Norwegian concerts and cancellation

Oslo Spektrum, 20 May

a-ha returned to Norway this week, playing at DNB Arena in Stavanger on Wednesday and in Oslo Spektrum on Friday.

Oslo Spektrum, 20 May

Unfortunately, Saturday’s second concert at Oslo Spektrum had to be cancelled on short notice due to Morten being diagnosed with acute laryngitis and needing to rest his voice. He sounded pretty good the previous night, although he reportedly also had some voice issues during the last couple of German concerts last week.

“Hello everyone. I’m so sorry that I can’t make it tonight. I hate it. And I’m very regretful that I’ve let you all down. That’s all I can say right now. I’m gonna sleep this thing off”, Morten said in a video message posted on social media.

a-ha manager Harald Wiik told Dagbladet that Saturday’s concert is the only one cancelled so far. “But we’ll have to continue monitoring Morten’s condition”, he added. Wiik said he’s working to reschedule a new date for the Oslo Spektrum concert, but it will take some time to work out when it’s possible to do so.

Oslo Spektrum, 20 May

Before all this, a-ha did a solid concert at Oslo Spektrum on Friday, to an appreciative crowd of both Norwegians and international fans.

“Dear Oslo. Thank you for giving us such a warm welcome at home, after a few months on tour. That’s really nice”, Magne told the audience before introducing “You Have What It Takes” from the upcoming True North album.

Another highlight in Oslo was the performance of “Here I Stand and Face the Rain”, which I’ve posted on YouTube.

Norway Rock Magazine has posted positive reviews of both the Stavanger and Oslo shows. “A most enjoyable evening in Oslo Spektrum, where we were reminded of the incredible amount of great songs this band has in its catalogue. Paul, Magne and Morten will remain giants in Norwegian music history, and there is much reason to look forward to True North being released in October”, reviewer Geir Amundsen writes about the concert on May 20th.

Oslo Spektrum, 20 May

The setlist has now increased from 18 to 19 songs. In Berlin on May 11th they started adding an extra song to the setlist each night, playing “Cry Wolf” for the first time since August 2018.

This continued with “Foot of the Mountain” in Hamburg on May 12th (first time since February 2020), “We’re Looking For The Whales” in Leipzig on May 14th (first time since May 2016), “Analogue” in Cologne on May 15th (first time since March 2020) and “The Blood That Moves The Body” in Stavanger on May 18th (first time since August 2018). In Oslo on Friday it was back to “Foot of the Mountain”.

Update 24/5:
Unfortunately it turned out that the second Oslo Spektrum concert can not be rescheduled. The following message was posted on the official site:

We will unfortunately not be able to reschedule this show. The reason being that there is no equipment and personnel available for a show this size on the available dates. We have turned every stone to make it happen, but it is simply not possible. We know a lot you of have waited for years to see the show and that this is a big disappointment, and we are very sorry to let you down. Tickets will be refunded via Ticketmaster according to their standard terms.

European tour update

ZAG Arena, Hannover, 2 May 2022
(Photo by Jil)

a-ha started the European leg of the 2022 Hunting High and Low Tour in front of 2,500 people at Partille Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden on 28 April, before heading to Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark where they played for 10,000 people the following day.

The tour then continued at the O2 Arena in Prague on 1 May – their first ever concert in the Czech Republic – and at ZAG Arena in Hannover (5,000) on 2 May, the first of six shows in Germany this month.

ZAG Arena, Hannover, 2 May 2022
(Photo by Jil)

During their two-week hiatus from touring, Magne spent some time in Italy, Paul went back to work in his LA studio, while Morten relaxed in Southern Norway before getting his hair cut short again.

One major change when the tour resumed was the return of the giant 10-bit LED video screen, which has not been used since the concert in Trondheim on 7 February 2020. Only a basic light-rig was brought along for the shows outside of Europe.

Some footage from the upcoming True North movie, directed by Stian Andersen, was shown on the screen during the two new songs – at least in Gothenburg – which can be seen in these two video clips of “Forest For The Trees” and “You Have What It Takes”.

In its review of the Copenhagen concert, Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet remarked how “the songs were captivatingly presented, backed by a stylish stage show with effective use of a giant screen”, while the Czech news site Idnes praised the “imaginative and precisely fitting video projections”. “At times, it was an experience so intense that one could talk about the Pink Floyd of pop”, the reviewer wrote.

