Per Gessle arrived home! The 12th gig on tour he played in his beloved hometown, Halmstad. That was the show held in the biggest venue, Halmstad Arena having the biggest crowd on tour so far. It was quite cold in jolly Halmstad, so the queueing was different vs. when there is a concert in the summer. The security team was nice, they let people inside the arena until they really had to arrange the entrance, so then everyone had to go outside again. Everyone was relaxed, we walked all the way to the stage when we were finally let in.
There was a big space left for the standing crowd in front of the stage and there were seats as well, in a usual arena setting. There were big screens on both sides of the stage and cameras set at several places. It seems they were only using them for the screens, not for recording the gig.
The support act, Nano played for appr. half an hour. He was one of the Melodifestivalen contestants and he has a nice voice.
Before the show started, we could see Åsa welcoming guests at the seats that were closest to the stage on both sides. Friends and family. We could spot some familiar faces, Mats MP Persson was among them.
PG & Co. didn’t prepare a different setlist for Halmstad, they performed the usual 20 songs, spicing them with a little Gyllene Tider here and there in the intros. The biggest difference vs. the other shows was that Per of course talked in Swedish in between the songs.
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 was a great starter in the arena, however, it’s always difficult to animate a Swedish crowd. They weren’t too loud and they left their boogie shoes at home. Business as usual. Anyway, we had much fun in the front.
After The Look Per talked to the audience and told this is the first time he plays Halmstad Arena. He was there to watch table tennis and handball matches, but never performed there. He asked the crowd to sing along if they know the lyrics, because they love it. He asked Christoffer what he thinks and Chris said yeah, he often sings along.
After MATAH I went live on our Facebook page, so you could hear Per told the audience it’s a European tour and this is the first gig in Sweden. Then he talked about the 6-week-long recording adventure in Capri, the place of most expensive pizzas. They performed CBB then. After the song Mr. G mentioned that the title was inspired by Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock.
Per asked: ”Are you sitting? I can’t really see it.” It was time to speed it up and play DFS. Then came SGNO with a short Ljudet av ett annat hjärta intro and with the fab drum solo at the end and Chris losing his hat. The crowd was… hm. As I said, no boogie shoes on their feet.
PG said the last time he had such a good day as today was in May 1990. He woke up in the morning, probably on Torsgatan in Halmstad, found a note on his piano: ”Hej, din tok, jag älskar dig” (Hello, you fool, I love you). It wasn’ left there by his mother, but his girlfriend, now wife. The day wasn’t over yet, he bought some meatballs at Regnbågen and had lunch. Then his good friend, MP came over and they wrote another song together which they play now. Per said MP is certainly sitting in the crowd now somewhere. So they performed SMT and then came IGYC. Per said he wrote it for the Party Crasher album, but it was released later on a Roxette album, he can’t remember on which, there are so many.
Before STT, Mr. G said he always had the dream of going to Nashville and record with those fantastic local musicians there. Per said they play a song which the crowd surely knows in Swedish, but now they play it in English. When Malin-My started playing the violin on this one, the crowd realized what song Per was talking about and the reactions were ”aaaw!” and loud applause. Småstadsprat is still often played on Swedish radios.
Then it was the turn of Swedish hillbilly music, IHAPIMH and then in the intro talk to IMHBL Per said he gave 72 songs to the band to rehearse and there was one he didn’t really want to play, but it turned out to be 1 of Magnus’s 3 fave songs. The other 2 are Mickey by Carola and Hej hej Monika. The audience was singing along to IMHBL, but even if the arena was huge and the acoustics could have been nice there, it wasn’t too loud.
OppNox + TBL, my fave party session was not as much of a party in Halmstad. It wasn’t the band’s fault though. The crowd was just too lazy.
Before FLAF, Per asked Magnus if he likes the ’90s. Magnus said he IS the ’90s. He was born in 1991. Haha. Per asked Magnus about his ’90s girlfriends too, but they didn’t talk too much about the topic. After FLAF Helena got a huge applause. She thanked in Swedish. Her family was also there in the crowd.
DMS sounded cool in the arena. Chris got back to the bleeding routine. Poor guy, his finger started bleeding again and had to get some plaster.
Then came the band presentation and Per said he has a wonderful band. He introduced everyone one by one and when he finished Chris said: ”Who is the man in the middle? Vocals, guitar and many many good songs: Per Gessle!” The crowd cheered him.
Then came HDYD and Per tried the teaser, but since the crowd didn’t start singing, he went on with his version. Dangerous was the last song before the gang went off stage.
The audience was shouting and clapping, but I would have liked to hear some more typical Swedish cheering from them. The band came back anyway and Per said they were only halfway into the set. We wished… Haha. They performed QOR and Joyride. In the intro to Joyride, Chris played a little När vi två blir en.
Before the 2nd encore, the audience was a bit louder and yes, they started singing Sommartider. Per came up on stage and showed thumbs up and danced a bit to the tunes. But of course, they didn’t perform Sommartider, but LTYH instead. Then TSHTSG closed the set and Per thanked for a fantastic evening.
HALMSTAD! Yeehaa. Thanks for doing our very first gig at the Halmstad Arena such a pleasure. Lots of familiar faces around. Nice!!!! We’ll be back. Russia next! /P.
All pics in the article are taken by Patrícia Peres.