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Just Follow Your Lifeline Through

Friday, September 27th, 2002
Maria Kozlova

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(Moscow-Riga-Moscow, 6-10 September 2002)

What to begin with? Hmm, I guess with the decision to go to the concert of A-HA in Riga. Actually it occurred to me immediately after their second Moscow concert. "Why not?" I asked myself. You have been waiting for their first concert in Moscow for so many long years (in comparison, the second one took place literally in a day), to have been present at their press-conferences all that should get some logical continuation. Moreover, it was my strong wish to see and listen to them beyond our Motherland. And here you are the opportunity is coming my way, besides the route is not too long (900 kilometres) and to discover a new city for myself will be great. Generally speaking Ill join pleasant and useful together.

Well, when once early in July I switched on TV and their clip "Lifelines" was on, then immediately after Valeria sang "Riga-Moscow" so you see, that was a sign from above.

The first thing to do was to book a ticket to the concert. Dear Marianna now a good friend but then just an A-HA-fan from Internet helped me. Having remitted money by Western Union (its perfectly ridiculous that the remittance was more expensive than the ticket to the concert), having absent myself from work, having got the visa (at the Embassy people got interested why I was going to Riga and it was a pleasure to tell them my reasons even in written form), having bought a tram-ticket, having booked a hotel and having drawn the slogan "HI from MOSCOW" I left. That same evening September 6, several more girls left for Riga by bus.

I cant but say a couple of words about the city of Riga. Its a beautiful, cosy, keeping its ancient spirit city. Three days were enough to see the whole of Old Riga, since I could afford "Konvetna Seta" the hotel located in the very heart of Old Riga (it wasnt my goal to stay at "Radisson SAS" where A-HA stayed).

And so

And so on September 8, at 4 p.m. we (the admirers of A-HA from Riga and me) got on a car and went to Mezhapark a recreation park in the northern outskirts of Riga with an open platform for concerts. The concert was due to begin at 7 p.m. the admittance at 5 p.m. From 4.20 p.m. to 6 p.m. we queued without moving as A-HA was rehearsing with short breaks. We could hear them rehearsing "The Sun Always Shines in TV", "Minor Earth Major Sky" and "The Swing of Things" which they did five times. When at 6 p.m. A-HA left to have a rest at the hotel we were let in and I rushed off (saying "I" I mean my friends & I were crowding around and couldnt get together but I was the nearest to the entrance). Having stuck my soap-dish-like camera further away I ran to the security guards who examined us, then farther on to the platform, which was surrounded by two rows of people who had got there from the other entrance. Later we found out that several of them were fans of the Finnish group "The Crash" who did warming up. But I managed to find a good place, which later on turned out the best. I began waiting for my Riga-friends. It was great that we were all together! We stood stuck in the same place till 8.20 p.m. talking, laughing, waiting for all the audience to get in, there were 30 thousand people. The warming up went on from 8.20 to 9 p.m.

Meanwhile I noticed that in the right-hand corner of the platform someone was adjusting the camera, who do you think it was Lauren Savoy the first surprise.

Five hours on foot were felt - feet began to ache and it seemed stuffy, there being no wind, although we were in the open air and the night wasnt hot. But as soon as at 9.20 p.m. I saw A-HA entering the stage I forgot about aching feet and sweltering air. New energy and fresh air filled me.

The power of A-HA art is a great thing!!!

Goodness, it was a fabulous concert! How unanimously they worked for the audience. How open to the public and natural they were. They all were in high spirits even Paul smiled. Nothing to say about us.

Morten Harket Morten sang without pitying himself "Time and Again", "Scoundrel Days", "Summer Moved On" the songs and his voice penetrated under my skin, occupying the whole room of my soul. Then I felt that the depth and width of my soul were boundless. One hour and forty minutes of overwhelming life, one hour and forty minutes during which you live through the most beautiful emotions ever exist in this world. That was the moment "where the power of life lives". How nice it was that Morten and Paul performed right in front of us (remember about the best place I had occupied). And when Mags joined them that was groovy.

The Latvians were nice, everyone joined the chorus in "Manhattan Skyline", moreover nobody got shy when Morten turned the microphone to the audience, but during "Hunting High and Low" when Morten was conducting us and "The Living Daylights" everyone got worked up. Morten said: "Well, go on singing the chorus all you are tired." By the last five songs I had already stood in the first row! For me it was a sign to show up my slogan "HI from MOSCOW". Oh, that was a moment. Certainly Morten noticed and smiling widely nodded in approval as if saying: "Good for you!" Then Lauren noticed me and made several video-camera shots of me!

Oh, that miracle flew away just like one moment.

That is not the end of my narration as you can guess. At about midnight we got to our car and naturally there appeared the wish to go to the hotel where A-HA stayed. Me and MortenIn 25 minutes time we were near the "Radisson SAS" and in about 5 minutes time their bus approached the hotel! They all were tired but happy. I didnt get lost. I said to Mags that the concert was fascinating, to Morten that he was inimitable. Morten agreed to have snaps taken both with me and us. I should note that neither at night nor in early hours we lost control. A-HA noticed it and was kind to us. I was glad for my girl-friends who saw A-HA so close for the first time, they were among the few in the world. But we did it! Lauren was shooting the whole procedure. She recognized me and asked: "Oh, is that you from Moscow?" I said: "Yes, here I am!" I passed my warmest regard into the video-camera.

Me, Margarita, Morten, Marianna, Elena, and Zhanna
Me, Margarita, Morten, Marianna, Elena, and Zhanna

I got back to the hotel at half past one in the morning. It was time to go to bed. "Oh, but how can I sleep with your voice in my head?!?" I drifted to sleep almost at dawn.

September 9th, 2002

At 8 a.m. I was already on my feet. Having given our films to "one hour snap-shots", we went to see off A-HA. I didnt remember where I had heard 11.40 a.m. but the time stuck in my head. O.K., but where to go? To the hotel if they go by bus or to the airport? Several of us went to the airport. We got into the car and started thinking logically, if A-HA arrived by a Lithuanian bus and their next concert was due in Vilnius wed rather go to the hotel, and right we were their bus stood at the hotel. We phoned the girls who had gone to the airport and soon they joined us.

And then came a long parting

At 11.20 a.m. they started to go out in turn Lauren, Paul with his son, Mags and Morten. They all were glad to see the same people as the night before, 30 thousand at the concert was nice, but its pleasant that there were a few to see them off. Lauren was well disposed towards us and was glad that we wished to have a snap taken with her. She asked about our impression of the concert! After that she said: "Now let me to make several shots of you". And again we were shot on the video-camera. Whats more we had a Norwegian flag with us (good for the girls who brought it from Moscow).

Me, Lauren, and Marianna
Me, Lauren, and Marianna

We were touched by the scene "Father and Son" when after Paul with his luggage strolled his son with a little trunk.

Augie and Paul
Father and son

Having put the luggage into the bus Mags joined us. We all got his autograph me including as in Moscow at both press-conferences I hadnt managed to get one particularly from Mags (a pleasant trifle).

Marianna, Mags, Zhanna, Elena, and Margarita
Marianna, Mags, Zhanna, Elena, and Margarita

The last one to appear was Morten. He got rational at once first autographs then snap-shots. It was just the time to tell that we were waiting for them both in Moscow and Riga. He answered: "Take care! Well be back soon!"

Me and MortenHow great that morning event passed so steadily and in a dignified manner. Everything was so simple and private. The final chord was our "Have a nice trip" shouted in chorus in the Norwegian language and the lap of honour of their bus. They all in the bus were waving their hands to us and we spread the flag, shouted and signaled from the car!

That is how it all happened and would happen again!

Those three days presented me not only with a fascinating concert, warm meetings with A-HA, sweet impressions of Riga, but also wonderful friends!

Great thanks are to my Riga-friends who were with me through all three days! Great thanks are to the girls from my native city of Moscow who like me left for Riga! Great thanks are to Morten, Paul, Lauren and Magne, that they were so kind and friendly with us! They presented us so many wonderful and unforgettable moments!

There will be always a place for A-HA in my heart, because "I know that Ill need this for the rest of my life!"

MARIA V. KOZLOVA

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