Bridges album release in Trondheim

Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Viggo Bondi, Magne Furuholmen and Øystein Jevanord at the “Våkenatt” album launch in Trondheim yesterday

All four members of Bridges were at the Rockheim museum of popular Norwegian music in Trondheim yesterday, for the official release of their second album Våkenatt. Originally intended for release in 1981, as the follow-up to 1980’s Fakkeltog, the album is finally seeing the light of day this week, 37 years later.

The band members talked to the press and signed copies of the vinyl box set for fans who had pre-ordered it. An NRK TV news report from the event can be seen here (starts at 04:12).

“For me this is not just an historical document, but a new release. When I sat down to have a proper listen to the music again a couple of years ago, I was shocked by how good it sounded. We were an incredibly tight band, and this was music recorded live by four guys in a studio. We would often nail a song on the first or second take”, Paul told Aftenposten in an interview last week.

Mixing the album was done over a few days in Paul’s New York studio, and he wanted to keep things simple.

“I didn’t want the music to sound too modern, even if that would have been possible now. That’s why I came up with a dogma that only equipment invented and available pre-1981 could by used when doing the mix. That became my way of doing it. To make the album sound as good as possible, but not by cheating.”

 
When asked if there’s more to come from Bridges, Paul says:

“There are a few more songs [in the archives], but they didn’t fit in and would have been wrong to include on this album. Playing this material live again would have been cool, obviously, but it would be quite an undertaking to pull it off.”

“In any event, it feels really good and fitting to release it now. Many will view this as the story of an album being released 38 years later, but personally I’m just a really big fan of the album itself”, Paul told Aftenposten.

900 vinyl copies of the Våkenatt album have been pressed in total, of which 700 numbered copies are available for sale. The album can be ordered from Rockheim Musical Archives.

The album has already received in-depth reviews in English by Greg Lansdowne for The Electricity Club and by Christopher Hopkins for Campaign For More a-ha Remastered Deluxes.

Links:
NRK: Forgjengeren til A-ha ute med skjult album – 38 år etter at de laget det
Dagsavisen: Broen over til a-ha (paywall)
Aftenposten: Forløperen til A-ha slippes nå – etter 38 år (paywall)
Adresseavisen: – De prøvde å ta musikken vår til utlandet. Vi burde jo bare ha dytta etter (paywall)

a-ha in Hamar, 14 August

Hamar, 14 August 2018
(Picture by Jakob)

a-ha were back in Norway yesterday, to play in front of 10.000 people at the main square in Hamar – the first of four outdoor shows in their home country this week.

The setlist included the same 18 songs that have been played at almost every show on the summer tour, but the song order in the first half of the set had been shuffled around compared to last month.

The band was in fine form and there was a great energy coming from the crowd. Here’s a video clip of Minor Earth Major Sky live in Hamar.

Morten struggled with some sound issues and at one point told the FOH engineer that he couldn’t hear himself due to “strange frequencies” at the front. Magne jokingly suggested the whole audience could all move one metre to the side to correct the issue.

The tour continues in Trondheim tonight, with two festivals in Ålesund and Bodø to follow this weekend.

 
Hamar setlist:
1. Cry Wolf
2. The Blood That Moves The Body
3. The Weight of the Wind
4. Minor Earth Major Sky
5. Crying in the Rain
6. Foot of the Mountain
7. Analogue
8. Lifelines
9. Train of Thought
10. Stay on These Roads
11. Sycamore Leaves
12. Manhattan Skyline
13. Hunting High and Low
14. I’ve Been Losing You
15. The Sun Always Shines on TV
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
16. Scoundrel Days
17. The Living Daylights
18. Take on Me

Links:
Stangeavisa: a-ha fenget fansen

Electric Summer video playlist

Ra’anana Park Amphitheater in Tel Aviv on 21 June
(Screenshot from YouTube video by Yuval Erel)

The Electric Summer tour resumes tomorrow night, at the unique Dalhalla outdoor venue in Sweden, followed by Kongsberg Jazz Festival in Norway on Friday.

Here’s a collection of good quality YouTube-videos from the Electric Summer tour in June. Includes all 19 songs performed so far, taken from all of the eight cities visited, from Canterbury to Tel Aviv:

1. Cry Wolf – live in Tel Aviv
2. The Blood That Moves The Body – live in Canterbury
3. Minor Earth Major Sky – live in Doncaster
4. Lifelines – live in Yeovil
5. The Weight of the Wind – live in Blackpool
6. Crying in the Rain – live in Cork
7. Foot of the Mountain – live in Tel Aviv
8. Analogue – live in Blackpool
9. Train of Thought – live in Doncaster
10. Stay on These Roads – live in Tel Aviv
11a. This is Our Home – live in Yeovil
11b. Sycamore Leaves – live in Blackpool
12. Manhattan Skyline – live in Cork
13. Hunting High and Low – live in Tel Aviv
14. I’ve Been Losing You – live in Tel Aviv
15. The Sun Always Shines on TV – live in Darlington
16. Scoundrel Days – live in Blackpool
17. The Living Daylights – live in Cambridge
18. Take On Me – live in Darlington

There are also a few compilation videos worth checking out; from Cork and Tel Aviv.

