przed: (a-ha)
Well, I'm back from...

and seeing a-ha one last time. This time at Wembley Arena, with a sold out crowd of fellow fans.

What a sold-out Wembley crowd looks like, and other photographic evidence... )

If the jetlag doesn't take me down tomorrow night, I hope I'll get up reviews of the theatre I saw. Including Martin Shaw in The Country Girl. Which was...interesting.
przed: (a-ha)
I found out about a month ago that Howard Jones--yes, that Howard Jones--was coming to town and playing the Mod Club. I knew I had to get tickets.

I adored Howard back in the day. I was watching City Limits (the first music video show in Toronto) on a Sunday night in 1983 when they played his first video for New Song. I immediately called my music-obsessed friend [ profile] canadiansuzanne and we were both all "Did you see that video?! Wasn't it amazing!" I proceeded to haunt Sam the Record Man every week until they finally got in the U.K. import of the 12 inch single of New Song. I listened to his albums constantly through high school and university, and saw him every time he came to town, including his very first North American gig, at the Concert Hall. (He was responsible for getting me into Eurythmics, since the only reason I saw them on their Touch tour was because Howard was opening.)

It was pretty awesome seeing him in a small venue, much like the Concert Hall gig, and with an audience who love the songs and the performer as much as I do. From the opening notes of Pearl in the Shell, it was an awesome night. And it all really caught fire with No One Is to Blame, with the audience singing along to every single word. (Astoundingly, he said no one in the U.K. really knows that song.) The final two numbers, What Is Love and New Song, of course, just blew the top off an already wonderful experience.

Jones is as lovely a performer as he was back in the day. He's warm with the audience, a funny storyteller, and gets obvious pleasure when the audience knows the songs as well as he does. I'm so glad I got the tickets. (The Sweetie came too, and while he's not nearly the fan I am, he still had a good time.)

To round out my '80s music day, I got something I've been waiting for in the mail today )
przed: (a-ha)
Saw my penultimate a-ha show last night, on home turf this time, and with a friend from university I'd dragged along. The audience energy was a bit lower than the New York show to start--Toronto crowds are always a tough sell, and the opening act, an older country singer, didn't have nearly the energy that Sondre Lerche did in NYC--but by the end of the show they were almost as crazy energetic as the New York crowd.

The band played exactly the same set, and did the same awesome job, though Morten was a bit ragged at first. He blew the opening of Forever Not Yours, and I wondered if he was going to make the sustained high note in Summer Moved On. He was obviously struggling with the high notes all through the song, and was pacing the stage during the musical break leading up to that note, but then he totally nailed it and the crowd went nuts, and he was awesome from that point on.

I brought my camera, and managed to get a few not bad shots of the band, so here you go...

Magne on keyboards, and Morten taking a brief swing at the drums

More pics this way )

I've got tickets to one last show, at Wembley Stadium at the end of November. (They've just announced they're playing a gig at the Royal Albert Hall that will consist of all of Hunting High and Low. I'm sorely tempted, but I shall hold firm at three shows.) I felt surprisingly emotional at the end of both these shows, knowing they'll never play either of these cities again, but I also felt incredibly lucky to have finally seen them.
przed: (a-ha)
It's way too late, and I'm supposed to be getting up early to hit the Met, but while the feelings are fresh I wanted to do at least a short post about tonight's a-ha concert.

It was awesome!

Okay, not that short.

While they may not do the banter of other banters, they're still phenomenally charismatic performers, their stage design is wonderful (they had this full video screen behind them with this wonderfully designed video to back up all the song), and, in the shallow end of the pool, Morten Harket is as wonderful looking in person now as he was back in the day.

They opened with Foot of the Mountain, my fave track from their last album, and went on to do a raft of my favourites, including Analogue (probably my favourite a-ha song ever), and Summer Moved On (darn close to second.) Morten managed to hold the extended high note in Summer Moved On exactly as long as he should have.

Other highlights included The Living Daylights as an audience singalong, The Sun Always Shines on TV in the first encore (I tried to call the Sweetie during that one, but have no idea if I succeeded due to the high level of sound in the theatre), and, of course, Take on Me as the final encore.

I met a grad student from Norway in the line, Hanna, who'd dragged her Bulgarian fiancé along, and hanging out with them was just the icing on a very lovely cake. She has been a huge fan for a long time, and we both went crazy for most of the same songs. And after the concert was over we all went out for drinks and munchies afterwards.

I'm so very glad I did come down for the concert, and incredibly glad that the Sweetie kept the home fires burning and encouraged me to have a good time.

And on Monday I get to do it all over again when they play Toronto!
przed: (a-ha)
After a rather bumpy flight out of Toronto--taking off in the thunderstorm will do that--I have made it to Manhattan!

The hotel is lovely (though I churlishly wish their internet was faster), it's a lovely warm night out there, and I'm starting to get really pumped about seeing a-ha tomorrow. This was probably aided by the fact that the Customs gal I hit at Toronto is apparently a fan.

Customs Gal: What are you doing in New York?
Me: I'm going to see a concert. a-ha.
Customs Gal: No way! Are they still together?
Me: This is their last tour. I had to see them this time.
Customs Gal: That's awesome. Have a great time.

Why can't all customs officers be that much fun? And, ya know, not detain me at the border for vidding.

Tomorrow there will be lunching with [ profile] shayheyred, and museuming, and shopping for Ros and the Sweetie. (And no, Sweetie, I'm not going to tell you what I'm getting you.)

And then there shall be a-ha!

a-ha Ahoy!

Apr. 7th, 2010 09:58 pm
przed: (a-ha)
Yesterday, I booked my flight to New York City to see a-ha.

Today, I got these in the mail )

There was much dancing in the Zed household, I can tell you.

So to celebrate the fact that I am really, truly, finally going to get to see a-ha, have a Morten Harket pic spam on me...

This way to the gorgeous Norwegian bloke... )


Mar. 2nd, 2010 11:27 pm
przed: (li'l me mad men style)
I've just had my third day in London, and still having a lovely time.

So far I've:
  • Seen an improv show at The Comedy Store
  • Seen Judi Dench and a stellar cast in A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Seen Richard Griffiths and Alex Jennings in The Habit of Art at the National
  • Seen War Horse
  • Eaten lots of lovely meals
  • Bought some books for Ros

    Also, I'm sure all you Brits already knew this, but you can get Top Gear trading cards. Really! (I may have to get a pack just for fun.)

    We're hoping to do two more plays tomorrow, and then I'll be winging my way back home on Thursday afternoon. Crazy! But fun!

    Also, a-ha finally announced a Toronto show yesterday. (The fuckers would wait till I was out of the country.) But the Sweetie proved his awesomeness yet again and got me a couple. Yay!
  • przed: (li'l me mad men style)
    I just got an e-mail that tickets for a third a-ha concert on May 8 have gone on sale. And I've got one! (It's increasingly looking like the promised Canadian dates aren't going to materialize. And hey, if I've got a job in the fall, I still might go see them in London, which was my original fallback plan.)

    It's not quite Oslo. Then again, NYC in May is going to be a lot warmer than Oslo in December.

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