Review: Kärleken till livet – Marie Fredriksson’s biography

karlekentill_inb_lowJust as short note before you go on reading. I tried to write this review without too many details – but there may still be some spoilers. So if you want to experience the feeling of getting the book and reading it yourself… stop reading here (and come back when you’ve read it). 

I got “Kärleken till livet” on Sunday, directly from the book fair (thank you Paula!), and couldn’t wait to start reading it. But I would still have to wait for some hours… travelling and getting home first! The first thing I did when I got it in my hands was to look at the pictures, the design, the outside. And comment the first impressions with dear friends. The book looks very classy and nice. Once you open the book you see pictures of leather jackets, what? you may wonder. Well, Marie loves her leather jackets, she has a huge collection, and part of it has a special place in the book.

Then I looked at the pictures in the book. There are three sections with pictures in it, with short comments about them. Some are funny, nice, some are shocking, painful.

A special one for me, that I spotted inmediately, was the one of Marie and Efva Attling. Marie mentions Efva in the book a couple of times, like that they have the tradition to meet for a Christmas lunch, which they have kept for 30 years.  It made me remember the 4-hour long interview/talk I had with Efva back in 2002. She explained many things about Marie and their friendship and also that they could talk for hours non-stop…

You also see Marie when she was small, her parents, siblings, Roxette, Micke, her children and pictures of the worst times of her illness. Another special picture is the list of names of the prayer chain that Marie Davis from Australia organised back when Marie got sick. Many fans added their name to the prayer chain and the list of names was sent to Marie, who put it in a frame and mentions that it means a lot to her. In the book she mentions that she keeps other presents she has received from fans and that fans are very important to her.

I started to read the book at the CPH airport but soon I realised I needed to be alone to read it, so I decided I would start in the evening when I get home. Be aware, the book is a page turner, so make sure you have the time to go on reading, or you don’t mind going to work very tired the next day. I read the book on Sunday evening, Monday morning, Monday evening and finished Tuesday morning. I couldn’t put it down, even though some parts were hard to take. But there are many nice touching ones too. Don’t forget to have some tissues around…

The book is written by Helena von Zweigbergk, who I think has done a great job write down Marie’s words. Helena explained last weekend on the book fair in Gothenburg about the process. She would meet Marie, go back home and write down what they had been talking about and get back to Marie, read the text to Marie and get her feedback. Sometimes Marie would remember new things, or want things written differently or changed.

And it feels at times as if you would be sitting in Marie’s kitchen having a coffee with her and talking about life, memories, anecdotes. Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry, you are shocked, you feel love, it’s a roller coaster of feelings. There are many parts where I could relate to and probably you will too, either because we have lived part of her stories “from the other side”, our side, or because it’s about things in life one has experienced or has had to deal with in a way or another. From meeting the big love to family matters to feeling good or bad about oneself.

The book is not written in chronological order but starts with Marie telling about September 11, 2002, the day Marie fell on the floor and had to be taken urgently to the hospital. Probably many of you will remember that day. For me it’s one of those days I will never forget. I had just moved to Austria and I didn’t have a job, I remember checking some online newspapers and the article on Expressen and Aftonbladet about Marie. We were all shocked. I remember the emails on the mailing list, the comments on TDR, emails and chats with friends, quickly set up a get-well wishes page (more than 1000 messages were later printed out and sent to her). That day we just knew that Marie had had an injury. Some days later we got the fatal news about the tumour. And the rest we know. Or we thought we knew. We have heard from Per, the book about Roxette, Marie herself in articles and interviews about those years, but the book gives some more insight about all those years, the treatment and long-term side effects of the operations and treatment. It is touching to read (tissues!). But in a way it is optimistic, with a feeling of hope, never give up. Marie wants to share her experience and with that help other people in same or similar situations. But also wants us to know that she is feeling fine now and is enjoying life and every day.