Thanks to the uploaders.

Pre-order Bridges’ second album “Våkenatt”

“Våkenatt” album cover: Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Viggo Bondi, Øystein Jevanord and Magne Furuholmen.

The second Bridges album Våkenatt [Sleepless Night], originally recorded in December 1980 and January 1981, is finally being released for the first time on 15 August.

The newly-formed label Rockheim Musical Archives, run by the Rockheim national museum of popular music in Norway, will release the album as a limited edition green vinyl (180 gram), presented in a box with a 16-page booklet.

The 10-track album has been described as the missing link between Bridges and a-ha, and includes several songs that were later recorded by a-ha, such as “Soft Rains Of April”, “All The Planes That Come In On The Quiet” and “The Leap” (early version of “Scoundrel Days”).

The album can be pre-ordered from Rockheim Musical Archives for 649 kroner + shipping and handling.

Tracklist:
1. Fakkeltog
2. The Leap
3. Soft Rains Of April
4. Waterworks
5. All The Planes That Come In On The Quiet
6. Asleep
7. Superior
8. Faceless City
9. Need No Doctor
10. Wildfire

a-ha in Israel: “We’re here to connect with people”

a-ha interviewed by Walla News in Tel Aviv, 19 June 2018

After starting their Electric Summer tour with seven dates in the UK and Ireland, a-ha are now in Tel Aviv to prepare for tomorrow’s concert at the Ra’anana Park Amphitheater – their first ever show in Israel.

Yesterday they were interviewed in the studio of news website Walla. The 9-minute video interview is in English and can be seen at walla.co.il.

They also did a press conference at the Sheraton Hotel, from which a short video has been posted on YouTube.

There have been some protests from the BDS Movement against a-ha playing in Israel, urging the band to cancel the concert. But for the band, this was never an option.

“For us, we think the most positive thing we can do is go wherever, whenever and play to our fans. We’re not here to support or protest anything. We’re here to connect with people we’ve made music for, that has hopefully meant something to them. So for us it’s a very simple choice”, Magne told Walla News.

“We disagree with [the BDS’] way of doing things. If we were to boycott for reasons here, where do we stop? There are so many countries you would boycott in the end and I personally don’t believe it is right. It was not a difficult decision to come”, Morten added.

When asked if music can contribute to peace, Magne said:

“I think it can contribute to people talking together and people coming together. And I think that’s the primary function of music as a language, to bring people from different parts of the world together to celebrate that moment or that common bond.”

The setlists at the Electric Summer concerts so far seem to have been the same as the opening night in Canterbury – the only exception being “This is Our Home” being replaced by “Sycamore Leaves” since Cork.

Other links:
Jerusalem Post
Israel Hayom
10.tv

Electric Summer tour opens in Canterbury

The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury, 7 June 2018
(Photo by Sabrina Maria)

a-ha opened their Electric Summer Tour at The Spitfire Ground St Lawrence in Canterbury last night, the first of 31 concerts across twelve European contries this summer. They were joined by support acts Tom Bailey and OMD.

The 18-song setlist apparently included several new arrangements, of particular note “Minor Earth Major Sky” and “Train of Thought” both being played similarly to the early demo versions, and a more electric version of “This is Our Home”.

Additionally, “The Blood That Moves The Body”, “Minor Earth Major Sky”, “The Weight of the Wind” and “Train of Thought” were all performed live for the first time since 2010.

High-quality video clips of “The Blood That Moves The Body” and “The Weight of the Wind” have been posted on YouTube by Chris Fournier.

“You have to reinvent things. It has to feel fresh, so even the ones we always play, you try to give them a different spin or really bring it back to the way it was at the core. It changes with each song. We might have had a demo of one of the hits that we are fond of so we might play something like that”, Paul told The Northern Echo in an interview earlier this week.

The backing band was mostly the same as on the MTV Unplugged tour, only Lars Horntveth was missing. Production rehearsals took place at the LH2 Studios in London from 2 – 5 June.

 
Setlist:
1. Cry Wolf
2. The Blood That Moves The Body
3. Minor Earth Major Sky (demo version)
4. Lifelines
5. The Weight of the Wind
6. Crying in the Rain
7. Foot of the Mountain
8. Analogue
9. Train of Thought (demo version)
10. Stay on These Roads
11. This is Our Home
12. Manhattan Skyline
13. Hunting High and Low
14. I’ve Been Losing You
15. The Sun Always Shines on TV
16. Scoundrel Days
17. The Living Daylights
18. Take on Me

The tour continues at Huish Park in Yeovil on Saturday.

UK press:
Review: A-ha, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Thompson Twin’s Mark Bailey play Canterbury
7 things we learned from A-ha’s Magne ‘Mags’ Furuholmen ahead of their show at Huish Park in Yeovil
Fresh approach a hit for a-ha – Norwegian trio set for Darlington gig
A-ha: ‘It’s like any marriage, we share this fateful bond’
Audio: Magne interviewed on YO1 Radio

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