Apparatjik’s “Day of the Dead” in Bergen

Apparatjik in Bergen, with striking visuals by Void (Picture by Thor Brødreskift)

Apparatjik in Bergen, with striking visuals by Void
(Picture by Thor Brødreskift)

Apparatjik presented a unique and captivating “Day of the Dead” performance at Grieghallen in Bergen on Friday, June 3rd, as part of Festspillene i Bergen (Bergen International Festival).

Magne Furuholmen, Martin Terefe and Jonas Bjerre were joined on stage by Spanish singer Concha Buika, a string quartet, plus Karl Oluf Wennerberg on drums and Even Ormestad on bass – all of them in appropriate face paint.

Songs played included “Deadbeat”, “Quiz Show”, “Look Kids”, “Arrow and Bow”, “Snow Crystals”, some new songs and songs by Buika in Spanish. Among the highlights was a Spanish version of Magne’s “In a Quiet Corner” – here is a little sample of it:

 
Buika’s intense presence and vocal delivery really took the show to another level, enhanced by the four solid musicians on string instruments.

The scenography by Void was amazing, with projections onto layers of see-through fabric on stage creating a stunning 3D-effect. Whereas the visuals Void created for a-ha’s “Afterglow” concert didn’t live up to the expectations, this time it really worked wonderfully.

Near the end of the show, Magne strapped on his electric guitar and rocked out with Karl Oluf and Even – listen here:

 
Although the Julia Pastrana story was merely hinted at, this was a spectacular, bizarre, funny, innovative and moving performance which will probably never be seen again in this form.

“Normally, a production like this would have been set up as a tour to try and make money on it. But we’d rather spend all the money and then some, to make it as cool as possible for one single night”, Magne told Bergensavisen.

Watch a short video clip from “Day of the Dead” on the Facebook page of Festspillene i Bergen. There’s also a photo gallery.

Earlier in the day, Magne, Martin and Jonas took a stroll around Bergen in full Apparatjik costume, together with Buika, inviting people to the concert. Bergensavisen has pictures from this and an interview with Magne. There’s also a video clip by Festspillene on Facebook.

Bergens Tidende had an interview with Buika on Friday (subscribers only), where she talked about her work with Apparatjik.

“I love this collaboration. The guys are crazy. This is one of the most incredible things I’ve done in recent years”, she says.

Buika, who first performed with Apparatjik at the opening of Fosnavåg Kulturhus in October 2014, got involved with the guys through Martin Terefe who produced her latest album.

“Martin asked me. And then Magne called. We met, and there was an instant chemistry. Magne is a maestro, a master. He is full of ideas and is able to change direction in seconds. That’s how I love to work.”

Morten records song for Bendik Hofseth tribute album

The 'IX' box set

The ‘IX’ box set

Morten is one of the artists who have contributed to a new 25th anniversary box set of Bendik Hofseth‘s 1991 album ‘IX’.

Bendik Hofseth is an acclaimed saxophone player, who has played in Mike Mainieri’s jazz fusion group Steps Ahead and appeared on more than 100 albums in Norway and abroad. He has also released 10 solo albums. In 1995 Hofseth played saxophone on Morten’s album ‘Wild Seed’.

In addition to the original album remastered, the 3CD/1DVD ‘IX’ box set will also include a tribute CD with the whole album reinterpreted by Norwegian artists, among them Nils Petter Molvær, Silje Nergaard, Knut Reiersrud and Jarle Bernhoft.

Morten’s track is called “The Boy From Port Manteau”, and is a collaboration with saxophone player Håkon Kornstad and Norwegian producer Peder Kjellsby.

A sample of the track can be heard on Soundcloud.

This is the first time Morten has participated on a tribute album.

The exclusive box set, which will only be available as 500 numbered copies, can now be pre-ordered from newjelly.com. If you’re outside Norway, choose the €75 option which includes worldwide shipping.

Cast In Steel tour finale in Bergen

The final concert of the Cast In Steel tour ended with fireworks

The final concert of the Cast In Steel tour ended with fireworks
(Picture by Jakob)

a-ha ended their Cast In Steel tour in Bergen on Saturday, 7 May, with an outdoor concert in front of 16,000 people at Bergenhus Festning.

The organizers took a risk when deciding to have the concert outdoors so early in the season, in a city known for getting a lot of rain, but luckily the weather turned out to be warm and sunny – something Magne joked about when he spoke to the crowd:

“Hello Bergen! This is fantastic. Welcome to the final a-ha concert……on this tour. Very nice to be invited here. And for all you who don’t speak Norwegian, who have travelled to this beautiful city; I just want to tell you that this is absolutely an ordinary spring day in Bergen. This is what it’s like all the time. You can come whenever and it will be like this. It’s a beautiful place and you need to come here more often.”

The band put on an energetic performance for an appreciative audience, making this concert a worthy ending of the Cast In Steel tour. After “Take On Me”, the night was topped off with a big display of fireworks above the stage.

