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.

VG interview: a-ha are open for more

Munich, April 6th (Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

Munich, April 6th
(Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

VG has published a new interview with a-ha today, which was done after the concert in Berlin on Wednesday.

Asked about last week’s much debated Blick-interview, Morten says the comment about a-ha being a finished chapter was taken completely out of context:

“I don’t mean what’s written in there at all. I’m on tour with the band, having a great time and thinking that we should really be grateful that we get to experience this. Why would I have kept going together with the other two if it wasn’t meaningful to me? It’s been 30 years since we started and the fact that we still get to do it is not something you can take for granted”, Morten tells VG backstage in Berlin.

Magne describes the controversy surrounding the Blick-interview as a “storm in a teacup”, but he also feels it was necessary to set things straight with an official statement:

“That was mostly directed at the fans, as we don’t want them to believe that we don’t appreciate them. Because we do. It’s an incredible privilege to be able to embark on a tour and get such a fantastic reception, after 30 years. We may have taken this for granted in the past, but when you’ve been away from it for a while you’re more humbled by it”, Magne says.

Munich, April 6th (Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

Munich, April 6th
(Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

After the tour ends in Bergen on May 7th, Magne will be busy finishing his sculpture park at Fornebuporten, which should be ready by June 9th, Paul will release the new Savoy album, while Morten will take a long holiday.

Manager Harald Wiik says Morten may release new music and do solo concerts in 2017, although there are no specific plans at the moment. There are also some non-music related projects in the works.

Munich, April 6th (Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

Munich, April 6th
(Picture by Nicole Mikolai)

All three of them are open to the idea of more a-ha at some point down the line:

Morten: “That’s open for speculation, of course. When you’ve been working with music almost non-stop since the late 70s, the likelihood of it continuing is greater than the opposite.”

Magne: “I said I wasn’t open for anything five years ago, and I have been proven wrong. I haven’t thought of this as a farewell tour, as we’ve already done that. After this tour ends we don’t have any plans. So that leaves an open book. But we’re constantly getting lots of new requests and offers. Sometimes it’s easy to say no, while other times it’s very difficult.”

Paul: “One thing you can be sure of; if we get excited about a new song, we’re back in business. Regardless of what may have been said before.”

a-ha.com issues clarifying statement

The recent interview with Morten on Swiss news site Blick, in which he supposedly said that “a-ha is a finished chapter” for him and that next month’s tour finale in Bergen “will probably be the definitive end” of a-ha, has caused much debate within the fan community.

After the interview also reached the Norwegian press yesterday, a-ha’s management was forced to do some damage control and has issued a clarifying statement on a-ha.com today:

We are sorry that the interview published on Sunday April 10 in Blick has caused confusion.

In the interview Morten is quoted as saying several things which lead readers to believe that a-ha is ending after the last ‘Cast In Steel’ tour date on May 7 in Bergen, and that Morten does not find working with a-ha to be spiritually fulfilling for him anymore. Another quote seemed to imply that Morten does not appreciate support and attention from the fans.

None of this is correct, but please accept our apology for this misunderstanding, largely due to some of Morten’s remarks not being presented with the complete context.

In a conversation with Morten yesterday, he said that he had been asked about the possibility of a-ha making another album. His answer related to the time consuming nature of working on an album together, and that everyone’s heart has to be in it to get through the process. This is not news to anyone who has followed the band for any length of time, as all three of the band members have said that writing albums together is a very challenging process for them.

‘Cast In Steel’ was announced as a ‘one album, one tour’ project, and his remarks simply confirmed this. That doesn’t mean that there cannot be other projects, but nothing is planned at the moment.

Read the entire statement on a-ha.com.

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