Sun shines on Bloomfield Road for Scandi trio's take on Blackpool

In the summer of 1988, the eight-year-old me had two treasured possessions.

Sunday, 17th June 2018, 11:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 3:36 pm
a-ha's Magne Furuholmen and Morten Harket on stage at Bloomfield Road
a-ha's Magne Furuholmen and Morten Harket on stage at Bloomfield Road

One was an a-ha tour T-shirt, from my first ever gig - watching the Norwegian pop stars at Cornwall Coliseum.

The other, a perfect piece of Blackpool tat; a pink satin cushion with an iron-on image of a-ha's lead singer, the ridiculously handsome Morten Harket with whom I'd fallen instantly head over heels in love with a couple of years earlier during an episode of Top Of The Pops.

I can't quite remember, but I probably kissed that cushion goodnight every night before bed...

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a-ha, from left, Magne Furuholmen, Morten Harket and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy at Blackpool FC's Bloomfield Road ground

Fast forward 30 years, and I wasn't alone in being transported back to the 80s for a nostalgia fest with the Take On Me hit-makers when they played Bloomfield Road as part of their Electric Summer tour on Saturday night.

That same tour which took me to the St Austell venue, also included a-ha's last Blackpool date at the Opera House, so fans had been waiting a long time for another local show - despite the Scandinavian trio regularly touring throughout the intervening years.

Despite some heavy showers earlier in the day, no one was left Crying In The Rain by the time Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy took to the stage for a non-stop 90 minutes of music, following warm up sets from Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey and OMD.

Opening with Cry Wolf, we were instantly sent back in time, although the journey faltered somewhat when mics and ear pieces failed during second track The Blood That Moves The Body, leaving Harket looking uncomfortable as he, his band mates and their six backing musicians battled to stay together through that and another couple of tracks.

Fans at a-ha's Blackpool FC gig

The initial momentum didn't really return for some time, and an original demo version of Train Of Thought felt a tad indulgent - the album version, for me, is definitely the better.

While a still swoon-worthy Harket's voice may not quite have the same enormous range of 30 years ago, it still impresses, flitting between chest and falsetto in the blink of an cheekily-wrinked eye, and he maintained a strong and silent presence between numbers, leaving the minimal patter to keyboardist Furuholmen.

A fairly small audience within the confines of Blackpool Football Club's ground, thousands of seats remained unsold and empty, meant the atmosphere never quite reached its full potential - although the light of a near midsummer night's sky perhaps doesn't best lend itself to the Norwegians' moody synth sounds.

The night picked up the pace in the latter stages, when they returned to the hits for a rousing final section; Hunting High And Low, Furuholmen leading a simple singalong in this, I've Been Losing You, and The Sun Always Shines On TV.

An encore came as no surprise, when Bond theme The Living Daylights and the iconic Take On Me hadn't yet featured in the night's set list, and made for a euphoric sing- and dance-along ending to the night.

Now, where did I put that cushion...