Saturday, May 7, 2022

A-Ha @ le Zénith, Paris - May 7th, 2022

I've lost tracks of how many times A-Ha have called it a day only to resurface a couple of years later. The sirens of crowd adulation are hard to resist and financial solvency is reason enough to quell any of the inner-band tensions hinted at in last year's documentary about the band. I, for one am not complaining: I've loved the band ever since I was a child. In fact, they were the very first band I ever saw in concert (at the Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia, on May 17th 1991). Since then I've only seen them once twenty years ago at the Zénith in Paris, and tonight they are playing that very same venue, on the last night of the world tour in celebrating their 1985 debut Hunting High And Low.

The first set included a few hits, including the Living Daylights from the eponymous James Bond film, Scoundrel Days, their cover of the Everly Brothers' Crying In The Rain, and even two new songs from their upcoming album True North.

The second set was a performance of their debut album, in full, which they cleverly re-sequenced so as to keep the hits at the end of the show, resulting in a potent crescendo, ending in climactic fashion with their signature song, the blockbusting banger, the absolute classic Take On Me.

Morten Harket's voice is still as agile as ever and his trademark falsetto hasn't lost a bit of its emotive power. Magne Furuholmen's keyboards are the defining sound of the eighties synth-pop scene which, nearly forty years later, is now back in fashion after having been unfairly reviled. In fact, while the crowd was mostly comprised of Gen-Xers, the loudest, most enthusiastic audience members were unmistakably the younger ones, none of which were even born when that music was en vogue.

It's hard to find a fault in a setlist that features a great band's most popular album as well as their hits, but I did anyway: the exclusion of my favorite song of theirs Manhattan Skyline. A small complaint in regards to the quality of the show and the music presented at the Zénith last night.

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