Intimate. Acoustic. Unplugged. a-ha as you’ve never heard them before.
Following on from the success of their tenth album Cast in Steel in 2015 and subsequent world tour, Morten, Pål and Magne are returning once more with a new a-ha album and live dates. This time, however, rather than in the studio, the album will be recorded live on stage in June 2017, and performed acoustically rather than with their normal electric and electronic set up.
To coincide with the release of the album and accompanying concert film in November 2017, the band will return with a string of live dates in early 2018. To add to the previously announced shows in Germany, Austria and Switzerland the band are delighted to reveal they will be playing further dates in Norway. On Friday 9th and Saturday 10th February, the band will perform their acoustic show at Oslo Spektrum.
‘We’ve always done unplugged stuff on each show,’ explains Pål about the origins of the project. ‘but we’ve never done a full concert. So that’s going to be cool.’ For him, it’s a rare chance to hear the songs in the way they were originally written: ‘A lot of the songs were written [this way], we don’t really use of a lot of technology when we write.’
‘It’s one of those things where it’s been on the table many times over the past fifteen years, and we’ve ended up not doing it for various reasons,’ adds Morten. ‘And it was looking like it was going that way this time as well because it just takes a lot for everyone. But we’ve now decided to do it. And it freaks us out next minute because there’s a lot of work to do.’
For Pål, a lot of that early work was ‘trying to go through all the albums, find out things that could work in that setting. There is so much, like ten albums. So that’s the first part, trying to figure out which songs we want to try. And then also which ones we want to change.’ That combination of offering a fresh take on some familiar friends is something that clearly excites the band: ‘We want to explore the songs,’ says Morten, ‘to expose the songs in a different way than we’ve done in the past, at the same time maintaining the integrity of the song, but not necessarily as you know it.’
The result, according to Magne is going to be a mixture of ‘the old hits, stuff from the catalogue that we haven’t performed for a long time, if ever, and some new stuff … we’ve rediscovered some of the old songs and look forward to turning this into something for our listeners.’
What is clear from all three members of the band is how much they’re enjoying creating this new take on their classic material. ‘It’s been a really healthy and good process,’ says Magne. ‘There is palpable growing excitement in the group about this,’ adds Morten. ‘We all felt a bit uneasy after the band meeting,’ laughs Pal, ‘because we agreed on everything. So we got a bit like, “What’s going on? You’re not feeling well?”’
Backing up the trio for the concerts will be Karl Oluf Wennerberg on drums, Even Ormestad on bass, Morten Qvenild on keyboards, a small string section and Lars Horntventh on various instruments. (Lars, who worked with the band on Under the Makeup and Cast in Steel for their last album is also producing the new record). Magne describes the group as ‘some that played with us on previous tours, we have a string players with us, we have a couple of multi-instrumentalists with us, so it’s a very dynamic and different setting. It is a whole new kettle of fish.’
As for the concerts themselves, Magne explains that ‘we are in the process of squeezing in a couple of new songs there as well. And also taking a look at our own history, finding things there, some cover songs. We’re looking to have some special guests. So hopefully it’ll be a fun musical evening. It will be for us and hopefully for the audience as well.’
2018 Tour Dates
January 23 – Stuttgart Schleyerhalle
January 23 – Frankfurt Festhalle
January 26 – Hannover TUI Arena
January 27 – Leipzig Arena
January 28 – Berlin Mercedes Benz Arena
January 30 – Hamburg Barclaycard Arena
February 2 – Vienna Stadthalle
February 3 – Munich Olympiahalle
February 5 – Zurich Hallenstadion
February 6 – Cologne Lanxess Arena
February 9 – Oslo Spektrum
February 10 – Oslo Spektrum
Tickets for the Oslo dates go on sale Friday 31 March, 9am CET.
Tags: Acoustic, Concerts, Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket, Norway, Oslo, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, Rehearsals