Ekstrabladet’s reviewer liked the new songs:
“Two solid new songs, from the upcoming film/album True North, showed how the band’s inherent musicality and songwriting qualities are generally somewhat underrated.” He also mentioned how “a more organic, rich and majestic sound suited the [Hunting High and Low] material”.

ZAG Arena, Hannover, 2 May 2022
(Photo by Jil)

The setlist is now basically switched around, compared to when the tour started in Argentina in late March, opening with the eight songs from “Sycamore Leaves” to “The Living Daylights” before the break and the ten songs from the Hunting High and Low album after the break. This change first appeared on the second night at The Wiltern in LA on 8 April.

“We have played the whole album in its original running order, but sometimes we’ll take some creative liberties and change the running order and the arrangements, not least to keep ourselves stay focused”, Magne told Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten in an interview last week (paywall).

The video graphics previously used as intro for “Analogue” at the beginning of the second set in 2019/20, now serves as intro before “Sycamore Leaves” to open the concert instead.

The current setlist

1. Sycamore Leaves
2. The Swing Of Things
3. Crying In The Rain
4. Forest For The Trees
5. You Have What It Takes
6. I’ve Been Losing You
7. Scoundrel Days
8. The Living Daylights
– – – – – – – – – – – –
9. Train of Thought
10. The Blue Sky
11. Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale
12. And You Tell Me
13. Love is Reason
14. I Dream Myself Alive
15. Here I Stand and Face the Rain
16. Hunting High and Low
17. The Sun Always Shines on TV
– – – – – – – – – – – –
18. Take On Me
– – – – – – – – – – – –

By the way, one final additional tour date was added recently:
01 July 2022: Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland

2022 world tour opens in Buenos Aires

a-ha in Buenos Aires, 25 March
(Screenshots from YouTube videos posted by Martin F)

a-ha were finally back on stage last night, two years after the pandemic brought the Hunting High and Low tour to a temporary halt.

The 2022 tour kicked off at a sold-out Movistar Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina – the same city where they also opened their world tours in 2010 and 2015.

Morten in Buenos Aires
(Screenshot from YouTube)

“We’ve been waiting a long time to be back, I think it’s seven years since we were in Argentina. Thank you so much for bringing us back here. It’s been two years since we were on the road together and we all know what happened in between. So we might be a bit rusty. Forgive us for that”, Magne told the audience after the first few songs.

Although the first half of the show remained the Hunting High and Low album in its entirety, the running order of the songs had been switched around this time, starting with “Train of Thought” instead of “Take On Me” and saving the three big hits for the end of the album set.

The second half of the show included the world premiere of two new songs from the upcoming a-ha album True North, which is now set to be released in October. They are called “Forest For The Trees” (by Paul) and “You Have What It Takes” (by Magne). Paul has posted the lyrics to “Forest For The Trees” on Facebook.

In total the setlist included 18 songs, which is two songs less than the tour of Europe/Russia/Dubai in 2019-20, but the same length as South Africa, Australia (indoors) and New Zealand (indoors), and three songs more than the outdoors “Day On The Green” shows in 2020.

Magne in Buenos Aires
(Screenshot from YouTube)

One band member was notably absent last night; keyboardist and musical director Erik Ljunggren, who had become ill with Covid. Magne explained to the audience:

“We even lost a musician the day we arrived, to Covid. So he’s in isolation in the hotel. I guess you could see it as an invisible keyboard player over there. So we had to work all week to try to augment the show, to give you the best possible show we could under the circumstances.”

There was no large video screen used as stage backdrop, but instead the same basic light rig that was used on the tour outside of Europe in 2020. This could perhaps mean the video screen will only appear on the upcoming European tour.

Support band in Buenos Aires was local duo Desierto y Agua.

Paul in Buenos Aires
(Screenshot from YouTube)

 
The setlist
(YouTube videos by Martin F)
1. Train of Thought
2. The Blue Sky
3. Living a Boy’s Adventure Tale
4. And You Tell Me
5. Love is Reason
6. I Dream Myself Alive
7. Here I Stand and Face the Rain
8. Hunting High and Low
9. The Sun Always Shines on TV
10. Take On Me
– – – – – – – – – – – –
11. Sycamore Leaves
12. Forest For The Trees
13. You Have What It Takes
14. The Swing Of Things
15. Crying In The Rain
– – – – – – – – – – – –
16. Scoundrel Days
17. I’ve Been Losing You
18. The Living Daylights

 
Thanks to all fans in Argentina who has shared pictures and videos from the concert in Buenos Aires!

The tour continues at SND Arena in Asunción, Paraguay tomorrow, where the local band Deliverans will be supporting. On Wednesday they are playing at Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile with The Cruel Visions supporting.

For the latest tour updates, follow me on Twitter.

a-ha: The Movie – new release dates

German cover art

a-ha: The Movie is released on Blu-ray and DVD in Germany today. It is the third country to get a home video release of the film, following the Norwegian Blu-ray and the Polish Blu-ray and DVD released in December last year. All editions seem to include deleted scenes as bonus features.

Overseas a-ha: The Movie is set to open in North American theaters on April 8th, including in New York, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Vancouver. In the following weeks there will also be screenings in Washington, Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle and other cities. A full list of where you can see it is available on the movie’s official website.

After a limited run in theaters, an American Blu-ray and DVD release will then follow on May 10th.

In the Netherlands the movie is set to premiere in theaters on 28 April, followed by Japan on 20 May and finally the UK on 27 May.

Dates added in Nice, Scarborough and Cardiff

The 2022 a-ha tour just keeps growing and growing. Now 47 dates in total.

These three outdoor shows are the latest to be added:

29 June: Théâtre de Verdure, Nice, France
03 July: Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Scarborough, UK
05 July: Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, UK

Tickets go on sale Friday 25 March at 9am, while subscribers to the official a-ha mailing list will get access to presale details today.

a-ha coming to Barcelona

a-ha will be playing at the Festival Jardins Pedralbes in Barcelona, Spain on 27 June, the official site announced today.

This will be the first a-ha concert in Spain since 2010.

2022 marks the 10th edition of the popular Festival Jardins Pedralbes, which is held during the months of June and July in the gardens of the Royal Palace of Pedralbes. Other acts confirmed for this year include Simply Red, Patti Smith, Tom Jones and Crowded House.

Tickets will be available on 18 March at 10am CET.

New date in California

A fifth a-ha concert has been added in Paul’s home state of California:

29 July 2022: Oxbow RiverStage, Napa, USA

Concert ad

Oxbow RiverStage is an outdoor venue, opened in 2019, with a capacity of 4,000 people. It is located in the city of Napa (pop. 80,000) in the San Francisco Bay Area. The last time a-ha performed in the Bay Area was in 1986, when they played in Concord.

There will be a presale happening on March 17th through Ticketmaster, while the public sale starts the following day.

Update 16/3: The date was originally announced as 30 July, but has since been corrected to be 29 July instead.

Stavernfestivalen added

The a-ha ad uses the festival’s own font

a-ha will headline Stavernfestivalen near Larvik, Norway in July, the official site has announced today.

The festival is held from 7-9 July at Larvik Golf Arena, located between the towns of Stavern and Larvik, but the exact date for the a-ha concert has not been revealed yet. Other acts confirmed for the festival include Cardi B, Major Lazer and The Kid Laroi.

Morten played at Stavernfestivalen as part of his Brother solo tour in 2014, but this will be the first ever a-ha concert in the area of Stavern and Larvik, which has a combined population of around 54,000 people.

The number of a-ha concerts scheduled for this year is now 42.

Two summer festivals announced

Picture by Jakob

Two Norwegian summer festivals have been added to a-ha’s Hunting High and Low Tour this year; Bergenfest in Bergen on 15 June and Idyllfestivalen in Fredrikstad on 17 June.

The concert in Bergen will be held at Plenen, a smaller outdoor area located right next to Koengen where they played in 2016. Plenen has a capacity of 9000 people. Also playing at Bergenfest on the same day is the Irish band Inhaler, led by Bono’s son Elijah Hewson, and Sondre Lerche.

Idyllfestivalen in Fredrikstad is held on the island of Isegran, which has a capacity of 15,000 people. Other artists announced for the festival include Alan Walker, Astrid S and Zara Larsson. This will be the first a-ha concert in Fredrikstad since 2007.

Daypass tickets for Bergenfest (1000 kroner) are sold through Ticketmaster, while daypass tickets for Idyllfestivalen (1190 kroner) are sold through Tikkio.

Last week all Covid restrictions for concerts and other events in Norway were lifted, which means everything can run at full capacity once again.

a-ha to play at the Hollywood Bowl

Picture by Chris Long on Flickr

The official site today announced that a-ha will be playing at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on 31 July, together with The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

The legendary amphitheatre has a capacity of 17,500 people.

Subscriber ticket packages go on sale today, while regular tickets will be available on 3 May.

This very special event comes in addition to the three a-ha concerts already scheduled at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on 7, 8 and 9 April.

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