feb 2001

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I'm afraid this might come across as one of those breathless rambling incoherent "Ohmigod I just met..." posts, I suppose because it is.

If you've read the subject line you already know the ending. Here is the beginning...

Having no clues, not even knowing if Benny & Bjorn (or Frida) were even in America let alone LA, I went down to the Shubert theatre this afternoon in Century City... an unusually cold day in LA, there was not a soul around... I walked around the entire building a few times, several layers up and down as well (it's in a complicated centre that also has an office building, restaurants, a movie theatre, etc..) and found nothing. Nobody hanging around. No limos. No autographers. No fans. Nothing. All this time carrying my 24" square mounted MM poster, feeling rather conspicuous and more than a little pathetic.

Ended up chatting up the guy at the box office, who was apparently quite bored and/or didn't feel threatened by me... After awhile he started asking me questions, and ended up telling me quite a bit. He said he had seen "one of them" there that afternoon wandering around. Said he looked like a regular business man, grey hair, etc - ie NOT a rock star.

I showed him my poster and told a bit of the story (Abba fan since age 12, never met them etc) and that I REALLY wanted to meet them. And how/ where/ when could I do that... He told me that "one of them" had been there but he didn't know where he was, and that both of the guys were supposed to be there on Monday. He also said that Monday would probably not be a good time to meet them, since it would be a big deal. Red carpet in front, limos, rock stars etc. He said he'd seen the list of who was coming but couldn't remember anyone except Alanis Morrisette and Peter Frampton. (hmmm).

They still had tickets for that evening's show, so I decided since I was there, why not. I still had a couple hours to wait before the curtain, though. Which I spent scanning everyone who walked by for the "one of them." No luck.

A young lady came up to me and said, "Are you a fan?". I chuckled, "what gave me away?" and held up the huge MM poster. She said, "no, it's the Abba records sticking out of your bag." :o) She (I wish I could remember her name, although she told me she isn't on ABBAMAIL) had been to see MM in San Francisco, and said B&B came out the artists entrance after the show. She also said that Bjorn (I think) had watched the show from the audience, scribbling notes throughout. She said that she had emailed Gorel who said that Frida was not going to be here, that the "one of them" the box office guy referred to would have been Bjorn. We (her and her boyfriend) waited until the last minute, but ended up going in just a few minutes before the lights went down. No Bjorn sightings.

I bought a program (reasonable at $10) and a MM keychain (overpriced at $10) and sat down to watch the show (amongst several hundred empty seats, surprisingly), entirely expecting to absolutely hate it. I didn't. It wasn't anywhere near as stupid as I thought it would be, in fact some of it was kind of funny, and certainly the whole thing was "fun". I didn't like the woman playing Donna (Louise Pitre)(plus I could hear her French Canadian accent, which most people probably wouldn't notice), Tina Maddigan playing Muriel... I mean Sophie (the main character) was great, though, and the main guy (Gary Lynch) was totally adorable. Lots of lithey flesh, and boys who aren't afraid to take their clothes off on stage. (hmmm)

I was actually surprised how well most of the songs wove into the story. Some of the segues were clunky, but funny, and seemed (hopefully) intentional. Like, the conversation is going along and she holds up her hand and says, "I don't wanna talk" (the first line from "The Winner Takes It All," at which point the whole audience breaks into laughter. Intentional? *shrug* It works. Some of the songs actually gained strength or meaning. I was impressed. The storyline ending was kind of predictable (I thought) but the last few songs, a sort of blatant mini faux ABBA concert, were totally joyous, and had the entire audience dancing in their seats.

It was quite entertaining, actually.

So afterwards, I went back to the artists entrance... the actors were coming out one by one and with friends and in groups. I had Tina sign my program, didn't see Gary, the only one I was really interested in (in more ways than one)(hubba hubba). There were only about four of us in the back, and no collectors, which was nice.

The guy beside me had four Abba dolls in boxes. He said he'd gotten them on eBay and paid hundreds of dollars each for them. I think he said the Benny and Bjorns were almost $500 each. *gasp* He had also brought a handful of B&B 45s in picture sleeves, none of which I had ever seen before, and one that he'd had B&B sign in San Francisco.

Tina said that she hadn't seen Bjorn backstage and that he'd probably left already. The four of us were quite defeated, but we kept waiting. Suddenly, there he was. Surrounded by about six people walking with him, towards us. The guy beside me (his name was Pepe) started shaking. (I started shaking). Bjorn stopped for us - well we had positioned ourselves between him/the door and the limo (actually it was a town car) so he didn't really have much choice.

But he was very friendly. I handed him my Singles LP which he signed right away, and my Greatest Hits Vol 2 cd booklet. The guy who was with him looked at the Singles LP and said how great it looked, so large and all. Then I asked Bjorn to sign my "Visitors" LP, saying it was my favorite, and "The Album" CD. Then he signed the stuff for the other guys, and I held up my mounted MM poster. he came over to me and singed that as well as the program. He didn't say anything.

I was shaking. I have met hundreds of famous people and rock stars, don't usually get too nervous (Debbie Harry made me nervous), but I was literally shaking as Bjorn passed us and got into his car, and sped away. Pepe, whose $500 Bjorn doll had just doubled in value, whispered to me, "I can *almost* die now." I knew exactly how he felt...

We fans were left in the teary haze and compared autographs, then went our separate ways, promising to see each other again on Monday night...

I posted two pictures I managed to snap of Bjorn, one he has his eyes closed but the other one turned out great. I also scanned my Singles LP in case anyone's interested. Still room for Benny to sign on Monday god willing. ;o)


Rod Reynolds
Los Angeles CA USA

©2001 The Art Dept LA

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