The 21-song setlist was the same as it had been at every concert since early April:

1. I’ve Been Losing You
2. Cry Wolf
3. Move to Memphis
4. Stay on These Roads
5. The Swing of Things
6. Cast in Steel
7. Crying in the Rain (Morten/Anneli)
8. Mother Nature Goes to Heaven
9. We’re Looking for the Whales
10. Velvet (Paul)
11. Lifelines (Magne)
12. Here I Stand and Face the Rain (Anneli/Morten)
13. Scoundrel Days
14. Sycamore Leaves
15. She’s Humming a Tune
16. Foot of the Mountain
17. Hunting High and Low
——————
18. The Sun Always Shines on TV
19. Under the Makeup
20. The Living Daylights
——————
21. Take on Me

Paul to release “World of Trouble” album

Aftenposten has published an extensive interview with Paul today (subscribers only), which was done in Munich earlier this month.

Oberhausen, 20 April (From a YouTube video by Patricia Seders)

Oberhausen, 20 April
(From a YouTube video by Patricia Seders)

A few translated quotes:

“We’re not stopping now. This isn’t a farewell tour.”

– Yeah, as you already did the farewell tour last time?

“Yes, this tour is to promote the [Cast in Steel] album. We’ll probably be back for more craziness at some point.”

– How important is a-ha for you today?

“When in the middle of it, nothing is more important. There’s nothing in my life that hasn’t happened because of a-ha.”

– Will it be sad to walk off stage after the last concert?

“Not at all – it will be great. I can’t wait for people to hear the music I’ve made over the last few years. First up is ‘World of Trouble’, an album I’ve made with Zoë Gnecco from New Jersey. Her voice gives me goose bumps.”

– What about a-ha makes you the most proud?

“The fact that we’re still rockin’! That’s perhaps because we’ve never been super satisfied with things we’ve done. We don’t sit and pat each other on the back, thinking we’ve done something fantastic. I feel like an underachiever in everything I do.”

a-ha at the Radio Regenbogen Awards

Receiving the award

Receiving the award

a-ha attended the annual Radio Regenbogen Awards in Rust, Germany last night, to be presented with the “Comeback of the Year”-award. They were joined at their table by Magne’s oldest son Thomas Vincent. Two other Norwegian acts, Madcon and Nico & Vinz, also received awards and performed.

Magne: “Thank you for this award. Everytime we do a comeback we get an award, that’s why we keep going away. [The audience laughs and claps]. I don’t know if you’re clapping because we go away or we come back. But thank you for this. And it’s really nice to see Norwegian colleagues in the room, here in Germany. Thank you for being generous towards the music from Madcon and Nico & Vinz. So a big thank you to Radio Regenbogen und vielen dank für den Norwegischen abend.”

Performing "Cast In Steel"

Performing “Cast In Steel”

They also performed two songs; “Foot Of The Mountain” and “Cast In Steel” (Steve Osborne version). They were joined by the backing band and Anneli on stage, even though it was only playback.

A video clip of a-ha receiving the award and performing can be seen on YouTube.

Pictures: Picture 1    Picture 2    Picture 3

The Cast In Steel Tour continues in Mannheim today and Frankfurt tomorrow.

Magne promises a real celebration in Bergen

Picture by Nicole Mikolai

Picture by Nicole Mikolai

Bergens Tidende has an interview with Magne today, where he talks about the upcoming concert in Bergen on May 7th, which he promises will be special.

“We want to make the last concert in Bergen a real celebration. We’re planning to invite an international “mystery”-artist that people will have heard of, and we’ll also include a local hero as support act. There’s so much happening in Bergen, so we would like to find an artist that we haven’t used as support before. After Bergen there are no plans for a-ha, so this is an opportunity to really make our mark”, Magne says on the phone from Hamburg.

The “local hero” that Magne is referring to is 19-year-old singer-songwriter dePresno, while the international “mystery”-artist is yet to be announced.

“According to our own management, we’ve sold 30 percent more tickets on this tour than we did on the proper Farewell Tour in 2010. The fact that we’re able to fill the O2 in London, playing to 17,000 Englishmen, is a reminder that people still appreciate us. It’s obvious that a-ha need to disband more often.”

Picture by Nicole Mikolai

Picture by Nicole Mikolai

“Playing to full venues gives you an energy boost. There have been periods where we only played to half-full venues. That’s much sadder. But in this business you never know in advance how the turnout will be.”

On the setlist being static:

“I don’t feel that it is. It’s hard to avoid playing the biggest hits, but on the current tour we’re playing songs that we’ve never or barely played before. We have also cut “Summer Moved On” and “Manhattan Skyline”, to mention two of the more well-known songs. I feel the current setlist is significantly darker than in 2010. We have to find the right balance. A song will improve when performed often, but we should also be careful not to fall asleep at the wheel.”

On his and Paul’s solo section:

“That was a conscious decision. On this tour we’re doing more than 50 shows. We felt that Morten’s voice needed to withstand the strain, so halfway through the show Paul sings “Velvet” and I sing “Lifelines”. That way Morten gets to rest his voice.”

On the Blick interview:

“Even on a good day Morten is very unpredictable in interview settings. That interview came out wrong. Because nothing has changed. We’re touring until Bergen, then it’s over. We have no musical plans together after that. But we will never say never again.”

Around 15,000 tickets have been sold for the Bergen concert on May 7th so far, although the Bergenhus Festning outdoor venue has a capacity of 22,000. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.no.

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