Music and Opera reporting on is made possible by The University of North Texas College of Music.
Select the link below to discover more.

Review: Concerts in the Garden: ABBACADABRA | Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra | Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Light and Breezy

The ABBA tribute band ABBACADABRA caught the groove at Fort Worth Symphony's Concerts in the Garden.

published Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Photo: Courtesy



Fort Worth — The mood was upbeat, the temperatures were in the mid 80s, and the music was from the late ’70s. Swedish disco group ABBA had several catchy hits that bounced the global airwaves four decades ago and Sunday evening they landed in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden courtesy of tribute band ABBACADABRA. The tight Vegas-like act delivered the nostalgic danceable hooks with all the original fun.

The audience, who unbegrudgingly flopped out the letters to “Y.M.C.A.” during the preshow music, came to have a good time. They politely nodded to each four-on-the-floor drum pulse as the flashy band took stage. Our Fort Worth Symphony had the well-earned night off but a rocking octet held ground. Four leads fronted the concert with Scandinavian accents as the once-married duos. Executive producer Gary Raffanelli played the part of Benny from the piano as Leslie Green sang the part of his ex-wife Frida. Susan Campbell sang the part of Agnetha as Rich Hamelin played electric guitar and the role of her ex, Bjorn.

All the hits were there: “Take a Chance on Me,” “The Winner Takes It All,” “Fernando” and of course the title track to the musical/movie “Mamma Mia” (take note for later) — each gradually warming up the crowd as the evening got cooler. The deeper cuts (“Money, Money, Money,” “Does Your Mother Know,” “Chiquitita,” and “Voulez-Vous”) though less familiar kept deepening every grin by the band’s remarkable execution. As a genre, disco is multilayered and these well-rehearsed musicians nailed every lead line and counter harmony. Comfortably practiced as the choreography, jokes, costume changes and faux-tension banter between the once love, now just song, birds. Never distracting from the source material, their polished mirror-ball-production highlighted ABBA’s talent as song writers and vocalists. They knew how to work a crowd and work it did.

… We were somewhere around the second set, on the edge of the encore, when the chardonnay began to take hold…

After Raffanelli/Benny introduced the band (honorable mention to multi-instrumentalist Steve Sand who played synthesizer, guitar, trumpet, timpani, marimba and sang back up) he teased that there were no more hits to play. The collective AAWWWW spurred him to ask, “What do you want to hear?” DANCING QUEEN! “It sounds like they’re saying, ‘Play some Queen’” which launched the operettic section of “Bohemian Rhapsody” complete with “mamma Mia, mamma mia” (get it?). The top-shelf schtick transition to the chorus of ABBA’s biggest hit got the loudest roar from many dancing Sunday night queens who were by then having the time of their lives.

Your Tarrant County go-to for fireworks caps each show for only a few more nights so catch it while you can.



Lawn tickets are $25. Children ages 10 and younger are admitted free on the lawn with a ticket if accompanied by an adult. Table seats are $37-67. Children ages 10 and younger receive half-price tickets in select table section. Festival passes are available to FWSO subscribers and donors. Purchase tickets online at or by calling the FWSO ticket office at 817-655-6000. 


Remaining Concerts in the Garden events:


Wednesday – Thursday, July 3-4 | Old-Fashioned Family Fireworks Picnic

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor

Corrie Donovan, soprano

Mark your calendar for another round of the best fireworks in town. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra honors our Independence Day with a brilliant display of musical patriotism. Pack a picnic, bring the whole family, and join our annual all-American July 4th celebration at the Old-Fashioned Family Fireworks Picnic.


Friday – Sunday, July 5-7 | Star Wars & Beyond: A Sci-Fi Laser Light Spectacular

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor

The force is strong in Fort Worth! And this year we will close out the 2019 Concerts In The Garden summer music festival with three performances of Star Wars & Beyond: A Sci-Fi Laser Light Spectacular led by Miguel Harth-Bedoya in his final CITG appearances! On the first half, behold favorite melodies from the realm of Sci-Fi films and television. Then after the sun sets, fire up your light saber and enjoy some out-of-this-world music from the Star Wars franchise, enhanced by a stunning laser light show. Thanks For Reading

Click or Swipe to close
Light and Breezy
The ABBA tribute band ABBACADABRA caught the groove at Fort Worth Symphony's Concerts in the Garden.
by Rob Laney

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :