What you’ve missed: a-ha comes to Cape Town
A few late-1960s and 1970s babies were very happy when a-ha announced that they were bringing their Hunting High And Low live tour to South Africa!
Valentines’ Day 2020 will forever be remembered by hundreds of Capetonians as the day a-ha came to Cape Town.
It’s shortly after five o’clock on Friday and groups of fans gather on the greens at Green Point A Track. It’s mid-summer, what a perfect night for a live show. Tonight a-ha is returning to the stage in Cape Town after their trip to South Africa in 1994. It’s 26 years later and everyone is eager to see if the legendary Norwegian band still has it.
I’m glad to see the crowds supporting the local opening acts which include Sean Koch, The World of Birds and Grassy Spark. Each of them brings a different kind of energy to the stage and beautifully shows off why we have some of the most talented artists in the world. The crowds start to get interested and move closer to the stage with their glasses of red wine and ice-cold G&Ts.
A minute after 9 o’clock a-ha appears on stage. The band opens with their most famous song, ‘Take on Me’. To me, it’s a strange choice to open with their biggest hit, but it gets the crowds on their feet immediately. ‘Welcome to 1985!” says lead-singer Morten Harket from the stage, taking off his sunglasses. We’re indeed back in the 80s – here and there is a glimmer of the glamorous decade in the crowd: An old leather jacket, subtle blue eyeshadow, gelled-back hair. Welcome to nostalgia.
As the night goes by, the crowd gets more misty-eyed, a bit looser around the hips. Harket doesn’t speak much, but he ensures the crowd that they will be singing through their first album, ‘Hunting High and Low’ for the first half of the show and then will add other classics and newer hits too. It’s a clever concept, as the crowd can finally see the beloved debut album performed live from start to finish with thousands of fellow fans. It’s one big 1980s house party.
The band stays focused, performing every song with style. The crowd is completely mesmerized all over again by their eighties crushes. In fact, I am sure many a 40-something fell in love harder this time. The guys do look good being in their late 50s and early 60s. Harket is not a man of many words, and Magne Furuholmen on the keyboard does most of the talking. But the man has a stunningly beautiful and unique voice.
It seems that the crowd was waiting for ‘The Sun Always Shines on TV’ and ‘Hunting High And Low’ as everyone sings their hearts out to the two songs. The world, or at least Cape Town, is in love with a-ha again tonight after more than 30 years.
From start to finish, a-ha is as solid as ever. They’ve aged well along with their music. Perhaps this tour is the revival they’ve needed.
Truly a beautiful, well-organised evening.
Photos by David Devo Oosthuizen.