May 6, 2010

Ending on a High Note

A-ha: Ending On A High Note
Nokia Theater, New York City - May 6, 2010
This is the farewell tour for A-ha.  I've long been a fan of the group and of new wave and synthpop in general, but this show had a special meaning to me.  My girlfriend and I have been together now for almost four years and "Take On Me" has been our song from day one.

The show began with Foot Of The Mountain and The Bandstand, which are two tracks from their 2009 album, Foot Of The Mountain.  It's an incredible record, by the way.  I discovered it earlier this year and absolutely fell in love with every song.

This was followed up with the title track from their 2005 album Analogue, and then Forever Not Yours off of Lifeline, which was released in 2002.  It was about this time that I noticed a pattern start to emerge.  They began the show with their most recent hits and then worked their way back through their catalog from there.  Sure enough, the next song stayed true to the pattern.  It was Minor Earth Major Sky and Summer Moved On off of their 2000 album, followed by Move To Memphis from the 1993 album Memorial Beach.

Next came four of their hits from their phenomenal 1988 release Stay On These Roads, including The Blood That Moves The Body, the album's title track, and The Living Daylights, which is the band's 007 song that was featured in the opening credits of the first of two Timothy Dalton Bond flicks.  This was followed up by And You Tell Me, which is a beautiful ballad from their 1985 debut album: Hunting High And Low.

After these first eleven songs, the pattern of newest to oldest broke.  They performed Early Morning off of their 1990 album: East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon and then played six of the ten tracks from their second studio album, Scoundrel Days, which was released in 1986, starting with the title track which was followed by The Swing Of Things, We're Looking For The Whales, Manhattan Skyline, I've Been Losing You, and Cry Wolf.  I wish they would have kept going through the album and played one of my favorite A-ha songs, Soft Rains of April, but no such luck.  Still, I have no complaints at all.  This was amazing!

They came back and did two encores with the three biggest songs off of their debut album.  The first encore was The Sun Always Shines On TV and Hunting High And Low.  The second encore, of course, was the iconic Take On Me.  It was the perfect end to an incredible show that I never thought I'd ever have the chance to see in person.  I cannot find the words to express how happy and thankful I am to have seen this.

This was my first time to the Nokia Theater.  It's a really awesome venue that sits in the heart of the biggest city in the world, but it has a very intimate feel.  We had a perfect spot in the front and dead center of the raised general admission riser, surrounded by other A-ha fans, but with room to breathe and a completely unobstructed view.  I couldn't have wished for a better experience.

Here is the full setlist from the show: