Wednesday night saw the return of Norway’s biggest musical export a-ha, as they finished up their European tour at Rockhal.
After 30 years together the twice-reunited band are back again with a new album “Cast In Steel” which sees them reinvigorated and focused once more. It’s been a while since posters of the band adorned the walls of teenage girl’s bedrooms but from the looks of things those young girls never lost faith in their Nordic pin ups, and as expected they made up the majority of the crowd.
As the lights dimmed and the band took to the stage the screams bellowed out through the venue, making me think what the Bieber’s & Styles of this world have to look forward to in 30 years time.
The crowd were primed for a nostalgia laden night and a-ha weren’t going to disappoint as they launched into “I’ve Been Loosing You” followed by “Cry Wolf” from their 86 album “Scoundrel Days”. The classic 80s synth sound that propelled them to stardom has made its own comeback over the last few years giving bands such as a-ha a new lease of life, which has in turn kept these songs as fresh now as they ever were.
Although it was the “Cast In Steel” tour there wasn’t a whole lot from the new album but what there was held up well to the old material from “She’s Humming a Tune” to a stripped back more intimate version of “Under the Makeup”.
The forever young looking lead singer Morten Harket looks to be a somewhat reluctant frontman, not moving much from the spot whilst delivering his withering high vocals, which some may say is enough. So it fell to Magne Furuholmen on keys to do most of the talking between songs as well as taking lead vocals on “Lifelines”, where Furuholmen encouraged the crowd to turn on the lights on their phones and raise them above their head. Gone are the days of the swaying lighters, although there were some pockets of the audiance persevering with the old faithful. Not to be outshone guitarist Pal Waaktaar-Savoy took on lead vocals on his own song “Velvet”.
After such forays into the spotlight it was time for Harket to return to a rousing applause and with now only the classics to come it was left to “Hunting High & Low” which soared into a wonderful sing-along conducted by Furulholmen before an encore of hits from “The Sun Always Shines on T.V” to the bond theme tune from “The Living Daylights”. After which they left the stage once again to return for what can only be described as the “Take On Me” encore. This left the crowd to walk home humming the iconic song of the MTV generation with some looking like giddy young teenagers once more.
Throughout the night there were more than a few moments where Harket’s vocals were lost behind the music but fortunately that music still sounded as good today as it did then, after all they’re selling nostalgia as much as anything and who can blame them, it’s a powerful tool.
27.04.16 – Rockhal