A-ha didn’t know what they were taking on when they jetted into Aberdeen for their sell-out gig 35 years ago.
The Norwegian heart-throbs were mobbed by love-struck fans the second they stepped off their plane and onto the runway at Aberdeen Airport in December 1986.
The pop trio landed in the Granite City on December 4 to kick off the UK leg of their world tour with the first date at Aberdeen’s Capitol.
Keen teen fans in Aberdeen had snapped up the a-ha tickets when they went on sale eight months beforehand, to guarantee seeing their pop idols.
And much to the delight of young Aberdonians, a teachers’ strike coincided with the day of the concert meaning schools were closed.
The unexpected day off afforded a band of young devotees the opportunity to travel to the airport to greet a-ha as they touched down in Scotland for the first time.
Superfan 13-year-old Kathryn Atkinson waited patiently at the airport from 7.30am in the hope of glimpsing the ’80s icons – and her efforts paid off.
The Aberdeen Grammar pupil’s determination was rewarded when she got an autograph and quick chat with lead singer Morten Harket, and presented him with Archie – Aberdeen Airport’s bear mascot.
The rest of the band swept arrivals to a waiting coach, but Morten was besieged by swooning fans clamouring for autographs.
One Aberdeen schoolgirl had a novel way of capturing the attention of her favourite pop pin-up.
Bridge of Don pupil Anne Christine Espedal was Norwegian herself and turned Morten’s head by calling to him in their native language.
Unfortunately, Anne didn’t have a ticket for the gig, but said she would go along to the Capitol anyway and was prepared to pay up to £20 to see the “wonderful band” if there was one available on the night.
Speaking to the Evening Express, Morten said: “It is my first visit to Scotland. The problem is we won’t actually get much chance to see Scotland.
“But I’m hoping to get another opportunity to look around when we do another gig here.”
A-ha were certainly made very welcome on their first trip to Scotland and the hero’s welcome continued on stage that night.
The Take On Me hitmakers were greeted by “a sea of screaming, waving and stomping fans” at the Capitol.
Morten and fellow bandmates guitarists Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Magne Furuholmen were treated to “ear-splitting shrieks” from city schoolgirls from the moment the curtain went up to the end of the concert.
The pop sensations entertained 2000 fans in the packed venue with an hour-long set of hits from their 1985 debut album Hunting High and Low and the 1986 follow-up Scoundrel Days.
The rampaging fans’ conduct was was described as being akin to the frenzied scenes of Beatlemania in the 1960s.
Half an hour into the set, stewards were having to pull trampled fans to safety.
Astounded Capitol manager Herbert Donald quipped: “I haven’t seen anything like this since the Bay City Rollers.”
Every time Morten went near the front of the stage “a forest of hands” shot up up to grab at him.
And the Press and Journal reviewer said of the concert said: “I would not have given lead signer Morten Harket much chance of living if he’d fallen into the fans in the front row.
“They’d have ripped him to pieces.”
Hit single Hunting High and Low lead into I’ll Be Losing You, with the band finished with Scoundrel Days.
There were hysterical scenes as the band returned for an encore of Take On Me, the song that propelled the synth stars to the top of the charts around the world.
As the band bid farewell to the Granite City, Morten put his life in his hands by stopping to shake hands with fans while leaving the stage.
But the 200 teens waiting outside in the rain hoping to catch a glimpse of their idols were left disappointed.
A-ha were whisked away minutes after the show ended to head south to Dundee where they were played the Caird Hall to similar scenes the following night.
If you enjoyed this, you might like: