City Hall opens up for rock band a-ha

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Oslo’s top politicians have agreed to let the legendary Norwegian rock band a-ha use City Hall for a final bash when the band wraps up its farewell concert tour in December. Ticket sales for the band’s summertime appearance in Oslo were so strong, meanwhile, that organizers have come up with more.

A-ha, which launched its farewell tour in South America in March, is currently in North America, with concerts scheduled in New York this week, then in Toronto, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The band’s “Ending on a high note” tour will hold a series of concerts at home in Norway this summer in addition to what the band claims will be its final appearances in Oslo in December.

An August 21 concert at Oslo’s Ullevaal Stadium in the three band members’ home town sold 16,000 tickets, so organizers are expanding seating capacity to 25,000. That means another 9,000 tickets are being sold (for NOK 595 each, equal to about USD 100) for the Oslo gig, along with thousands more for concerts in Bergen and Trondheim.

The extra sales will bring in another NOK 52 million for the band, reported newspaper Aftenposten. In addition to concerts in Tromsø and Stavanger, a-ha also sold out all three “final” concerts at the Oslo Spektrum in December.

Band members Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy will clearly be in a mood to celebrate when it’s all over, and Oslo city leaders are going to let them party in City Hall on December 4, just a week before the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is held there on December 10.

The band will be allowed to invite 1,000 of their “closest friends” and associates at midnight, to celebrate 25 years since their biggest hit, Take on me, set records around the world. Newspaper Aftenposten reports that guests will be served drinks and “finger food” and be entertained by a-ha’s own music.

The city won’t be paying for any of it and in fact will be paid NOK 45,000 by a-ha’s concert arrangers. Local politicians nonetheless went through three rounds of meetings before approving the event, fearing it would violate rules of use for the venerable City Hall.

The venue can be used, according to the rules, if the event “has a public or municipal interest,” or is of “special importance” to the city or the country.

“This is of course a bit cool,” Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang told Aftenposten. “A-ha has brought a lot of recognition to Oslo and to Norway, and the band is so special that I thought we just had to let this happen.”

Stang stressed that a-ha’s managers will provide all security and be responsible for the event. He noted that he hasn’t received an invitation himself, as of yet, “but if I do, and it fits my schedule, I will gladly attend.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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