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
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

Savoy: New podcast and magazine interviews

From the latest issues of Musikkpraksis and Norway Rock Magazine

Paul is the main guest in the latest episode of Norwegian guitar podcast “Kan du skru ned litt” [“Can you please turn it down a little?”], hosted by El Cuero guitarist Øyvind Blomstrøm. During the hour-long conversation, which was recorded in Oslo in early January, they talk in detail about Paul’s studio and live setups from the early days until today.

The podcast episode is available at acast.com, or in your preferred podcast app.

The magazine Musikkpraksis has an 8-page interview with Paul and Lauren in its latest issue (#1/2018), where the two of them talk about each track on the new Savoy album. There is also a 2-page interview with Paul in the current issue (#1/2018) of Norway Rock Magazine.

Both magazines are available in selected Narvesen stores across Norway.

MTV Unplugged Tour update

Oslo Spektrum, 10 February 2018
(All pictures by Jakob)

a-ha’s MTV Unplugged Tour ended at London’s O2 Arena last Wednesday, 14 February. The 21-song setlist included the only tour performance of “The Killing Moon”, featuring special guest Ian McCulloch, making it the longest concert of the tour. McCulloch also joined the band on “Scoundrel Days”, like he did on the Summer Solstice album last year.

Oslo Spektrum, 10 February

Oslo Spektrum, 10 February

Oslo Spektrum, 10 February

The previous Friday, 9 February, they were joined on stage at Oslo Spektrum by special guest Susanne Sundfør, who sang with Morten on “I’ve Been Losing You” and “The Sun Always Shines on TV”. Since winning one of the a-ha talent grants in 2010, Sundfør has gone on to become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed performers in Norway.

While on tour with a-ha in Germany, Paul and Lauren took the opportunity to do some promotion for the new Savoy album. The interviews included Mucke und Mehr, Focus.de, bleistiftrocker.de and a video interview with Buch und Ton.

There was also a book launch of the German edition of “Tears From a Stone” at the Norwegian embassy in Berlin on 29 January, where Paul was joined by author Ørjan Nilsson. Together they were interviewed by the German edition of Rolling Stone magazine. While in Berlin, Paul also did a new interview with Richard Green for BBC Radio Devon, which was broadcast on 10 February and can be heard here.

Speaking of Berlin, an additional German concert on the Electric Summer tour was recently announced; it will be held at the Zitadelle Spandau in Berlin on 21 August. Tickets for the concert are available at eventim.de.

London setlist, 14 February:
1. This is Our Home
2. Lifelines
3. I’ve Been Losing You
4. This Alone is Love
5. Forever Not Yours
6. Analogue
7. Manhattan Skyline
8. Foot of the Mountain
9. Stay On These Roads
10. A Break in the Clouds
11. Memorial Beach
12. Over the Treetops
13. Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale
14. The Killing Moon
15. Scoundrel Days
16. Summer Moved On
17. Hunting High and Low
18. The Sun Always Shines on TV
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
19. Sox of the Fox
20. The Living Daylights
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
21. Take On Me

MTV Unplugged tour opens in Stuttgart

Stuttgart, 23 January 2018
(Picture by Carolyn Londer-Ward)

a-ha opened their 13-date MTV Unplugged Tour 2018 at the Schleyerhalle in Stuttgart, Germany last night, for an audience of around 6000 people.

The setlist was the same as the concert at Giske last summer – apart from not playing the cover version of “The Killing Moon” and a different song order.

Aftenposten’s music journalist Robert Hoftun Gjestad attended the concert in Stuttgart and gives it a 5/6 review, saying that “this was a-ha at its finest”.

“Impressively, for the most part it turned out to be equally touching and musically warm inside the concrete hall in Stuttgart as it was in the far smaller venue at Giske where the live album was recorded”, Hoftun Gjestad writes.

The stage design is among the most stylish setups a-ha have used to date, utilising two large, curved screens; one behind the band and one above the stage. Live video of the band is combined with animations and footage from Norwegian nature, including Morten Skallerud’s short-film Året Gjennom Børfjord from 1991, which was used in a-ha’s “Lifelines” music video.

Fan pictures and videos have been fewer than normal for an opening night of a new tour, but this may have to do with an announcement that was made before the show discouraging photography and video. Apparently people who were taking photos/videos with their phones were asked not to by the ushers, one fan said.

The merchandise stand seems to offer four new MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice T-shirt designs with tour dates on the back, plus a hoodie/jacket. The new Savoy album on vinyl is also available.

Stuttgart setlist:

1. This is Our Home
2. Lifelines
3. I’ve Been Losing You
4. This Alone is Love
5. Forever Not Yours
6. Analogue
7. Manhattan Skyline
8. Foot of the Mountain
9. Stay On These Roads
10. A Break in the Clouds
11. Sox of the Fox
12. Memorial Beach
13. Over the Treetops
14. Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale
15. Scoundrel Days
16. Summer Moved On
17. The Living Daylights
18. Hunting High and Low
19. The Sun Always Shines on TV
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
20. Take On Me

German reviews:
a-ha liefern Akustikpop mit Charme
Von Oho bis naja

(Thanks to Sain Alizada)

Summer concert announced for Copenhagen

a-ha will bring their Electric Summer Tour to Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park on Friday, 27 July. This will be the first a-ha concert in Denmark since 2004, when they played at the Rock Under Broen Festival in Middelfart.

It is also the 30th concert to be announced on the Electric Summer Tour so far.

Paying visitors to Tivoli Gardens will have free entrance to the concert, but Inner Circle tickets near the stage will cost extra. The Inner Circle tickets go on sale for season card holders on Thursday 25 January, and for everyone else on Friday 26 January via billettlugen.dk.

Press articles:
GOD NYHED: Legendariske a-ha giver sommerkoncert i Tivoli
Den norske poptrio A-ha optræder i Tivoli til sommer
A-ha tilbage på dansk jord: Indtager Tivoli
Norske koryfæer tilbage efter 15 år: a-ha kommer til København

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