Archive for August, 2010

Magne and Morten visit Rockheim

"How on earth could you wear that, Morten?" Magne studies old a-ha photos at the Rockheim museum in Trondheim today. (Picture from NRK Trøndelag)

“How on earth could you wear that, Morten?”
Magne studies old a-ha photos at the Rockheim museum in Trondheim today.
(Picture from NRK Trøndelag)

Magne and Morten were in Trondheim today to promote Saturday’s concert at Lerkendal stadium. Adresseavisen has a video interview with the guys here.

They also made a visit to Rockheim – the new interactive center/museum for Norwegian pop and rock, which opened earlier this month. The a-ha exhibit seems to be prominently featured at Rockheim, and Magne found some early Bridges photos that he had never seen before.

They are both touched by the reception they’ve been getting at the Norwegian concerts.

Morten: “It’s special for us to be at home in Norway and be met like this. I’m proud of the band“.

Magne: “There’s a really good atmosphere, we can feel that we’re being embraced and that this means a lot to people“.

A video report from their visit to Rockheim can be seen here (starts after 13.30 minutes): NRK Midtnytt 31.08.10


Here is another of my video clips from the Bergen concert: Cry Wolf

Be also sure to check out Lena’s videos from the soundcheck (there are 7 so far):
a-ha Bergen 28.08.2010 Soundcheck Part 1

And Claudia’s videos from the concert, like “Crying in the Rain”.


Several fans have asked me to mention a new petition for a-ha to stream the last concert on December 4th online. So, here it is:

But, as Catherine writes on WOTM, management is already well aware that fans want the final show to be streamed, so there really is no need for another petition.


And here is an interview with graphic designer Jeri Heiden about the HHAL album cover: Uncovered: a-ha, “Hunting High and Low”

Bergen concert

Bergen, 28 August (Picture by Jakob)

Bergen, 28 August
(Picture by Jakob)

a-ha continued their Norwegian tour in Bergen last night, where they played another excellent concert in front of 25.000 people at Brann Stadium.

The setlist was identical to Oslo, but the band seemed to be a bit more relaxed this time and Morten almost remembered all the lyrics.

Here are some HD videos that I have uploaded to YouTube (more to follow):
The Bandstand
Butterfly, Butterfly
(Seemingly) Nonstop July

Bergen, 28 August (Picture by Jakob)

Bergen, 28 August
(Picture by Jakob)

The good reviews continue in the local press, with 5 out of 6 from both Bergens Tidende and Bergensavisen. There’s also a positive review from NRK Hordaland.

And Natt og Dag has a lot of photos from the concert here.


Bergen, 28 August (Picture by Jakob)

Bergen, 28 August
(Picture by Jakob)

1. The Sun Always Shines On TV
2. Move To Memphis
3. The Blood That Moves The Body
4. Scoundrel Days
5. Stay On These Roads
6. Manhattan Skyline
7. Hunting High And Low
8. The Bandstand
9. We’re Looking For The Whales
10. Butterfly Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)
11. (Seemingly) Nonstop July
12. Crying In The Rain
13. Minor Earth, Major Sky
14. Forever Not Yours
15. Summer Moved On
16. I’ve Been Losing You
17. Foot Of The Mountain
18. Cry Wolf
19. Analogue
20. The Living Daylights
21. Take On Me

Additional Oslo concert announced / More interviews

Morten on the front page of Stavanger Aftenblad Pluss.

Morten on the front page of Stavanger Aftenblad Pluss.

The second “Hunting High And Low”-concert that Magne mentioned earlier this week, has now been officially announced on

The concert will be held at Oslo Konserthus on 4 October, and will benefit Mercy Ships – a Christian organization that operates hospital ships in developing nations. Only a limited amount of tickets will be available.


There is a lot of promo for the Norwegian concerts going on at the moment.

Morten is on the front page of Stavanger Aftenblad’s weekend magazine today. Inside there is a 3-page interview.

There is also a 2-page article about Morten in Vårt Land today, while Bergensavisen has an article about a purchase agreement for a guitar amplifier that Morten bought in 1976 (!).