Helena has followed Marie on tour a couple of times, both her solo tour that started in Helsingborg on February 19, 2014 and Roxette’s 30th Anniversary tour. Helena writes about her impressions of seeing Marie on stage, giving it all and being the queen of the whole place. There are also comments from Per, Dea, Christoffer and other band members about Marie. And, of course, also from Marie Dimberg, Marie’s manager and friend. One thing that touches me is that even though I don’t know Marie, my impression of pure feeling, big heart, strength, energy, fighting spirit, that charisma that one gets from her smiles, her looks, her words, gestures is also mentioned and described by those talking about Marie in the book. It’s something that I noticed before when interviewing Chris or Dea, for example, or talking with friends. Now after reading the book, we have talked again about this and we felt the same. For me this only has one explanation, and it’s that Marie is just who she is, herself. And that she is a very special person.

Marie also remembers her childhood, growing up in a family that had to count every cent, how she loved to sing already as a kid (she was singing all the time and she still does), that she could not keep still for a second, her love to music. She also mentions that she has always had a special connection with nature and animals, she loves flowers, her tree in the garden, birds.  She goes on telling about moving to Halmstad, Strul, MaMas Barn, then to Stockholm, starting her solo career and Roxette. Like I said, there is no real order in the book, so stories are nicely brought to the reader connecting things Marie tells of the present and remembering the past.

Roxette is very special to Marie. She is very proud of what she and Per have achieved, and it was also Roxette that helped her back. As Helena mentions, “Dangerous” was the first song Marie hummed after the 3rd operation and suffering aphasia. We have also heard many times before, and Marie says this in the book too. Touring and being back with Roxette is the best therapy she could get. Marie also mentions her special relation with Per and the many great things they have done together.

There are also some interesting bits of information in the book. Like the fact that Marie and her family have a cat, Sessan. I didn’t know that and being a cat person myself (got two of them!) it just brought a big smile on my face. Helena was also at Marie’s home when Per, Christoffer and Clarence went to Marie’s to record two new songs for Roxette’s upcoming album, “Some Other Summer” and “It just happens”. An up-tempo and a ballad. And the book comes with a list of songs that mean a lot to Marie and her comments about these songs. The playlist can be found on Spotify!

And, of course, Micke, her husband, and her children have a huge place in the book. Micke and Marie tell about how they met in Australia and that they had engaged just a couple of days after having met. Marie also thanks Micke a couple of times for having been by her side all this time. For the good and the bad. She also mentions the small things in life that make her happy.

And actually these are the parts that touched me the most of all. These parts and how Marie – through a book (!) and her words, transported to us by Helena – spreads this energy and strength that to me, makes her so special. The success story, the keeping stubborn and fighting to do what she loves, sing and enjoy life. There are sad, shocking parts in the book, but always with this feeling of hope. It’s all about her love, love to/from her family, friends, music, love to live. Kärleken till livet.

I know I need to read it once again, or twice. There are many things to take in and reflect about one’s life too. It’s a very special and powerful book that I hope will be picked up with publishers outside of Sweden and be translated to at least the major languages. It’s not just a book about a pop star and the life on tour, but about life, about falling down and standing up again, the important things in life.

Aaand the book left me wanting for more! I want to read more of the anecdotes, stories, insight about life.  So maybe what Marie said on the VI interview about writing another book wouldn’t be such a bad idea! 🙂

The book is available in hardcover (ISBN 9164204639) and audio book (ISBN 9164222787).

You can order the book here:

Adlibris (delivers only to Sweden)
CDON (Sweden only)
Ginza.se (delivers abroad)
Bokus.se (delivers abroad)

Presentation of Marie’s biography in Gothenburg

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Picture by Paula Cafiero Högström

Paula and Christina travelled once again to Gothenburg (don’t miss their report about the Roxette Diaries premiere about a month ago!) to visit the book fair in Gothenburg where Marie Fredriksson and Helena von  Zweigbergk book was presented. Helena also participated in a couple of talks about the book and answered questions about the process of writing the book. A review of the book is on its way!

Arriving at around 10:30 to a massive long line at the main entrance. It was amazing the amount of people wanting to get in! It seems this fair gets bigger and bigger for every year… Luckily by asking around we were told about a side entrance and we could basically go straight in – thumbs up!

Once inside we went on the hunt for both the Pirat Förlaget stand as well as the VI-magazine stand, since the new issue of the magazine features an interview with Marie and Helena, who are also on the cover of the magazine.

