So yeah, I clicked a link to a video from a forum today. It was good. I clicked another link. That video was good. I - gasp - used the search box and found even more good videos. Damn it. Now I've been watching videos for two hours and I have nothing to say for my time and I want to salvage something, to feel like I haven't wasted two hours of my life. Thus, some links to share!
Come on, you knew it was coming to that ;-)
Through a roundabout click-search process which started with a Norwegian TV feature about a-ha in London in July 2009, I stumbled on a clip of Magne and Paul performing 'Dragonfly' in Oberhausen in 2002:
Wow this brought back memories! I remember how excited I was to hear that Magne and Paul each sang a song during the third leg of the Lifelines tour, and how I looked forward to seeing a-ha at Wembley even more because of this addition to the setlist. They were both amazing that night.
I also remember the year before when 'Dragonfly' was released; people tore up Magne's vocals and people defended him fiercely. And while I was ready to give him full marks for striking out on his own and doing something incredibly brave, I wasn't quite ready to consider his solo music as anything but a slight distraction from a-ha - until I watched his performance on HitAwards online on September 15, 2001:
If it's the first time you've seen that clip, I don't suppose it's too impressive. It's playback for one thing, and it's not really the kind of song you'd normally hear at an awards show. If I wanted to convert someone into a Magne F fan, I would not start with this clip, that's for sure. But it all started for me that night, four days after the September 11 attacks.
It had already been four days of emotions: compulsively watching TV coverage, the towers falling over and over, the outpouring of grief from those who lost loved ones, the shock and horror of the accounts of survivors; the eerie silence in the skies while all flights were grounded (I live near an international airport, and have done for most of my life - for me, it was absolutely the strangest, saddest thing to be constantly aware that no planes were in the air at all), the quiet but fervent prayers of 'safe journey' lifted heavenward when the planes started flying over again; the shock and fear and disillusionment and pain and patriotism and grief and determination. Those were some of the worst days many of us have ever experienced, it was a tragedy for all of humanity.
I only dredge all this up to put it into context. Watching the concert online at that precise moment in time, with so many other emotions so near the surface, I was struck by the fact that it was the first time Magne had performed as a solo artist, so it seemed doubly brave for him to sing out there alone on that huge stage about loyalty and devotion, about standing by someone to the end, when the whole world was mourning a great loss of life, innocence and security. There was a dignity and respect throughout the entire awards show that night, it was something any artist would have been proud to have taken part in. I realized then that I had underestimated Magne as a solo musician, and from that point on I paid closer attention to his projects.
Now go watch this. Stick with it to the end, the time lapse is so funny ;-)