Wednesday, June 02, 2010
a-ha at Club Nokia
Back in the '80s, my brother and I constantly watched and recorded music videos. While we mostly were looking for Iron Maiden and Judas Priest videos, we frequently came across the classic a-ha video for "Take On Me". Even though we heard the song hundreds of times, we seemingly would never hit the fast forward button.
a-ha's popularity unfortunately waned in the States, but they continued to conquer the rest of the world and could be considered as Norse gods in their homeland. a-ha announced their farewell "Ending On a High Note" tour with a few select dates in the US. I was fortunate enough to catch the second night at Club Nokia and left wondering why a-ha would even think of retiring.
If you are going to dub your farewell tour as "Ending On A High Note", my expectations were fairly high. a-ha exceeded these expectations by turning in a sparkling performance. A large LCD screen hung behind the band and I noticed additional speakers were placed in the venue for one of the best sounding shows at Club Nokia.
a-ha are consummate professionals. From the opening synthesizer sparkled moments of "Bandstand", a-ha put on a slick performance with no obvious flaws. Morten Harket looked like he stepped out of a time machine as he perfectly sang along. Magne Furuholmen was stationed behind a two tiered keyboard stand and enthusiastically clapped his hands to engage the audience.
Soaring visuals of trees flashed behind Harket for the acoustic laced "Foot of The Mountain". a-ha played their material in reverse chronological order and dipped back to their eighth studio album for the electronic infused "Analogue(All I Want)". "Forever Not Yours" was the lone representative from their album Lifelines.
It was remarkable how Harket's voice was still vibrant and capable of reaching a number of different octaves. "Minor Earth Major Sky" and "Summer Moved On", kept the momentum going and it was impressive to see the crowd eating up every note. A wave of nostalgia really poured over the audience once they ventured back to Stay On These Roads by playing "The Blood That Moves The Body" and a glistening rendition of the title track of the album.
The iconic James Bond intro flashed on the screen prior to a scorching rendition of "The Living Daylights". Utilizing synthesizer patches that were a few memory banks from Depeche Mode and Erasure, "The Swing of Things" really had the crowd dancing. "Manhattan Skyline" was another top notch tune that prominently featured some sounds of a Roland Juno keyboard.
After a brief rest, a-ha came out for the encore of "Hunting High and Low" with background vocals provided by the entire audience. A montage of old television footage from the '80s provided the backdrop to "The Sun Always Shines On T.V.". Chants of "Take On Me" provoked the band back to the stage for a second encore as the video played in the background when the pulsating synth line kicked things off. A rapturous ovation capped the evening as the band thanked crowd stating "Goodbye America! Thanks for being loyal." It is hard to believe that they will never be back.