Once at the VI stand we talked to the staff and told them we had many requests to buy the magazine, telling them their issue would go out into the entire world. We ended up buying 20 copies for different friends. They were very happy with this as they said it was the biggest sell of the day! Also they were very surprised to hear just how big and popular Roxette still is out there in the big big world. It is peculiar this thing with so many Swedish people STILL not knowing how big and famous Roxette is, how they still tour around and fill arenas and sell out concerts.

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Picture by Paula Cafiero Högström

At the VI stand there was also a huge poster showing the cover of the magazine hanging as the background of their tiny stage. It was so nice to see!

After buying these many magazines at VI, we crossed the aisle and entered the rather big and fancy stand belonging to Pirat Förlaget, the publishing company releasing Marie’s book. The stand and area were big and had many authors presenting their latest books. There were many shelves with books everywhere and there were more Marie posters and photos to welcome us. The one that blew our minds out the most was the amazing entire body picture with Marie on the door to the authors’ “backstage area” (that Judith posted yesterday on Facebook!). We immediately felt right at home!

Helena Von Zweigbergk would first be doing a seminar talk at 12:30, to which you had to have the special seminar ticket in order to enter (very expensive one so we didn’t have that…), but we knew she would be doing 15min talks at Pirat Förlaget’s stage at 13:50 and 16:20.

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Picture by Paula Cafiero Högström

We had a stroll around the fair before returning to this stage by 13, in order to get a good spot. (There were continuous talks only separated by 2min breaks throughout the entire day with several famous Swedish authors such as Jan Guillou, so you can imagine the crowd!). It was a nice and interesting experience to be able to hear so many different authors talking about their books and inspirations and ways of writing!

When Helena finally came on stage she was interviewed by journalist and TV-presenter Fredrik Belfrage (he worked for Swedish television and radio for several years and had a well known TV-show in Sweden called “Go’morron Sverige”… And even presented the “Melodifestivalen” a couple of times). During this first talk Helena explained the whole reason for the book and how it came about.  The second talk was very similar to the first, but there are some slight differences and details she added or omitted.  Stina filmed all of the second talk and you can find it on YouTube and a summary in English on Facebook.

The first talked started with the journalist asking Helena how the whole idea of the book started. Helena said that Marie Dimberg (Marie’s manager) called her and asked her if she could consider writing Marie’s biography and she described how she in the first place was very doubtful about it since she had met Marie before and thought it had been so tough to get contact with her. She even mentioned that she interviewed Marie many years ago and how she felt through the whole interview, how Marie did not like to be interviewed and talk. But she went to her place one day and then and there she met a completely different Marie, very open and with such a will to make this happen. She said it was a whole long process as Marie has difficulties reading, Helena listened to her, made notes, wrote and then she would read it to Marie and together they took out parts and changed words, or added new things Marie remembered.

Helena also mentioned that Marie only got the book the day before and also that she called Marie in the morning and asked her what she would like her to say to the audience who was going to listen to her talks. Marie had answered to please tell them “I am ok, I feel fine and tell them what a great time and how much fun we had while making the book together.” Helena said that Marie is quite tired of always being related to her illness and all the negative part of her life. So she really wanted Helena to tell people she’s so happy. Actually, at the end of this first talk, Helena took out her smartphone and told the audience that as Marie couldn’t be there herself she wanted to film us all saying HI to her, and that she was going to send it right away to her [Helena posted the video on Facebook too].

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Picture by Paula Cafiero Högström

This journalist Fredrik also talked about Marie in a very nice way and was very good at keeping a smooth flow during the whole interview which for many moments actually felt more like a conversation between him and Helena, almost forgetting audience was there. He said he would never forget the time when they held Olof Palme’s funeral on TV. He was there and he really wanted Marie to perform “Mot okända hav” and how he called her in the very last minute thinking she wouldn’t make it but she did and it was for him an unforgettable and touching moment. He also mentioned he was happy to read in the book that Marie herself remembered that day! And Helena added that Olof Palme had meant a lot to Marie and her family, being a role model to look up to.