Fædrelandsvennen has a 2-page interview with Karl Oluf, who talks about his experiences touring with a-ha over the last two years.


Karl Oluf on the front page of Fædrelandsvennen's culture section.

Karl Oluf on the front page of Fædrelandsvennen’s culture section.

In Bergen, the last preparations are being done before the concert at Brann Stadium tomorrow night. Between 25.000 and 30.000 people are expected to attend the largest concert ever held in the city. Bergens Tidende has documented the process of building the stage with an article and slideshow here. You can also view a 360° panorama picture of the stadium.

And here are some more interviews from Magne and Morten’s promo day in Bergen on Tuesday:
NRK Hordaland: – Har hatt en fantastisk karriere
Bergens Tidende: Gleder seg til å ta farvel med Bergen
Bergensavisen: A-ha lover kjempefest

NRK Hordaland: Ettermiddagssending 24.08 (Radio interview – starts after 50 minutes)

There will be a-ha stuff happening in the future as well“, Magne says in the interview with Bergensavisen. “Not albums and concerts. But certain people are interested in making musicals and fictional movies about a-ha. And that’s something that we have to consider.


And the 25 collection has finally entered the official Norwegian album chart (at number 9), as it’s now also available outside the COOP chain – earlier than originally planned.

In Europe as a whole, the album is at number 8 in its second week, as Billboard reports. It’s currently number 3 in Germany, 6 in Switzerland and 14 in Austria.

“Førkveld” interview

Førkveld, August 24th

Førkveld, August 24th

Magne and Morten are already in Bergen to prepare for Saturday’s concert at Brann Stadium, and tonight they were guests on the live talkshow “Førkveld” on NRK1, with host Halvor Folgerø.

They were very pleased with last weekend’s concert at Ullevaal.

Morten:It was great. There was a special atmosphere.

Magne:When we’re meeting our home crowd here in Norway for the last time, all the lines of lyrics that we have been singing through 25 years, like “Wave goodbye”, take on a different meaning.


Førkveld, August 24th

Førkveld, August 24th

The interview also addressed an issue Italian fans have been wondering about:

Halvor Folgerø:We have asked our viewers to send in questions via our Facebook page, and most of them, or at least 50 percent come from abroad. Quite a lot of Italians, actually…

Magne:They are mad at us, because we haven’t managed to include Italy on our Farewell Tour. And we’re feeling sorry about that.

Halvor Folgerø:Serena Renzi writes that Italian fans are so sad that you’re not coming to say farewell in her country. Do you have something against Italians or Italy, she asks?

Morten:Except Berlusconi? No.

Magne:Not at all. Italy was, for my part, one of the most fun countries to be touring. In addition to the excitement of playing concerts, it was also a culinary journey. I am incredibly fascinated by Italy in every way. So this is simply about two things; the fact that we haven’t been successfull enough in Italy in recent years that agents want to provide the support we need. We have a production at the moment of arena/stadium size. It costs a lot of money and someone has to take the risk. We have been willing to take our part of the risk, but… I mean, we do have a lot of fans in Italy, but I don’t think the agents are feeling confident enough about it. The other thing is that we have had so many offers from other places that in the end we’ve just decided that we’ll tour where we know that we are wanted.


Following a montage of live clips, Morten talked about how touring can become a blur after a while, which made Magne remember an infamous incident from last year. I have posted a translation here.

And Magne revealed that there will be a second HHAL-concert this autumn. But he didn’t say if it will be held at the Royal Albert Hall or somewhere else.

The Førkveld interview can be seen online here.

Magne and Morten were also interviewed on Vestlandsrevyen (local news) tonight. The video clip can be seen here.


And here is an update from Just Loomis, who is selling some of his own high-quality a-ha photos at (see August 7th news story):

Due to the many, many requests that I have received from the fans, I am now offering a smaller print size for a limited time, for the fans of Aha. The cost of an 8×10 will be $50 plus shipping.

Ullevaal concert

Confetti at the end, followed by fireworks. (Picture by Jakob)

Confetti at the end, followed by fireworks.
(Picture by Jakob)

a-ha impressed audience and critics alike when they opened their Norwegian tour at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo on Saturday, featuring a massive stage and an amazing video show.

