Take on This!
—-Rock in Rio—-
We had all been waiting months for this event—almost a year, to be exact.
In the beginning, Rock in Rio just seemed like a one-off gig, and we were still thrilled beyond belief. Most of us knew we would never make it to Rio, but the mere thought of A-ha reuniting was incredible. And then, the announcement came about Cast in Steel.
We all know what happened after that. But I’m not here today to talk about the tour we wish would come to the USA.
Months ticked by, we had a new album and singles to distract us and some great summer photos shared by two of our favorite Norwegians. Time seemed to stand still and we all willed the clock to tick faster, the calendar pages to just turn already.
And finally, September 27th arrived.
It was magical.
Now, I’ll admit that I didn’t get to see the concert live. It fell exactly during bedtime festivities for my little man, and while I love A-ha—there’s nothing crabbier than a kid who’s had his routine changed. It actually took me the better part of three days to get it all watched thanks to loud contractors working on our house.
Sacrifices, I know.
But let me tell you, when I finally was able to watch—I was blown away.
Now, I’m going to take a quick second to say something about some of the negativity that is swirling—already. You know what I’m talking about. The backing track. Look, they’re in a huge space. A backing track is standard in situations like that. It helps Morten hear and pace himself better. He was not relying on it. He doesn’t need it to “beef up” his voice. Nor was he ill and has not lost copious amounts of weight. He’s a slender dude with a great physique and anyone his age (or not even) should be jealous of his incredible healthy lifestyle.
Ok, I’m done with that mini rant. Now, on to the real show!
Did I forget to mention that A-HA WAS AT FREAKING ROCK IN RIO?
Our boys are truly back.
And it’s obvious they had a great time.
Had I been there, I probably would have been bummed out that it was raining. Truth be told—I hate the rain. It messes up my hair and makes my purple bleed if I don’t have color lock conditioner in it. But for them—I would have put a newspaper over my head and kept on.
he rain made the scene very surreal in a sense. It felt like I was watching a dream unfold. And to many, it was a dream already, so it was very fitting.
I’m very proud of myself that I didn’t cry…right away.
I actually made it to Stay on These Roads before the tears started. I at least made it through two and a quarter songs. That song has always been one of my favorites. His voice always soars—and he most certainly didn’t disappoint that night—especially on that last note. Naysayers be damned…this guy’s still got it.
So, how many of us were bummed Morten didn’t wear “the outfit” for Move to Memphis? Because I know he can still rock it. I mean, come on. I have to say, our man really came alive during this song. His energy seemed to bubble up all of a sudden he was totally into it. And it was great.
It was about this time that I had my “Holy $@%&, A-ha is really performing this huge concert” moment. As I sat on my couch with my snacks and blanket (yup…it’s already cold here), I couldn’t help but marvel at what I was witnessing.
These guys had called it quits. They had given us twenty-five-plus years of their lives and then decided to pack it up. And yet—here they were…back.
Part of me always expects to just wake up and have it be all my imagination.
But then Crying in the Rain started—and Morten began to sing—and it was all too apparent that I was living in the real world.
And what a world it is.
We all know Morten is an incredible vocalist. But I think people tend to forget about Paul. His voice is amazing, and I’m so happy that they got to share this moment together. Their voices blended perfectly, making the harmonies seem easy.
When they looked over at each other and made eye contact—let’s just say I cried—again. It was very obvious that they knew just how fantastical that moment was. They know its history. And they were loving it.
Cry in the rain? Why yes, I did. (It was actually raining here.)
So, what’s your favorite “non-traditional” A-ha song? Mine’s Sycamore Leaves.
I only have one thing to say about it. OH MY GOD.
I’ll leave you all to reflect on that.
Right about now was when I gave up trying to count how many times Morten played with that stinkin’ earpiece. Can someone just glue them in, please?
How many people remember whipping out your lighter at concerts? It’s kind of weird to think that just ten-or-so years ago, it was still the norm to do so. And now—they’ve been replaced by cell phones. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how far technology has come since our favorite Norwegians burst onto the scene in 1985, especially since it seems like only yesterday that we were all glued to MTV waiting to catch a glimpse of the Take on Me video.
I think it’s very fitting for such a beautiful song to be illuminated (even just a little bit) by that sea of phones. A-ha is timeless—and yet time moves forward around them.
I loved watching Morten near the end, when the audience was transformed into a glittering ocean of light. I’d like to think that he was very aware that the moment he was participating in was one for the history books. Everyone there—including them—was going to remember this moment in time for the rest of their lives. It was obvious that he was honored to be a part of it all. His expression, his emotions—the glistening eyes. He’s a very passionately emotional person, and I think it’s very refreshing that he didn’t hide his feelings.
Now, I thought Morten had come alive earlier in the set—until they started playing The Sun Always Shines On TV.
The showman we all knew and loved for so many years had returned in with a vengeance. He ran back and forth, danced and even splashed around like a kid in the puddles. He was having a blast—and so were we. He even teased the lower crowd by getting right up to the edge of the stage and hovering for a long moment. Would he, or wouldn’t he? Part of me wanted to see him just jump off and go for it.
Oh yeah, and he took his glasses off for a minute. ‘Nuff said.
I have to whine (just a bit) for a second that I was bummed there weren’t’ more songs from the new album. But, I also know that it was a short set and they have to have a little bit of everything for everyone. Here’s hoping that more Cast in Steel songs will appear as the tour goes on.
That being said, I cried—again—when they performed Under the Makeup. Like, sobbed.
Face it, the man sings like an angel. His emotions shone bright again and I’m so very glad he didn’t hold them back.
[Totally off topic: I wonder just how much Morten can see without his glasses. Because fangirl reasons.]
The Living Daylights showed us that not only is Morten’s voice still sublime, but that he’s an appreciative guy. He finally went down into the crowd that he had teased earlier. And not only did he make contact with the throngs of adoring fans—he even signed an autograph.
That’s right. In the middle of a song, he was giving autographs. That’s class. He knows how much the fans love him—and them. He realizes that without them, there would be no A-ha. Yes, it was only one signing, but it spoke volumes. Had he had more time, I don’t doubt he would have stayed longer and given more people the encounter of a lifetime.
And when he went back up on stage and the cameras panned out from behind him to reveal the wide shot of the crowd? Amazing. He looked so small standing there in front of that giant mass of people—all there to see them. He’s just one man, a third of a trio that can bring that many people together.
It was *that* moment that I wanted to show anyone who ever called them a “One-hit Wonder.” And then to politely tell them to shut up.
I knew the concert was coming to an end—and that there was still one more song we all wanted to hear.
Now, even though I’ve heard Take on Me 9,341,699,014 times (that’s an exact number, by the way), I couldn’t help but get the biggest grin on my face when Mags played that opening riff. It’s the song that started it all—and what a fitting way to end their triumphant return to Rock in Rio.
And return they did.
Here’s to a fantastic world tour, boys. Hopefully it’ll include the United States. *hint hint* But whatever happens for us in the USA, if this performance is any indication of what’s to come, the world is in for quite a treat. They’re back and they’re going to take the globe by storm.
Oh, and Morten was smokin’ hot. Just sayin’.