There's no end to the lengths I'll go to
Hunting high and low
I believe in God… The God of photographers, because wonders happen, wonders for photographers ;) And sometimes, once in a blue moon, even two wonders happen… And that’s exactly the reason, why on this ultra-brutal metal magazine now a live story of the Cast In Steel (sic!) tour of Norwegian Pop/Rock Gods A-HA appears.
Ha! Founded back in 1982, A-HA disbanded 25 years after their breakthrough hit Take On Me and millionfold sold records. In 2015 A-HA announced their reunion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut album, Hunting High And Low, and released a new record, entitled Cast In Steel. A half year later they embarked on an extensive European tour in support of their new effort.
As a typical child of the 80s I not only listened to Metal but also to Pop and Wave stuff. I meanwhile have seen (and mostly photographed) all the metal bands I wanted to see and now started to do the same with some 80s heroes. Last September I was stoked when A-HA announced their tour dates and sent out a shyly request, never ever expecting that I really would get accredited for such kind of show and forgot about it shortly after. So it came by a huge surprise when two days prior the show the confirmation for both, show and photo, arrived my mailbox. Left me giddy with pleasure and grinning like a Cheshire cat ;)
And here we go. Me and approx. 7000 other fans went on a pilgrimage to the :: König-Pilsener-Arena :: in Oberhausen, Germany, ready to enjoy an incredible concert evening. And, as if it wouldn’t be already enough, photographers were sent to the photo pit, instead of FOH as announced before. Couldn’t stop grinning… you know, Cheshire cat and stuff ;)
:: Pics :: MARCEL BRELL ::
Before we could drool over Morten Harket, Mr. :: MARCEL BRELL :: entered the stage, a German singer-songwriter and producer, who supported all German A-HA dates. At first I thought he would one of those excruciating music casting show contestants. But… not at all! MARCEL BRELL went through a classic musical education, made a living as a producer first; before he started writing and performing own songs. In 2014 he eventually released his debut, Alles gut, solang man tut. Fresh and cheerful German Pop I’d say, He got accompanied by Alex Höffken on drums and Georg Kostron on bass. For MARCEL BRELL it was probably the chance of his life to support A-HA on this tour and to present himself a huge audience. It was worth it. At least in Oberhausen MARCEL BRELL received much response and gained new fans.
Setlist: Intro, Kaputt, Weggehen um anzukommen, Das Entscheiden, Nur den Augenblick, Sein wie Du, Sprechendes Tier
:: Pics :: A-HA ::
Nevertheless, everybody wants to see one band only :: A-HA ::. Me too. I’m totally psyched, can’t wait and then… then the lights went out and the intro set in. First, the live musicians appeared on stage, followed by A-HA itself and the crowd started screaming, while the band kicked off marvelously with I’ve Been Losing You and Cry Wolf.
Wooaahhh! That’s crazy! How to stand still and take photos? It’s cruel… ;)
The gentlemen Morten Harket, Pål Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen meanwhile look their age but were still in good shape. I mean, I’m not 16 anymore either, right? But especially singer Morten Harket still looks awesome, really handsome to be honest and all the ladies in the hall agreed with me ;) Also his voice and vocal performance was nothing to nag about in any way. No matter if he sang high or low, whispered or sang with much power, his voice was awesome, he didn’t fail in any way. Everything was perfect!
After the recent and uproar causing interview with Swiss Blick magazine everybody kept an eye on the band during the show. There was already to read about a certain distance between the musicians. Well, I can’t form an opinion about that. This was my very first A-HA show and will probably be the only one, as Morten said: “Cast In Steel was announced as a ‘one album, one tour’ project… That doesn’t mean that there cannot be other projects, but nothing is planned at the moment.".
Maybe, A-HA heard about the critics and tried to change the image of their stage performance. However, I experienced a band that was lively, communicating and interacting, mostly with the crowd, of course, not so much among each other. I anyway didn’t sense animosity.
Yes, announcements came from keyboard player Magne. Singer Morten instead flirted with the audience whipping up emotions.
I was on cloud nine singing and dancing, while A-HA offered a retrospective of the entire history. Crying In The Rain was performed as a duet with the wonderful Annelie Drecker, who is the band’s background singer for quite some time, but also sang the track Here I Stand And Face The Rain all alone. The most emotional song for me an my personal highlight of the evening was Hunting High And Low, which heralded the end of the show.
Of course, an encore followed. First three songs and then the final finale with THE A-HA song of all times: Take On Me.
Overwhelmingly happy that I could have been there I toddled off, still grinning like Cheshire cat and I know that will last for at least one week ;) If this tour is really the end of the story, as Morten Harket said, nobody knows. The other two members already relativized his statement. I don’t care anyway. I finally have seen A-HA playing live and was allowed to photograph them. So what more I could long for? Except for the next 80s hero on my list… ;)
Setlist: I’ve Been Losing You, Cry Wolf, Move To Memphis, Stay On These Roads, The Swing Of Things, Cast In Steel, Crying In The Rain, Mother Nature Goes To Heaven, We’re Looking For The Whales, Velvet, Lifelines, Here I Stand And Face The Rain, Scoundrel Days, Sycamore Leaves, Foot Of The Mountain, She’s Humming A Tune, Hunting High And Low // The Sun Always Shines On TV, Under The Makeup, The Living Daylights // Take On Me