Now less shows left than how many we could already see on tour. The 11th gig happened in the Netherlands, at a cozy venue, Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht. Besides Dutch fans, there were fans mainly from Germany, but also from Australia and Argentina, as well as Hungary, Belgium and probably some other countries. Regarding the queueing, we can’t complain. We were let inside already in the morning, so we didn’t have to wait outside in the cold all day. We weren’t sure about the setup at the venue, if there were seats or a standing area. When we bought our tickets in March it was said to be standing in front of the stage and seated at the upper levels. It was confirmed also the day before the show at the ticket office. Then it suddenly changed into unnumbered seats down there in front of the stage. But it probably worked better this way. There was no mess, because here you could decide yourself where you want to sit. I mean everyone had the same general admission ticket and you could decide on place where you would want to sit.
The support act… oh well. It was Bottles of Love, they started at 19:45. Ehm, first it was even hard to recognize the language the singer used, then it turned out it was English, but with a very strong Dutch accent, so it was hard to understand what he was singing about. We missed Lee a lot. It would have been far much better to have him as a support act during the whole tour. Let’s see how the support will be in Sweden.
PG & Co. hit the stage at 20:45 and this is what they prepared for us:
1. The Look
2. Milk And Toast And Honey
3. Crash! Boom! Bang!
4. Dressed For Success
5. She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
6. Spending My Time
7. I’m Glad You Called
8. Small Town Talk
9. I Have A Party In My Head
10. It Must Have Been Love
11. Opportunity Nox
12. The Big L.
13. Fading Like A Flower
14. Doesn’t Make Sense
15. How Do You Do! (in a medley with No. 16)
17. Queen Of Rain
19. Listen To Your Heart
20. The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye
The Look had its effect, everyone stood up immediately. However, mainly those remained standing during the whole show who were sitting in the front of stage area. One funny thing, when they take a break during The Look and pause for some seconds, now the whole gang point at each other. Who’s got the look? Haha.
After the first song Per talked to the audience and told this is the first time he is playing in U-track. Haha. At least this is how it sounded when he pronounced Utrecht. He asked the crowd to sing along if they know the lyrics.
MATAH sounded absolutely wonderful. After the song Per talked into the mic: ”Milk And Toast And Honey, make it sunny, in a chair.” Then talked about the most expensive pizzas and cheapest wines in Capri and they played CBB. Helena got cheered after the song.
Then came DFS to speed the tempo up a bit. Per asked: ”Are you sitting down? Standing up?” We shouted standing up, he said it’s a good move. Then came the cool live version of SGNO and Per asked Chris in the intro how he felt, Chris said he was happy. The drum solo at the end was outstanding as usual. Christoffer lost his hat again while rocking during the song, but went to pick it up while Per was talking about the next song.
After the first 5 songs we got to hear about Per’s good day in 1990. He woke up in the morning, found a note on his piano left there by his girlfriend: Hello, you fool, I love you. Per said he couldn’t resist but marry her. And it had to be a song, Joyride. He got a shout-in: well done! He showed thumbs up. He had lunch and ate Swedish meatballs, then he felt full. Watched 3 Ingmar Bergman movies on VHS and then he wrote the next song. SMT. Despite the soar throat, Helena sounded beautiful on this too. Actually, Per must have problems with his throat too, since he is drinking a lot of ginger tea during the concerts (already since the first gig), more than usual. And he must be chewing on some tiny bites of ginger in between the songs. At least I can’t imagine him chewing a gum, so it’s rather ginger. But who knows. The 2 soar-throated sounded fab on IGYC. Per said he wrote it for the Party Crasher album, but it wound up on an a Roxette album in the end.
Before STT, Mr. G said he went to record in Nashville and brought some friends along. Chris said into the mic ”I was there!”, then Helena also said ”I was there!”. I really can’t wait to have this live version mastered and released! Amazing!
The very typical Swedish hillbilly music, IHAPIMH turned out to be a unique one in Utrecht. Actually, the third verse became so beautiful, surreal that it was a blackout version. Per sang a little blablabla instead of the lyrics and it sounded too cool. First I thought he would remember the lyrics after the first line in the verse, but it stayed as it is. If anyone has a recording of it, please, share! It was really adorable! We love such ”surprises”! Per just smiled after he finished the song and said ”Thanx, I have a party in my head, all the time!” Haha. I hope it never ends, Mr. G! 😉
Here I went live on our Facebook page, so you could see how the intro talk to IMHBL went and you could also listen to the song and watch what’s happening on stage. This time it was 77 songs Per gave the band to rehearse. Magnus said: ”And we reherased 12. Per wasn’t very glad. So we rehearsed 112. And then he was glad again.” Per: ”Yes, I’m easy.” Magnus: ”Easy to please!” Per said there are a couple of songs that Magnus can’t really live without: Radar Love by Golden Earring, Venus by Shocking Blue and the next one they play, IMHBL. Beautiful live version. Magnus can be happy.
