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

‘See The Beauty…’ enters album chart at #7

Savoy’s new and well-received album

See The Beauty In Your Drab Hometown has entered the Norwegian album chart at #7 in its first week, making it Savoy’s sixth top ten album in Norway. See the whole chart at vglista.no.

Here are the band’s previous first-week positions on the Norwegian album chart:

Mary Is Coming (1996): #1
Lackluster Me (1997): #12
Mountains Of Time (1999): #1
Reasons To Stay Indoors (2001): #8
Savoy (2004): #7
Savoy Songbook Vol. 1 (2007): #7

In other news, Paul and Lauren were guests on another radio show on 14 January, Søndagsåpent on NRK P1. The whole interview is in English, and available here.

Additional Norwegian album reviews have been posted by musikknyheter.no and arildronsen.no, while the first German review has appeared on bleistiftrocker.de.

Great reviews for Savoy album and concert

Paul and Frode at Parkteatret, 11 January
(Picture by Carlos Maciá)

The good reviews for See The Beauty In Your Drab Hometown have kept coming since the album release last Friday. Here are a few more from the Norwegian press:

Dagsavisen (5/6): “Paul Waaktaar-Savoy’s songs are more vital than in a long time and oozing of confidence.”

Aftenposten (5/6): “An album that demands some time, but offers a lot of good and timeless pop music.”

Klassekampen (5/6): “After more than 20 years Savoy are reaching new creative heights, while maintaining a down-to-earth playfulness.”

Morgenbladet: “The frustration and (passive-)agressiveness that was a part of the previous albums has been replaced with a likeable musical optimism.”

Hamar Arbeiderblad (4/6): “The band make a departure from their previously guitar-driven sound in favour of a shameless flirt with 80s electro-pop. And as long as the result is this good, there’s nothing to be ashamed about.”

Åsane Tidende (4/6): “Low-key pop with a soul.”

Bergens Tidende (3/6): “The album includes both the alternative pop-rock they’re known for, and a more surprising element: synthpop.”

Lauren at Parkteatret, 11 January
(Picture by Carlos Maciá)

There have also been some album reviews on blogs and fansites:

Campaign For More a-ha Remastered Deluxes: “This album contains a truly great collection of songs. At this stage in his career, nobody needed any further proof that Pål Waaktaar-Savoy is a genius but we can all be thankful that he has once again supplied us with some.”

Popklikk: “See The Beauty In Your Drab Hometown features so many melodious and utterly fine songs that I’ve almost become addicted.”

The Wilhelmsens (6/6): “Paul deserves credit for his lyrics. He has an excellent way of combining music and lyrics, which always puts the song at the center.”

Dave’s Place Music: “See The Beauty In Your Drab Hometown is an album that shines from various lights, sometimes glowing like a nocturnal sun, sometimes glimmering like a candle in plain daylight, as it is surely intended to do with such an album-title.”

The Savoy concert at Parkteatret last Thursday has also been getting good reviews:

Musikknyheter (8/10): “A strong release concert, featuring many old songs. (…) Waaktaar sings better than ever, and with great authority and confidence. In particular on “End of the Line” and “Rain”. As a guitarist he was also impressive throughout the concert. (…) Savoy appeared as a skilled live band.”

Norway Rock Magazine (4,5/6): “Despite low expectations, this turned out to be a very enjoyable evening with Savoy in front of a crowd of 3-400 people.”

There are some great photo galleries from the concert on Flickr, taken by Johannes Andersen and Carlos Maciá. And a selection of video clips have been posted on YouTube.

Lauren and Paul signing albums at Big Dipper, 13 January
(Picture by Carlos Maciá)

No additional Savoy concerts are scheduled at the moment, but hopefully there will be more:

“We’ll probably do a few more concerts eventually, and we’re hoping to do some festivals. Unfortunately we had to turn down an offer from Bergenfest, due to other commitments, but of course we’re hoping to do a concert in my hometown”, Frode Unneland said in an interview with Åsane Tidende yesterday.

“We have actually talked about doing a club tour, just the three of us. We recently rehearsed as a trio in New York. It’s tempting. Savoy is a project without any stress. There’s no outside pressure to sell a lot of tickets. So there’s a great atmosphere when we’re working together”, Frode told Bergens Tidende in another interview last Friday (paywall).

Even though Savoy has only recorded one of Frode’s songs (which remains unreleased), he still feels that he’s actively contributing to the creative process:

“Savoy is basically our joint rock project. We all sing as well. The vocal work is very important to the band – and I think many struggle to hear the difference between Paul and myself.”

Frode also mentions that he’s been working on a new solo project, with 15 songs ready.

On Saturday Paul and Lauren signed copies of the new album at Big Dipper record store in Oslo. A lot of fans showed up, and the album was sold out within minutes after the signing started.

The album will be released in Germany tomorrow, 19 January, and the CD and vinyl can be ordered from amazon.de. In the UK the album will be out on 9 February and amazon.co.uk has the CD and vinyl available for pre-order.

Savoy at Parkteatret

Savoy and Zoe Gnecco performing “Velvet”
(Picture by Jakob)

Savoy played their first concert in nearly ten years at Parkteatret in Oslo tonight, to celebrate tomorrow’s release of See The Beauty In Your Drab Hometown.

Paul

The 18-song setlist featured songs from all of their albums, including four songs from the new album.

Paul, Lauren and Frode were joined by Linn Frøkedal on keyboards and Chris Holm on bass.

Lauren

Special guest Zoe Gnecco had flown in from New York for the show, and joined them on stage for a few songs from the World of Trouble album, plus a Waaktaar & Zoe version of “Under The Makeup” with slightly different lyrics. She also did the female vocals on “Velvet”.

Frode

Here’s the full setlist:

1. Tears From a Stone
2. I Still Cry
3. Manmade Lake
4. January Thaw
5. Girl One
6. End of the Line
7. Whalebone
8. Night Watch
9. Rain
10. Fearlist
11. Sycamore Leaves
12. Beautiful Burnout (w/ Zoe Gnecco)
13. World of Trouble (w/ Zoe Gnecco)
14. Under The Makeup (w/ Zoe Gnecco)
15. Daylight’s Wasting
16. Star
17. Velvet (w/ Zoe Gnecco)
18. Falls Park

The fansite a-ha France has posted a 45-minute video clip from the concert on Facebook, which can be seen here.

Some selected live pictures from Instagram:
Picture 1    Picture 2     Picture 3    Picture 4    Picture 5    Picture 6

Paul and Lauren on NRK radio

Picture by Spillerom on Instagram

Paul and Lauren visited NRK’s radio studios in Oslo yesterday, to promote the new Savoy album.

First up was Nitimen on NRK P1. The full interview, which is mostly in English, can be heard here.

They were also guests on Spillerom on NRK P2, which included the radio premiere of the song “Bump”. Hear the interview here.

More pictures from the interviews have been posted by Drabant Music on Instagram.

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