Norway’s a-ha have spent the past 25+ years releasing hit albums and selling out arenas all over the world, with the exception of the U.S., where the band has been relegated to dreaded “one-hit wonder” status based solely on the strength of 80s anthem “Take On Me.” Fans of the band know that a-ha actually has a catalog of consistently good albums, leading up to 2009’s “Foot of the Mountain.” a-ha declared 2010 to be the final year of their existence, and are calling it quits after one final tour. Included on their itinerary was a very, VERY brief 4-city, 7-date tour of the U.S. (and Toronto), the bands’ first and last shows on the continent since 1986 (other than a one-off show at NYC’s Irving Plaza in 2005). The tour kicked off with a sold-out 3 night stand at Nokia Theater Times Square May 6th, 7th, and 8th.
The setlist served as a reverse chronology of a-ha’s musical output. Taking the stage in front of a large projection screen, the band (consisting of the 3 core members backed by a drummer and synth / bass player) opened with “Foot of the Mountain” and worked their way backwards towards their older (classic?) material. At times, they appeared uncomfortable playing on such a small stage as I can only assume anyone accustomed to playing arenas would be. The majority of the mostly older crowd seemed to be more interested in filming the show than enjoying the music, evidenced by the large amount of camera screens that lit up the floor in front of the stage. Despite the perceived apathy of the crowd, the band put on a fantastic show and even got some sing-alongs going during choice parts of the set, especially during Bond theme “The Living Daylights.” Of course the biggest crowd reaction was reserved for set closer, the ubiquitous “Take On Me,” which got even the people seated in the back to stand up.
Included below are the aforementioned “Take On Me”, 1988’s “The Blood That Moves the Body”, and 2009’s “The Bandstand”.
Download: a-ha – Take On Me (Live)[audio: http://www.thesoundofindie.com/archive/2010/20100618/a-ha-TheBloodThatMovesTheBody.mp3|titles=The Blood That Moves The Body (Live)|artists=a-ha]
Download: a-ha – The Bandstand (Live)