The concert was a special celebration of a-ha’s career in front of their home crowd, and after performing “Butterfly, Butterfly”, Morten said:

We would like to thank you for 25 years. [Long applause] During these 25 years that we have created together, the three of us… I read in the paper today that we are incompatible. I’m no a-ha expert myself… [Audience laughs] …but that statement is not compatible with how I have experienced things. But these are 25 years that you have been a part of as well, and which I would like to thank you for.

The reviews in VG, Dagbladet, Aftenposten and Dagsavisen all give the concert 5 out of 6.

An amazing video show. Here's the moon during "Minor Earth, Major Sky" (Picture by Jakob)

An amazing video show. Here’s the moon during “Minor Earth, Major Sky”
(Picture by Jakob)

The concert had a bizarre opening though, with the classical Tchaikovsky intro suddenly interrupted by Nelly’s hip-hop tune “Hot in Herre”, before leading into “The Sun Always Shines On TV”. Who came up with that combination?

No new songs in the setlist, but “Butterfly, Butterfly” was done acoustically for the first time, “Crying In The Rain” was back and “(Seemingly) Nonstop July” was performed live only for the second time since 1994. And unlike all the other concerts on the Farewell Tour, the songs were not played in reversed chronological order this time, but instead old and new songs were mixed up. “The Sun Always Shines On TV” was back as the opener, like it was on the FOTM tour in 2009.


Picture by Jakob

Picture by Jakob

Setlist (with YouTube links):
1. The Sun Always Shines On TV
2. Move To Memphis
3. The Blood That Moves The Body
4. Scoundrel Days
5. Stay On These Roads
6. Manhattan Skyline
7. Hunting High And Low
8. The Bandstand
9. Looking For The Whales
10. Butterfly Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)
11. (Seemingly) Nonstop July
12. Crying In The Rain
13. Minor Earth, Major Sky
14. Forever Not Yours
15. Summer Moved On
16. I’ve Been Losing You
17. Foot Of The Mountain
18. Cry Wolf
19. Analogue
20. The Living Daylights
21. Take On Me

More video clips:
TV2 interview with Magne and the vocalist in Shining before the concert:

The opening song filmed by TV2:
The Sun Always Shines On TV

On Saturday, NRK had an interview with P. A. Stenersen, who owns the biggest a-ha collection in the world. Stenersen, who has donated parts of his collection to the upcoming a-ha exhibition at the national museum in Oslo, meets up with Morten in the clip and receives a few very rare additions to his collection:

Getting ready for Ullevaal

Setting up the stage at Ullevaal, August 18th

Setting up the stage at Ullevaal, August 18th

The largest concert of the farewell tour is now being prepared at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo.

The stage construction – reportedly the largest ever built in Norway – weighs 1500 tons and takes four days to set up. 65 meters wide and 18 meters tall, with a 600 square meters video wall, it has been specially designed for these Norwegian concerts by Stageco. It will be brought around Norway using more than 40 semitrailers, and a team of 200 people working on the rigging.

Parts of the stage have been tested indoors at Oslo Spektrum during the last few days. A video clip from this can be seen at

An additional 1500 tickets have now been released, which means that nearly 30.000 people will be in the audience on Saturday night.

Dagsavisen article

Oslo, August 16th.

Oslo, August 16th.

Dagsavisen had an article on Tuesday, which further shows the conflicting views within the band about the break-up.

We’re tired, 25 years is a long time for any band, but I wish a-ha could have existed longer. I have songs that I know would have been valuable additions to the catalogue“, Paul says.

The article also includes a few quotes by Paul from the new and updated edition of “The Swing of Things” (English edition available for ordering from now):

A part of me feels it’s cowardly to end now. I don’t think we have achieved enough. But I was voted down. (…) It feels like tactics to me. Too cold and hard.

Magne serves the following comment back at Paul:
To continue would have demanded something else from him, and something else from all three of us. I don’t want a-ha to be used as a purely commercial tool to serve our own individual agendas. It’s not like only one of us should define what a-ha is. We’re three members. You can’t just think about getting as much as possible of your own material released.