OppNox + TBL, the best part without a doubt! However, I was a bit disappointed that those who were sitting up in the seats were rather lame and stayed seated even during the party songs.
Before FLAF, Per asked Magnus about the ’90s and his ’90s girlfriends. Magnus said he’s happy it’s over with those many girlfriends. Helena got a huge applause after FLAF and she thanked the audience both in Dutch and in English.
While getting prepared for DMS, PG asked if we were having a good time. Yeees! Then something didn’t want to work with the capo and Per said: ”Me and technical stuff…” Magnus was kidding him and Per asked him if he saw his YouTube video on how to put a capo on the guitar. It’s 47 minutes. Haha. We are glad to see any tutorials on GessleHomeVids, feel free to share. The song anyway was fantastic in Utrecht too. Chris went wild at the end, but this time his hand fortunately wasn’t bleeding. However, he asked for a plaster, so his finger still must be aching.
During the band presentation Per said he has the greatest band. He introduced the members one by one and when he finished it he said that’s it. Then Chris said: ”You forgot someone. Vocals, guitar and many, many songs: Per Gessle!” The crowd cheered Per and he thanked kindly. He said he didn’t expect that, that Chris knows his name. Haha. Chris said: ”Surpri-i-ise!”
Then came HDYD and Per said now it’s the crowd’s turn to sing. The intro started and the audience started singing and didn’t want to stop. And just like in Cologne, Per let us sing until the very same line as at the previous show. Mr. G was dancing to our singing and was happy to hear we knew the lyrics. He said: ”Beautiful! Well, the rap section didn’t go that well… Sounds great, thank you very much! So join us on tour! Well, you do, some of you!” Haha. Love these spontaneous reactions. To both HDYD and Dangerous we could party hard and the band was on fire.
Then the gang went off stage and the audience wanted to have them back of course, so they came back and Per said: ”It’s been a great evening, thank you very much. Thanks for having us!” Then they played QOR first, then Joyride which became a little balloon party. Chris couldn’t handle the plaster on his finger anymore, so with the help of his mouth he took it off and threw it away. Some of the balloons ended up on stage while the audience were playing with them and either Per or Chris or Magnus kicked them and they got back above the audience. It was cool to see!
After Joyride the band said goobye, but the crowd didn’t get quiet. We wanted more and we got more in the 2nd encore. When Per was standing in front of his mic stand and got prepared to talk about LTYH a bit, someone shouted ”Hey Mr DJ!”. Per: ”Hey Mr DJ? That was song No. 78.” Haha. I really loved this spontaneity. And his sense of humor is top! So they played LTYH which was awesome and then Per asked the crowd if it’s always like this on Thursdays here. Then he said they do one more song, just for us, because they love us. So it was time for TSHTSG. Another song I’m looking very much forward to having mastered and released on a live CD.
At the end of the gig Per thanked the audience and from a fan he got a balloon on a stick. The balloon was an emoji, the heart-eyed one. He was laughing. Then before they took a bow, he gave it to Malin-My. Then the balloon fell off the stick, Mr. G played with it a bit, pushing it up into the air, then Andreas kicked it, but then Per felt sorry for it and grabbed it up from the stagefloor again and left the stage with that little fellow! Great idea it was from the girl who brought that balloon.
At the merch stand this time there were 2 drumheads, one with Utrecht’s skyline and another with the design of what’s on the T-shirts. Both drumheads were transparent. They put a used pair of drumstick on sale as well. What’s next…?
Here is Mr. G’s opinion about the gig:
UTRECHT, HOLLAND. Oh my God!!! In spite of sore throats and kinda weird acoustics the gig at the Tivoli in Utrecht became WUNDERBAR!!! Jeezus, what have we done to deserve a crowd like this? Amazing! Thanks for all your wonderful voices + keeping this band on its toes! We had the time of our lives tonite. Tomorrow we fly back home for a gig in jolly Halmstad before hitting Russia. But we’ll keep the Utrucht one alive forever! Cheers from Per & Co.
All pics in the article are taken by Patrícia Peres.