Under the make-up: A-HA said good-bye to Belarus in a spectacular way once again

  • 18/03/2016 - 12:33 Read: 2418  Rate this item
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When the legendary Norwegians visited Minsk 6 years ago with a farewell tour, no one thought they were kidding – because they’re really serious guys. But to leave after 30 years of successful career was harder than telling about it right and left. People say that there’s no such thing as ex-hunter. Same here.  Morten Harket after releasing two striking solo albums revived the brainchild of his life. In order to boost the interest to the tour the band releases a new album ‘Cast In Steel’.  As a real legend does, the band played just one song from it – lyrical and touching ‘Under the Make Up’.
The current tour is a trip in honour of the 30th anniversary of the band. Yes! It’s hard to believe especially if you watch them live, but Morten, Magne and Paul are far from their teens. The concert set included all the best they managed to play for the whole period of existence. The best of the best – if you like such definition. A special stress has been laid on the early albums released before the first band’s split: ‘Scoundrel Days’, ‘Stay on These Roads’ and of course the debut one ‘Hunting High and Low’. They evoked a strong emotional response that captivated Minsk Arena like a high wind. Morten with his 5 octaves sounded so powerful that the dome of the national property (Minsk Arena) was about to crack. When the nightingale got a bit tired, Magne and Paul sang a song each. Paul presented the track 'Velvet' of his side project Savoy as well and Magne did his best on 'Lifelines' and communicated with the audience.

A beautiful video portion shined all the colours of the rainbow, while the musicians did their job on stage. The history of A-HA can be divided into three periods: adolescence, youth and maturity. The first one touched the early albums and successfully ended in 1993 with the release of 'Memorial Beach', which became a portent of the split and controversy within the band. The second one starts in 2000 when Norwegians decided to reunite. Here the musicians abandon the 'childish' sound with funny videos and keep their face with their personal brand romance. The works of A-HA during this period remind us a young man feeling his possibilities and realizing his strength. The third period is late maturity marked by the album 'Foot of the Mountain'. In every its note one can feel the approaching old age and everything connected with it. Inevitable changes in personality take place in the nature as well. And all that things can be found in a beautiful and melodic music of the North keyboards' magicians.

The final part of the show and encore solely consisted of reliable material one can give a hard definition of 'hits' to. 'The Sun Always Shine on TV', 'The Living Daylights', classical 'Scoundrel Days' and ravishing 'Foot of the Mountain'. Closer to the end the audience reaches euphoria and asks for more. The set of A-HA can't be called complete without 'Take on Me'. In such case one can complain to the management and demand one's money back. But that's not the case in Minsk. Guys play their main hit the last the way it should be done. All people go back to 1985, in that marvellous cartoon with the kingdom of romance, beauty and unearthly love. It's hard to imagine more beautiful ending.

In one of the interviews Morten said that one shouldn't regard the new album as an attempt to go back to permanent activity with A-HA. 'We are like a phoenix - rise from the ashes when one needs us and are relegated to oblivion when the need vanishes'.

Text: Alexander Kurlyanchik
Photos: Inga Max


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