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Global Series

Global Series postcard: ABBA Museum

NHL.com Senior Writer Dan Rosen can't resist visiting tribute to Sweden's greatest pop band

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

STOCKHOLM -- It felt like ABBA: The Museum was calling to me all week, almost saying, "Take a Chance on Me."

Ouch, that was bad. Sorry. Had to do it.

But, seriously, the museum, located near the Grona Lund theme park on the island of Djurgarden, filled with interactive exhibits of Sweden's greatest pop band, one of the all-time greatest pop bands, for some reason felt like a must-see attraction for me this week.

I'm not a big ABBA fan, though I do like some of their catchy music. But it was worth every one of the 270 krona ($33.95 U.S.) it took for me to buy a ticket, pick up an audio guide and get inside.

The trip started in the lobby of the Stockholm Sheraton, home this week for the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series. That's where I met with NHL.com International's Matt Cubeta. We walked through Gamla Stan, old town Stockholm, to get the ferry to Djugarden.

Since it was in the afternoon and we hadn't eaten lunch, we found a place to get a couple of slices of pizza. I'm a New York pizza snob, but this was good stuff.

Onto the ferry, two stops to Grona Lund, off the boat, up the block, quick left and there it was, ABBA: The Museum, with a sign in the window that read, "Walk in, Dance out."

No joke; we could have, had we not feared embarrassment.

ABBA songs played throughout the museum, from "Dancing Queen" to "Mamma Mia" to "SOS." It would have been easy to get caught up in it all if I was alone and knew I was never going to see any of those people again.

Cubeta was there. I couldn't risk the threat of constant chirping and incriminating photos.

The museum was spectacular from start to finish, filled with terrific artifacts, the colorful costumes worn by the band members, gold records, bios and pictures, replicas of the Polar Studio where ABBA recorded and the office used by Stig Anderson, who managed the band and co-wrote some of its most famous hits.

The best, though, was the interactive virtual reality exhibit called "The 5th Member," where you could go on stage and pretend you were dancing with the band.

The woman running the "The 5th Member" exhibit asked if I wanted to go on stage and dance to "Dancing Queen." I told her I didn't have the guts to do it. She laughed. I wasn't lying. We did watch some other people go on stage and pretend they were on stage, performing in between Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Bjorn Ulvaeus.

The first part of the museum is a history of Eurovision, an annual competition organized by the European Broadcasting Union. ABBA's flight to fame began in 1974, when it won the Eurovision Best Song contest for "Waterloo."

We went through the exhibit and down a flight of stairs, turned a corner and wound up in a dark room that had lights flickering. A history of ABBA video started to play on the three connected curved screens. I'm not a big fan, but I was entranced. A woman next to me was dancing. A lot.

Out of there, a quick turn and, bam -- the big ABBA sign in bright neon lights was right in front of us. It opened into what was a history of the band members pre-ABBA, their bios, where they came from, pictures before they were famous and how they got together to form ABBA.

Exhibits featuring old cars they used to tour in and live in followed by a replica of the exact studio where ABBA recorded, complete with three organs, seven guitars, three basses, drums, bongos, a saxophone and more. Behind that were voice recording booths, just like the ones used by Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog, who represent the "A's" in ABBA.

In one exhibit was the Toronto Maple Leafs jersey that keyboardist and singer Benny Andersson wore during a concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. Yes, the Maple Leafs are represented in ABBA: The Museum.

I sat in the actual helicopter from the picture on the sleeve of ABBA's "The Arrival" album.

I tried to take pictures throughout and attempted here to put it all into words, but regardless if you're an ABBA fan, this museum is something you've just got to experience if you're lucky enough to be a tourist in Stockholm.

Take a chance on it.

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