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Minsk concert. June 30th, 2002.

Thursday, August 19th, 2004
Anna Sapun

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Before I share my concert impressions with you, I’ll tell a short foreword. My love to A-HA started at the time of their “second coming”: the release of ‘Minor Earth Major Sky’ and namely ‘Summer Moved On’. That melody, which slinks into your soul, triggers misterious emotion and trembling, woke up my childhood memories about A-HA. Blurry images of Stay On This Road, motorcicles, foaming sea, light sadness of the melody appeared from deep inside me. After these memories I saw Morten with his hair style which was fashionable at that time in Take On Me (he reminded me Patrick Swayze in “Dirty Dancing”).

I felt the splash of memories and hurricane of overwhelming emotions at the same time, like if I’ve heard a forgotten melody. It was like a fleeting glance of eluding love, which was in past and reminded about itself again, brought memories and now it’s eluding again, but promising new impressions, and you are left with light sadness and sweet hope. After all this experience during short 4 min 37 seconds, feeling it all in future when listening to their songs, I realised that since you loved this music it attracts you more and more every time. It envelops you and sounds in your head. It is love which you can forget about in crazy rythm of weekdays, but it always takes you back to the sweet meditation as soon as you get in touch with it and gives you feeling of light sadness of the past and sunny future. And the 30th June day of year 2002 promised me such a sunny future.

I saw A-HA billboard 2 months before the concert and couldn’t believe my eyes. I remember my envy reading the article in “Komsomolskaya Pravda” about A-HA Moscow visit in support of their album ‘Minor Earth Major Sky’. Sure, it was Moscow where crowds of celebrities come to! The dream that A-HA would come to Minsk was almost unreal. But I dreamed! And here it is: low-key yellow placard with red letters and “brand” signature ‘A-HA’ hangs on the billboard post. I couldn’t have believed. I ran closer to the billboard, read it attentively again: “A-HA within the world tour with programme “Lifelines”, stadium “Dinamo”, 30th of June”. One more familiar word “Lifelines” gave me hope that it is not a misprint and not an occasional coincidence (something like that I remind about Sandra’s concert in Minsk).

After coming back to my senses I swiftly ran (yes, namely ran!) to the central ticket office. Upon arrival there I found out that tickets hadn’t been released for sale yet. It upset me a little bit, but I was also glad because tickets were not sold out yet and I had a chance. I was able to buy a ticket only two weeks later. It appeared that I was the first customer (at least at the central ticket office), and it made me very happy. In my joy I obtain by persistent asking a poster from the sales person, and that poster still occupies its honour place in my house and reminds me of magic hours in my life.

So, I have a ticket in my hands, the only thing was to wait until 30th of June. Days ran slowly in agonizing tedious waiting.

30th of June, “Dinamo” stadium. Having occupied my place I understood that I could only see small figures of Morten, Paul and Magne half face, but I wasn’t really upset, because I knew I’d see and hear them alive! People gradually arrived and took their places. I have to notice that spectators occupied only a small part of the stadium: small semicircle in front of the scene. A glimpse to the half-empty seats made me sorry for the country, wich run in agitation to the concert of a russian pop-star, but is not aware of real music! Half-empty stadium was only the benefit for everyone presenting. At 9 pm (planned time of the beginning of the concert) organizers gave presenting spectators an opportunity to occupy empty places closer to the centre. I was lucky in this sprint! I took a really good place which I being a student without constant income couldn’t afford. After taking comfortable places the public began animating in anticipation of the event.

And so, the pefomance began: a black limousin went onto the scene, and there were those whom I was waiting for so long! Limousine stopped behind the scene, and we couldn’t see who get off it. Suddenly from behind of the lifting crane, which was closer to me (there were two lifting cranes which were holding the huge loud spiker consisting of many ones on the both sides of the scene) Morten appeared and waved his hand. The public screeched and screamed: “Harket! Harket!”

A-HA went onto the scene and the first song was ‘Minor Earth Major Sky’. I can’t describe what I felt then: overwhelming joy, splash of adrenaline. I could hardly believe my eyes and ears. But there they are, those I was waiting for so much, in several dozens of meters: handsome Morten with his magic voice, portly “maestro” Magne and Grig of nowadays Paul.

When Magne greeted us and said in poor belarussian “Pryvitanne Minsk!” he got storm of applause.

I felt myself like in a dream, when you don’t want the dream to finish, but you realise that it’s inevitable and therefore do your best to remember it.

A-HA sang many songs, there were new and old ones. From being overwhelmed with feelings, my memory betrayed me. And it seems not only me. Morten often had a look into small notebook laying on the floor, looked through it to learn what goes next according to their plan turning pages with his feet. A lot of their songs had a new sound, with modern kind of things. I sang familiar songs, many people were singing too. After going through the first stage “Minsk – the city of cold sounds” (there was no warming up) there were no people sitting on their places, A-HA made the public dance (and some people dare to say that you can’t dance listening A-HA). Pure voice of Morten, dear voice. I remembered the poem of Mayakovski: “I will sew for myself a trousers from the velvet of my voice”. Tender, caressing and at the same time strong velvet of Morten’s voice...

Music get sounded and I didn’t understand at first what song sounded, but from the first tone of Morten’s voice was clear that it was ‘Hunting High And Low’. The public animated and started singing, having heard the familiar motive. Morten noticed that and of course decided to sing the refrain with us. Very few people knew words other than «Hunting high and low» and «A-A-A-A», but Morten wasn’t upset, he was satisfied with what he heard anyway. Of course, there was ‘Take On Me’ and all the audience felt euphoria.

Having warmed up that “fridge factory” to the state of euphoria Morten says “thanks” and everyone leaves the scene. There were no limits to the bewilderment of the audience. I thought: “How about the Summer Moved On?”. After such a perfomance we couldn’t let them go. After not a long scansion A-HA appeared on the scene again, and there were no limits to the joy of spectators who were crying so loud that the half of Minsk could hear it! A-HA sang several more songs and ‘Summer Moved On’ was among them. The last song was ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’, which was one of the most favourite Mortens songs as I believed.

Concert finished. All musicians walked throught the stadium to the one of the exits (though the black limousine was at their service). They walked, sometimes looked over their shoulders, waved hands, smiled untill passed out of sight. The crowd was moving to the exit, and I standed and looked at the point were the people who gave me 1 hour 40 minutes of happiness disappeared. How Sweet it was!!!

This story was translated from Russian by the author and Julia Krisanova.

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