by Carlos Macia
First of all let me say how grateful I am to a-ha.com for the opportunity to attend this event.
I won’t go into details, but organizing the trip (last minute flights, hotels, work substitutions…) and the journey itself (delays going there, BA losing my suit on the way back…), have been a complete nightmare. However, I’d do it all over again. It was worth every frustration, just to be there.
At 12:05 I arrived to Gamle Logen. After dropping my coat & scarf at the cloak room, I made my way to the hall on the 2nd floor where everyone who is everyone in Norway (or so I’ve been told) was there, drinking champagne and eating canapés. I recognize Erik & Karl, and Harald. I see a few people that look slightly familiar, and I’m informed that they are the parents and siblings of Morten, Paul and Magne.
I meet with my dear friend Tiff, and then I see more familiar faces: Oliver, Katja, Susanne… and so many other friends that I’ve met before in concerts, CD signings, etc…
It’s 1 o’clock and they open the doors to the main hall. It looks like something out of Cinderella. I’m expecting Viennese dancers to come waltzing in at any moment, with some magnificent chandeliers lighting the room. Waiting to come in, I thought I was dreaming, now that I’m walking inside, I know I was. Paul’s mum walks next to me. I can’t help but smile at her and say: “Just so you know, your son is a genius”; she keeps smiling and thanks me. Yes: definitely this is a dream.
To our surprise only the front 2 rows on both sides are reserved for family members, so I sit next to some Norwegian girls in row 3. Right in front of me, Morten’s family and Paul’s parents. I was trying to keep the seat next to me for Tiff, with the hope that she’d translate the ceremony for me. My face went bright red when I see Hakon Harket come into my row and sit next to me. Then his wife and other relatives take the rest of the row. I’m afraid of moving or saying anything at all, in case I mess up. So I try to stay calm and look casual, as if it was the most normal thing in the world to be sitting there. I’m waiting for someone to pinch me and wake up.
After a few minutes of waiting, we hear people clapping: everyone gets up to greet a-ha. Morten and Inez head the “parade”, followed closely by Paul, Lauren and Augie, and then Magne, Heidi and their son (I always confuse the 2 boys, so not sure which one was it –sorry!). They look around smiling and they take their seats in the front row. Paul and Morten on my side (2 meters away from me…), Magne at the other side.
I keep looking around and I simply can’t believe I’m there, so close to them. Something strikes me odd: it’s the first time that they’re in the audience with me. They’re the main stars of the event, but they’re sitting there, among us. I can’t help to feel as if I was in a Church and this was their wedding day or some other happy family occasion. I’m waiting for someone to tap my shoulder and tell me that there has been a mistake and that I shouldn’t be there. But it’s all happening. And not just in my head. You can feel the love in the room, as a force field surrounding everything and everyone. I think of so many friends who couldn’t be there today, but wished they were. And, in my mind, I can picture them there, like a concourse of invisible angels, each one in a different spot of the world, but with their minds and hearts focused in that small building in the centre of Oslo. It’s all good wishes. It’s all love and respect, and they’re all sending their good vibrations our way.
The ceremony starts with a nice string quartet. I’m a bit disappointed that they’re not playing any a-ha tunes, but they still sound nice.
Afterwards, a journalist lady said a few words in Norwegian. I understand “a-ha”, the name of the lads, and “a-ha fans” 🙂 Then she introduces Viggo (from Bridges), and you can tell on the boys’ faces that they’re happily surprised. Whatever he says in Norwegian, it’s a continuous laughter among the audience, the lads and their families are crying with laughter. I can see Magne’s mum, sitting close to him, in the front row. She looks amazingly elegant, and she’s crying, both with emotion and laughter. At the end Viggo dedicates a few words in English to Terry Slater.
There’s another short music interlude and Terry Slater takes the podium to talk about a-ha. It’s quite humoristic and affectionate. It was brilliant the moment when, to say the names of the guys, he pulled out a paper from his coat, as if he didn’t remember them 🙂
Some official-looking man (minister?) spoke a bit more and then the representative of the Royal House called the guys to the stage where he placed a medal on each of their jackets. They hugged each other. We all stood up and clapped and cheered. You could tell on their faces that they were emotional. Morten took the mic and gave a speech. In that moment I could only understand that he started with a joke, and then got into a more serious mood (later on I’ve read a translation of the speech and can see what he was saying). At the end, more clapping and cheering, and everyone standing up.
The journalists got to the stage to take photos of the 3, and then they all left. And we followed soon after.
Talking to the other fans, we all have the sensation of feeling very privileged to have been present there. I’d lie if I say that we had enough. Of course we all wanted more. We wanted Magne and Paul to speak. We wanted to have a photo with the 3 of them together, on that stage. We wanted to be invited to the “after” party and/or, even better, to their homes. But all of that belongs to the world of dreams, and this, even if it felt like one, was not a dream. We lived a beautiful moment. We shared a rare and usually private part of their lives. And we feel grateful for that.
While “listening” to the speeches, I can’t help to make my own speech in my mind, the things I’d say had I been called to talk. The last few days, getting hundreds of messages from fans from all over the world, all wishing to be there, and all asking me to “pass on a few words”, 3 words come to my head. 3 words that over and over are repeated in the messages I received, and that summarise the feelings of thousands of fans worldwide towards a-ha: love, admiration and gratitude.
Tags: Awards, Norway