I would wish for a band where the level of conflict wasn’t so high, a band where team effort was valued, a band where you gave each other the necessary feedback. That’s not where we are at the moment, and we have to acknowledge that.

In the article, Paul also reveals that the band had originally planned more events like the HHAL-concert at the Royal Albert Hall:

Two or three years ago we came up with the idea to perform the entire first album to mark its 25th anniversary. We were planning to do the same thing with our other albums as well, but then we only got so far as the first one.

Here is some more press from Monday:
NRK Østlandssendingen (video report)
NRK Østlandssendingen (14-minute radio interview with Magne)

The “God Morgen Norge” interview with Magne and Morten is now available to watch here.

Norwegian press meeting

a-ha in Oslo, August 16th

a-ha in Oslo, August 16th

a-ha met the Norwegian press at Hotel Grims Grenka in Oslo today, to talk about the farewell concerts and to present the updated edition of Jan Omdahl’s The Swing Of Things, which is published in Norway later this week.

A photo session with the band was followed by individual interviews with Magne and Morten, while Paul and Lauren tried their best to dispel the ever-returning John and Yoko comparisons by uh… doing their interviews in bed.

A few video clips from the press meeting can be seen here:      TV2 Nyhetene

And here are some of the articles published so far: Tankeprosessen har startet Paul har A-ha-låtene du aldri får høre A-ha-farvel på godt og vondt


Paul and Lauren interviewed in bed by TV2.

Paul and Lauren interviewed in bed by TV2.

Some selected quotes:

Paul:I’m not the one who wanted this to happen. To me, there are four parts; it’s Magne, myself and Morten, but it’s also a-ha. It’s like a unit on its own. And a part of me wants to fill it with as much great material as possible. I have read every book there is about other bands, and the hell that they’ve been through in order to record an album. But it’s worth it in the end. In my opinion we should have just put up with things in order to get [another album] done.

I have at least half a new a-ha album ready. I wrote many new songs before we decided to end the band. So I would have liked to continue. We have a potential for more, at least one more album.

It’s strange and a bit sad to retire. We just got back from Japan, where the fans were crying in despair when we left our hotels.

Lauren:It’s sad, but I’m also happy for him, because he has so many options now. He can write songs for other artists. It’s an exciting time.

Paul:Since we announced our retirement, I’ve been contacted by a few people who have asked me if I’d be interested in various projects. That’s what I have in mind now, there are so many great voices out there that really speak to me. It would be cool to write for some of those, I have already made a list of names that I would like to write for. But I won’t show it to you“, he smiles.

Morten:There are many interesting things that I’m currently considering. I’m not writing songs at the moment, there’s no room for that. But I do feel a small tingling coming along, so it would be strange if the urge for songwriting shouldn’t return. But I feel it’s best to just let things happen and leave the horizon open.

Interviewer: – Can you see yourself fronting another band?

Morten:No comment.


Magne:We’re around 50 years old, and we’ve been doing this for 25 years. If I were to do something else, this would be the right time.

There are many reasons to split. The time has come. It would have been easier to continue, but it’s more brave to end it. I wouldn’t want to fall asleep at the wheel.

a-ha will live on, without us.


Magne and Morten on God Morgen Norge.

Magne and Morten on God Morgen Norge.

Earlier in the day, Magne and Morten appeared on God Morgen Norge on TV2.

Magne talked about how, after the Japanese concerts, he and the family had travelled up into the mountains and lived together with buddhist monks.

It was a powerful experience. We had to get up at 6 in the morning and take part in an hour-long ceremony where you sit on the floor until your feet get numb, as you’re not used to sitting with your legs crossed. It gave me insight into another way of life.

Kamille interview

They say some dogs look like their owners. Magne's dog Kiz appears to be in a category of her own. (From Kamille, issue 17 - 2010)

They say some dogs look like their owners.
Magne’s dog Kiz appears to be in a category of her own.
(From Kamille, issue 17 – 2010)

There is a 5-page interview with Magne in the current issue of Norwegian women’s magazine Kamille.