A nice and funny moment was when Fredrik asked Helena – after having mentioned some of the consequences Marie’s illness – what Marie does to remember the texts and lyrics of the songs now that they are touring so much. Helena talked about how Per and Marie had joked about that themselves when Per was making comments to Marie such as: “hey, you forgot the lyrics before too so what’s the big deal?”… Or “… Worst case you just point out the microphone to the audience so they sing along!” … And then she explained how Marie sits down with her son Oscar and together sing and go through the lyrics so she keeps them in her memory! It was funny and tender to hear this!

Helena also talked about Per and Marie’s different personalities and even music taste… Per being pop and very order freak and Marie being more rock and soul and more “messy” … And how those differences make them complete each other so well and how this has contributed in the creation of the Roxette sound we all know and love so much.

Also she told us that after the last surgery Marie had, she went through her worst period. She was blind on one eye, couldn’t read or write, got easily lost, had problems with her balance and barely remembered anything and that she was also suffering from aphasia (some form of inability to talk and produce words) for a long period of time. Marie felt locked inside her own world as in a bubble. But then suddenly one day, out of the blue, the tones of Dangerous came to her mind and she started humming the melody. And that is why Roxette has become such a very important part of Marie’s recovery as she little by little started remembering again.

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Picture by Christina Tholander

After both talks Helena signed the book for those interested and we each had ours signed of course, followed by a VERY nice chat, where Helena thanked us for being there. We asked her if it was ok we filmed the second talk for all the fans to be able to listen and watch. And she said of course!
After the second talk we waited for her just to say thank you and goodbye and we asked her to greet Marie many times and tell her thank you from all of us.

Epilogue:
We were so happy and overwhelmed with this whole experience. It was so so so nice to be there and listen to Helena. Get the book, see all the books and posters.
After the second talk we sat down somewhere upstairs away from the massive amount of visitors, to have a moment to go through the many, some new to us, photos in the book and we were caught on camera by one of the official book fair photographers having NO idea he had taken photos of us. He came up to us afterwards asking for permission to use them and he showed us a series of photos showing all of our reactions: pointing, smiling, laughing, being amazed, surprised, completely sucked into the world of the pages like only books can do.

Christina Tholander and Paula Cafiero Högström

“Roxette Diaries” premiere – an afternoon in the cinema with Per Gessle

Paula and Stina attended the premiere of “Roxette Diaries” and wrote the following report for RXB. Enjoy this thrilling story about watching the “Roxette Diaries” sitting almost next to Per and Åsa and sharing the experience with other long-time fans.

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Picture by Nico Radoi

W.O.W. Way Out West…
The film “Roxette Diaries” premiere.
…Yes! It is actually very “WOW”!!!!!!!

We met at Gothenburg’s central station and we headed for Bio Capital cinema. A cozy little place, that you almost missed walking by! We were a bit too early so we were sent out in the streets again. We went on a food-hunting adventure and ended up in the area of Haga where we tried to get our heads around the fact that first of all we would be going to the cinema in a few minutes to see a Roxette documentary on the big screen, but most importantly we would be joined by Gessle himself!
We came back to the cinema by 14.00 and little by little fans began to arrive as well as other well-known faces. While taking some pictures of the place and posters, suddenly a big black car arrived in the parking lot on the opposite side of the street… and yessssss it was Per driving with Åsa sitting besides him. Marie Dimberg went to welcome them, it was fun to see how they went to the ticket machine to get the parking ticket for the day! They came to the cinema and said hi friendly and started to talk to some people. We were all together by the cinema door on the sidewalk, talking and waiting for the time to be let in.

The event started with a representative from Way Out West festival welcoming the few people/fans who had found their way into the darkness this Friday afternoon. We were approximately around 35-40 people who joined for this journey down memory lane. The film began with a small written introduction by Per himself and then it immediately took off beginning with the early days back in ’80s and the recordings of Look Sharp!

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Photo by Paula Cafiero Högström

So many funny moments and rarities…going through TV-shows, recordings in the studio, private meetings, eating at restaurants, recording video clips, celebrating Usa #1’s, shows and concerts in different parts of the world, fans waiting and singing outside hotels, radio greetings, photo sessions… so much to take in and that as a fan you just soak up and it was absolutely lovely to see.

Laughter, happy emotional tears, goosebumps, vivid heartbeats of those you feel your chest is gonna explode, shivers… and so many memories from those times in our lives. It was incredible to recognise many moments during the film that we once had seen from another angle, we could even see the camera-man filming that angle as we now were watching it from mainly Åsa’s camera. And SO MUCH never seen stuff it was awesome.

Some of our favorite parts (out of way too many) were to see them fooling around, having so much fun with each other… being silly and laughing… And seeing everyone so young! At some point Micke (with hair!) joined the craziness.

The behind the scenes filming of some of the most well-known official videos. Maybe it’s because we watched the videos to pieces back in the early 90’s, maybe it’s because the videos are such a big part our teenage years, but seeing those gems from a different view, different angle, with attitude and humor…. It’s just goosepumpingly priceless.

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Picture by Nico Radoi

Another era to mention are the many footage from the Tourism-recordings (including the suitcase-drum kit) as well as the recordings from Capri making C!B!B!

With “Roxette Diaries” we joined Marie and Per travelling the world many many times in only one and a half hour. As a viewer you really get the sense of hard work and how tough it can get being on the road touring. And you get this particular weird feeling that we had been part of this all. And in a way we fans are part of this all. Either because we had been present in person at some TV-show or concert shown on the film or just merely because of the fact we have all followed this amazing band throughout all these years, through their music and magazines and radios and other sources of information…

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Picture by Nico Radoi

Specially these kind of old videos and films that we saw during endless evenings and nights, by ourselves or together with friends when we were so young, these old interviews, TV-shows, promo shows, concerts. We could spend a whole evening – or even long into early morning hours and through the whole night – watching those VHS tapes. Sharing laughters, amazement, admiration, commeting a look, a phrase, a face, clothes… We had so much to talk about. We even helped each other understand some word they had said in English that the other hadn’t really understood… and later came the Swedish!
The “pause” and “rewind” buttons were pressed way too much and often by then. It was common that the ink on the keys had faded after a while on the VCR-player!!
Those times were magic and are of those moments in life you’ll carry with you for ever. So many strong memories and laughters. And sharing this passion we have under the name Roxette, it´s magic! SHARE, we love that beautiful word! Share among friends from the “old” days and some others from recent years… many who are around in Europe and who started as pen-pals back in the mid 90’s!!!

So nostalgy and memories hit us hard while we wrote this!

… and you could really SENSE and FEEL in that cinema yesterday, the same way we felt then, all over again while watching.

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Picture by Christina Tholander

When the film was over (what?? How can 90 minutes go this fast!!) Gessle came forward and answered a few questions.

He was asked how he felt when he saw the movie and he said proud and happy because he had forgotten 95% of it… Proud because this whole Rox thing originally started as a hobby and the idea was to play at clubs…
He was asked what had made Roxette so succesful and he said luck, and experience, the fact that they were not that young and that they both had careers from before in the luggage and all that experience. He mentioned here the amazing gift that Marie has as a performer singing and on stage, which made his songs and music so good.
He was asked who they made this film for… he answered for the band, the inner circle, to sum up all those video tapes that mainly Åsa had recorded when video cameras were not so common to own. It was important to cherish special moments like shows in odd parts of the world where other big bands never played before, like in South America or China.

Then fans could ask questions too and Sandra began with THE question: if they were gonna make this film available for us fans, specially the ones that hadn’t been able to come to the premiere. He said they are working on it, talking to TV stations in Sweden for them to broadcast and hopefully release it … or “ilegally put it up on youtube” 😉
Another fan asked if there is something negative about this whole glamourus and luxurious way of life we just saw on the screen and he said that there are some tough parts like all the travelling and the boring parts of promo and making interviews and photo shoots and miming the same songs over and over again, it’s very tiring and Marie hated it, specially since they both have a very good live tradition with lots of tours and playing live… but it’s part of the job and in the end you have the positive around you that beats the tough part.
He was asked if it was the first time he saw the film we had just watched. He said the first version was 12 hour long!!! Then cut to 3 hours… it was a lot to see and go through and there were parts they have “missed” like MTV Unplugged 1993, the show in Johannesburg in South Africa january ’95…

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Picture by Nico Radoi

After this,  fans could take pictures with Per and get some autographs. He was very social and positive and talkative.

