A-Ha at the Wiltern

Norwegian synth pop legends A-ha played the first of three shows at the Wiltern in Los Angeles,Ca (rescheduled from Covid-19 pandemic) April 7th. A-ha formed as a trio of Magne Furuholmen (Keys), Morten Harket (Lead vocals), and Pal Waaktaar-Savoy (Guitar). Their touring lineup includes bassist Even Ormestad (Since 2015), Guitarist Lars Horntveth (Since 2010), and drummer Karl-Oluf Wennerberg (Since 2009). A-ha has split up and reunited three different times. The first was 1982-1994 then 1998-2010 and again 2015 to now. Their debut album Hunting High and Low which was the group’s biggest album turned 35 in 2020, but with the Covid-19 Pandemic, they were not able to do these shows celebrating it until 2020. However prior to the pandemic, A-ha had performed 30 shows across Europe, the U.K. Australia, and New Zealand. The trio was in Auckland, NZ when lockdowns began. The tour finally resumed in Buenos Aires, Argentina March 25th and the Wiltern shows were the first in the U.S. on this tour. These were also the first U.S. shows in 12 years and when they played Nokia Theater (NYC) in 2010 those shows were the first they had played in the U.S. in 20 years. It was easy to see the demand to see them here with three Wiltern shows and they’ll be playing the Hollywood Bowl July 31st with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins.

When a band tours for the anniversary of an iconic album, it’s either played beginning to end as it was on the album or in this case not in the same order. The group’s biggest hit “Take On Me,” is the first track on the album, however it was saved for the end of the first set. Also the entire album wasn’t performed, but all five singles were. A-ha opened the show with the second song from the album which was “Train of Thought,” and included hits “Love Is Reason,” and “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.” which came before “Take On Me.” “Take One Me,” could easily be considered one of the greatest music videos to come out of the 80’s with animation that was very advanced at the time. The music video had been parodied by Family Guy and the song to this very day is still a major hit globally. To prove that, “Take On Me,” Hit a billion views in 2020 being the fifth song to come out in the 20th century to do so. It was nominated for eight VMA’s and won six of them. Hunting High and Low went to number one in New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden. In the U.S. it went to 15 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum.

After an intermission A-ha came back to perform another eight songs and a two-song encore. Three of the songs came from their second album Scoundrel Days including the title track, “The Swing of Things,” and “I’ve Been Losing You” was the first encore song. The final song of the show comes from the James Bond film The Living Daylights which was the 15th Bond film and the first of two to include Timothy Dalton. That song was none other than “The Living Daylights.” The band looks great and sounds great after 40 years since forming. It’s only once a decade or two they play the U.S. so these were very special shows.

So far A-ha has released nine albums since 1985 and will release a new album in October this year titled True North. The tour will continue through July with mostly rescheduled dates and some festivals across Europe, South America, and the U.K. before two shows in CA with the Hollywood Bowl being the last show of the tour.