WOTM member Magnet has posted an English translation of the interview here.


An English translation of last month’s Dagbladet interview can be found on the a-ha fan cafe blog. It’s in 6 parts, starting with part 1 here.


For those of us in Norway, a-ha will be guests in the studio on TV2’s “God Morgen Norge” tomorrow morning to talk about the farewell tour. They are set to appear around 9:40am.


And I’ve been asked to post a link to a new Facebook group, which aims to put the “Butterfly” single on the charts in the UK and Ireland. Here’s the link:
Make a-ha’s Butterfly fly to number one in UK + Ireland

Premiere of “Butterfly, Butterfly” music video


a-ha’s final music video, directed by Steve Barron, premiered on MySpace today.

Watch the video here. And then discuss it with other fans in the WOTM forum.

73.000 tickets sold

a-ha playing at Ullevaal in 2002.

a-ha playing at Ullevaal in 2002.

A total of 73.000 tickets have now been sold for the four stadium concerts in Norway in the next few weeks.

Here are the latest numbers:
Ullevaal Stadium, Oslo: 25.000
Brann Stadium, Bergen: 23.500
Lerkendal Stadium, Trondheim: 12.500
Sør Arena, Kristiansand: 12.000

They’ll be using a screen that’s 18 meters tall and 63 meters wide. The concerts will be monumental, intimate and warm. The audience will get a club-feeling at a stadium concert. The production is quite simply insane“, promoter Arne Svare tells Fædrelandsvennen’s print edition.

Sales numbers for the festival concerts in Stavanger and Tromsø are not available at the moment.

Old date rediscovered

This original concert ticket comes from a woman who attended the show.

This original concert ticket comes from
a woman who attended the show.

Earlier this year I found a previously unknown date on the first US tour (Toledo, 29 September 1986).

Now another unknown date has been discovered:
20 August 1986: Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz, USA

A concert at Arco Arena in Sacramento was originally scheduled for 20 August, but ended up being cancelled due to poor ticket sales. So a replacement show was held in Santa Cruz instead.

I have added the date to the 1986 – 87 tour page here.

(Thanks to Catherine)

Paul talks about final live song

"I would like to leave people with a different vibe at the end", Paul says.

“I would like to leave people with a different
vibe at the end”
, Paul says.

Paul has some encouraging words for those of us hoping that a-ha will end the December 4th concert with a more appropriate final song than “Take On Me”.

Here are a few quotes from a new interview with

– Why is this the right moment to bring a-ha to an end?
– It’s not the right moment at all, in my view! I’m the one who said that we should record another album instead. It would have been nice to end things with a larger, final statement.

– You didn’t manage to get your will?
– You have to take into account the band chemistry, which provides creative sparks, but which also can be tiringly destructive in the long run. 25 years is a long time. We want to end on a high note. In any case, it will be both fun and strange to meet again a year later, when schedules and business decisions no longer play a part.

– And if the other two want to start up a-ha again?
– Then perhaps I’m the one who doesn’t want to! That’s how it’s always been; one of us is against it. But I think that Morten will continue to perform songs that I have written.
– What is the last song that a-ha will perform live?
– At least not “Take On Me” – if it’s up to me. I have nothing against the song, but I would like to leave people with a different vibe at the end.


A selection of other recent interviews from Germany:

Video clips:
Euromaxx (DW-TV, 5 August)
Breakfast TV (Sat1, 4 August)
a-ha MySpace page – EPK interview (29 July)
Brisant (ARD, 28 July)
Leute Heute (ZDF, 28 July)

Audio clips:
Radio BR3 (5 Aug) + PDF of questionnaire filled out by Paul here

Interview mit den Pop-Giganten (
– Eine lange Popkarriere geht zu Ende Part 1 Part 2 (
“Ich höre nie Musik” (Welt Online, 1 August)


Oh, and “Butterfly, Butterfly” has entered the German single chart at number 22 in its first week.

Festival concerts in Japan

Osaka, August 8th

Osaka, August 8th

a-ha did two concerts at the Summer Sonic Festivals in Tokyo and Osaka last weekend.

Because the band was not headlining, the setlist was considerably shorter than usual:

1. The Bandstand
2. Foot Of The Mountain
3. Move To Memphis
4. The Blood That Moves The Body
5. Stay On These Roads
6. Scoundrel Days
7. I’ve Been Losing You
8. Cry Wolf
9. Hunting High And Low
10. The Sun Always Shines On TV
11. The Living Daylights
12. Take On Me

Here are more pictures from Tokyo and Osaka. And there’s a high quality clip of TSASOTV on YouTube, taken from an HD TV broadcast (starts at 0:56 mins) – plus a small interview after the song.

In addition to the concerts, the band found time to do some shopping and promotion. And Magne and his family had a special meeting with the sumo wrestlers Konishiki and Musashimaru.

(Thanks to Megumi and Miko)

Just Loomis selling favorite a-ha photos

One of the photos available from the website; a-ha on a beach in Brazil, 1991.

One of the photos available from the website;
a-ha on a beach in Brazil, 1991.

American photographer Just Loomis is the man behind some of the most iconic a-ha photos of the 1980s and 1990s. The cover photos of “Hunting High And Low”, “Stay On These Roads”, “East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon”, “Headlines And Deadlines” and “Memorial Beach” were all taken by him.

Now, for a limited time only, he is offering for sale some of his favorite a-ha photographs on a new website – The 12×15 inch high quality prints cost $230 (including international shipping).
Update: The price has now been lowered to $150, with two different shipping options – Standard International Air Mail ($15) and Express International Tracking ($45).

In addition to photo samples, the website includes Loomis’ own memories of the various photo shoots, like him and Magne climbing into a locked pub on the HHAL cover shoot and Terry Slater nearly falling through an unstable floor in Brazil.

In Norway, an exhibition of some of his works will be shown at the Stenersen Museum in Oslo from 10 February to 3 April 2011. The exhibition will also include a selection of a-ha photos, according to his own website at

“Sommeråpent” interview

Sommeråpent, August 2nd

Sommeråpent, August 2nd

Morten and Magne were guests on “Sommeråpent” on NRK1 last night.

Morten ended up sitting in host Pål Thoresen’s chair during the interview, because he was afraid of the draft up on the roof of Folketeateret, from which the show is broadcast live. Thoresen’s chair was the only place he wanted to sit.


Sommeråpent, August 2nd

Sommeråpent, August 2nd

Morten:There are a lot of concerts that I have to perform, and I have to make sure that I don’t catch a cold. I’m already quite tired of having to take that into consideration. Tonight we’re sitting outside, and if there is too much draft I’ll just have to say; folks, this is too much for me.

Magne about the Royal Albert Hall concert:This is probably the first concert ever where we’ll start with “Take On Me”. It will be quite a special concert for us, and we have done our best to separate it from the rest of the big tour. There are three main events that are coming up now; the Norwegian stadium tour, which is completely different and spectacular. The anniversary concert in Royal Albert Hall which will be very strict conceptually, by playing the first album we relased from the first to the last song. And then there is the big tour in the autumn, which will again be something different. We try to vary things that way.


Sommeråpent, August 2nd

Sommeråpent, August 2nd

Morten about the upcoming concerts in Japan:We had also hoped to visit more countries than Japan. Unfortunately we won’t have time for more, but at least we’ll visit Japan. It’s not long since our last visit and we’re looking forward to it. Just a couple more days now – or, you’re leaving tomorrow?

Magne:I leave tomorrow.

Host Pål Thoresen:We should add that Paul Waaktaar-Savoy is not here. Nobody knows where he is, though he was last observed in Italy.”

Morten:We got another Pål instead.

Pål Thoresen:I’m the stand-in, so it’s still Pål, Mags and Morten. That’s how it should be.


Magne about the Norwegian stadium tour:We’re hoping these will be our most spectacular concerts ever. The stage production will actually be of the same size as the [1991] concert in Rio de Janeiro in front of 200.000 people. So we have spared no expenses and we’ll do our best to make this a proper farewell and a big party.


The whole interview can be seen on NRK’s web-TV here.

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