We also talked to Åsa and she told us it was her premiere to see the movie as well and that for them it’s many happy memories and emotional going back in time, too. But I have to say it’s like that for us fans too!

So this 90-minute storytelling is a true pearl for both hardcore fans and for people with a genuine interest in music and it tells the crazy intense story of everyday life for one of the worlds biggest pop sensations. It’s worth watching many many times and we truly hope it won’t be long before it will be released out into society!

Quotes from fans AFTER the film:

– Tanja Hesse had brought her friend Patricia Bienko (both from Germany) and they were both speechless and so happy to have been able to take part of this.

– Karin Rubischung and Jörg Zimmerli from Switzerland said this was their best meeting (with Per and Åsa) ever, very emotional to see the film too!
Jörg added: “the movie is a very good memory for having been a Roxer since the very beginning”

– Nico Radoi from Romania living in Gothenburg was very pleased with the whole thing and happy she took many pictures to eternalize some of the many magic moments during the film.

– Marie-Claire from Holland living in Stockholm was also very happy and overwhelmed.

– Sandra and Jana were full of joy and couldn´t really sum up what they felt… so we went for some drinks and food afterwards to talk talk talk talk talk about this whole amazing happening in our Rox-lives and share it with each other… coz after all it isa ll about sharing! … and it all begins where it ends!!! ?

Thanks so much Roxette Blog and D&D Management for this amazing opportunity that we were able to be part of!

Paula Cafiero Högström & Christina Tholander

Roxette XXX Tour – Rättvik, Sweden (Dalhalla) – July 27 – #58

I started writing this while sipping a cup of coffee looking at the lake Siljan with a big silly smile on my face and thinking life is beautiful. And that I wouldn’t change a thing. For various reasons (including a 12-hour journey by car/plane back home, work and exhaustment) it took some days to finish this article, but better late than never, they say.

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Picture by Anne

Dalhalla, organisation, logistics
Roxette played at Dalhalla, an amphitheatre in an old quarry nearby Rättvik, which opened as a summer stage 20 years ago. To make it more mystique, they say that a meteor fell in this area about 360 million years ago and I suppose that the name is an allusion to Valhalla, the home of the Norse gods. In any case, the place looks awesome, probably one of the most unique and interesting places to play or attend a show, not only because of the sound but the surroundings and nature. It all makes the experience special.

Usually, there is a big separation between stage and the first rows of the audience, with water flowing in between, but for Roxette this was covered with a platform and seats were place on it, meaning the audience was much closer than usual. We guessed it was Roxette who wanted to have the audience closer, as they like to communicate with the fans. And that was a good thing. More about the audience below.

Organisation and logistics were also a bit… special. When we checked in at the hotel in Leksand (Rättvik was fully booked) they asked us if we were going to Dalhalla (was it that obvious?) and advised us to leave with loooooots of time ahead for two reasons: there was Classic Cars exhibition in Rättvik it would take us at least 1 hour to cross the city and Dalhalla is in the middle of nowhere, with a narrow road driving up a hill and the long queues to get to the parking / event can take up to 1 hour too. So we followed the advice and left earlier than planned.

Rättvik was indeed a chaos, but at least we enjoyed the (mostly) nicely kept old cars cruising up and down of Rättvik (we were told that this meeting is mostly just about that, showing off your car in the main street of the city). It felt almost like entering Grease movie. We left Rättvik behind us to get into the next chaos, in this case mostly because of the lousy organisation at Dalhalla. We arrived shortly before 6pm, the time they were supposed to open the doors. What we didn’t know is that the parking wouldn’t open until 6pm either. So cars just gathered in a more or less unorganised way in front of the gate, with no information or signs about that, nobody to guide and make sure cars stand in a row… I guess it says a lot when a fan ended up organising the car queue together with one of the workers because the others claimed “they only start to work at 6” (!). Parking was well organised, at least for the first/second row, afterwards cars more or less parked where they wanted.

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Picture by Connie H.

Eskobar’s last show as Roxette’s guest (?)
Unfortunately, it started to rain right before Eskobar, so this and the traffic jam to get to the venue were the cause many people were not in their places / seats when Eskobar started to play. The about 10 “hardcores” who were there agreed to make the best out of it anyway, and try to make a great last Eskobar show.

Since it was Daniel’s birthday, we also decided we would sing Happy Birthday after the first song. And it worked out very well!

Rox on!
After seeing the lack of enthusiasm of the audience, we hoped that people would cheer up and at least show some interest during Roxette. We decided to stand up no matter what, hoping nobody would complain, and it worked out just fine. Before the show, Atli from Sweden Show Security approached us and asked us just one thing, we could stand up if we wanted to but we should remain in our places and not go/run to the front. There was like 2-meter distance between the first row of seats and the aisle and we behaved (imagine that usually there are like 10 m or more separation between the stage and the audience!). Unfortunately, we were not allowed to the front during the last two shows, like it had been in Zurich or partly in London, would have been great to have another close-up The Look but well, security is security.

The audience wasn’t as bad as we thought, though. People next and behind us were standing up now and then, and even if it required hard work from Marie and Per and the rest to make people sing, it was loud enough.

Marie was in a great mood, as one could see and hear her laughing many times. For example, during Magnus-Per “Have A Nice Day” story, Magnus didn’t refer to “Baladas en Español” but a very unique limited edition of a rare  album, or when she made funny faces with Magnus or Dea. Or when she asked Per “är du med, Per?” She also enjoyed Chris solos a lot and did a lot of her “yeahs” here and there. At times it sounded like she had a cold, but on “Spending My Time” or “CBB” or “Listen To Your Heart” she left us all mouth-open.

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Picture by Connie H.

Per also joked about “Tourism”. When he mentioned “The Heart Shaped Sea” story, and that it was from Tourism, a few people cheered, and he jokingly say those are probably the only ones who bought it. The (few) hard-core fans also got lots of special attention from Marie and Per and the band. What can I say? Isn’t it just a great feeling when your favourite band knows you and makes contact with you?

Pelle was amazing on drums, improvising a couple of times. We’d love to hear more of that! Time for a long drum-solo? And Chris and Magnus just decided to run in the aisle from one side of the stage to another, which Åsa caputured on camera, as one can see here. Chris played Härjarevisan, a typical drinking song in Sweden, maybe as a hidden tip for the Swedes, to drink more and have more fun?

It was indeed a special and different concert. And we all had lots of fun, and the guys and girls on stage too. I already mentioned this before, but the concerts in Stockholm and Rättvik just confirmed it, seeing the band so tight, there is no way one can stop the band now. Let’s hope that what Per mentioned in his post is more dates! It’s just 3 shows to go in August (not counting corporate show in September) and we all are looking forward to the next schedule-trip-planning (not our accounts though).

I also have to say, I realised in the last two shows that the setlist is just awesome. First Sleeping and Big L to get people in the mood, then a few slower songs where Marie just shines with her voice, then Crush and She’s got nothing on which are pure craziness and fun. Then it gets calmer again with Heart Shaped and Watercolours (it works much better with both songs), and then slowly going crazy and powerful again starting with Fading almost non-stop until The Look, despite the fact that It Must Have Been Love and Listen To Your Heart and a break are in between, the arrangements of the songs rock big time, so it feels like a guitar-party non-stop.

Post-show

Per wrote a very long comment, specially mentioning Eskobar:

DALHALLA UPDATE: Yes, thank you! One of the most spectacular places we’ve ever played. Stunning! Beautiful!

And thanx for making this sold out show very special. Rain in the air but we all jumped between the raindrops. Great vibes were certainly floating around at this unbelievable venue.

Thanx also to Eskobar who did their last show with us. They’re not only a great band but really wonderful people. Pls check them out in the future, they’re def worth it!!! And hey, they make really outstandng music!!

So, now we’re taking a live break for ten days or so. The studio is waiting and I have some birthday parties to attend…. No rest for the wicked!

Thanx all of you hardcore Roxers for showing up at so many gigs, see y’all very soon again. You’re the one who make a difference!!

Also…. got exciting news re next year. More details to follow….
Stay tuned.
Cheers, P.

What a nice comment, especially about Eskobar and about the fans!

Talking about Eskobar, fans loved to have them as support act and have started a page on Facebook to ask to have Eskobar as special guest for the (possible) tour 2016. It would be great, wouldn’t it? And judging by Per’s comment, there seems to be something going on next year, so let’s cross our fingers.

Daniel also posted the day after that Marie had sung happy birthday for him backstage, lovely! Per also posted this picture two days later with the following comment:

rox_eskobar
Picture by Anders Roos

THANX ESKOBAR for supporting us on the European Tour. A delight. Pic by Anders Roos. Cheers, P.

Articles, videos, pictures

This is a very nice summary of the show.
Dalhalla mix
Listen To Your Heart
(not complete)
It Must Have Been Love (not complete)
Joyride (not complete)
Sleeping In My Car
The Look craziness recorded by Åsa

Review on DT
Review on Dala-Demokraten

Setlist

Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Stars
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush On You
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed For Success
Dangerous
Joyride (intro: Gärdebylåten Härjarevisan)

Extra
Listen To Your Heart
The Look

Contest: win tickets for the “Roxette Diaries” world premiere in August at Way Out West

In cooperation with Roxette and Jonas Åkerlund’s management D&D we are proud to offer you the chance to attend the world premiere of “Roxette Diaries” in Gothenburg during the Way Out West festival.

The premiere will be on August 14th in a cinema in Gothenburg at around 3 pm local time (information about exact location and time will be given to the winners later on).

We have the following prizes to give away:

  • 1st prize: 2 festival passes for the Way Out West festival which takes place in Gothenburg from 13th until 15th of August (some artists from the line-up: First Aid Kid, Pet Shop Boys, Patti Smith) and for the premiere of “Roxette Diaries”
  • 2nd-9th prizes: 2 tickets for the premiere of “Roxette Diaries” movie (8 pair of tickets in total).

In order to participate in the contest you will need to answer these two questions:

1) When was “The Look” 2015 remake digitally released?

2) Who is the director of the “Roxette Diaries”?

Send an e-mail to rxbcontests@gmail.com including the following:

  • Answers to the 2 questions above
  • Your name and address
  • Your cell phone number

We kindly ask you to participate only if you think you can attend the premiere in Gothenburg.

The winners will be chosen randomly amongst all participants who answered the questions correctly and will be announced here and on our Facebook page on Friday 31st of July.

You can participate until the 31st of July until 1pm (CET time!). Winners will be announced shortly after so that you have time to plan your trip!

Good luck!

Don’t forget to read the small letter…

Update Aug 4:
the winners are:

Tove V.
Jörg Z.
Marie-Claire v K.
Oliver S.
Danielle B.
Ann S.
Jana G
Tanja H.
Yana T.

Congratulations! Check your inboxes and kindly confirm that you can attend (if you haven’t already). Thanks!

Contest terms and conditions that you agree on and accept when participating in the contest:
– You can only participate once.
– We will randomly pick the winners among all valid emails (valid means: with name, address, cell phone number and correct answers).
– The winners will be notified per e-mail and will be required to reply to the e-mail confirming they can attend.
– Further information (location, time etc.) will be given to the winners on time.
– The winners are responsible for their transport to and from the location and any costs that might arise in connection to winning the prize.
– The prizes are for two. The winner +1. The prizes won’t be paid out in cash.
– Roxetteblog.com or Roxette’s management will not enter into any correspondence regarding the result of the contest and are not liable for any damages, loss or expenses that may result in connection to the prize.
– In the event the premiere is cancelled or postponed, no other date or other prize will be offered as replacement and we are not responsible for costs or losses caused by this.
– Of course, all submitted data will only be used for the purpose of the contest, to contact you for confirmation and instructions, and won’t be given to third parties not related to this contest.
– The names and a picture of the winners may be published on this website or on RoxetteBlog’s official Facebook page anytime.
– Participants must be at least 18 years old.
– We reserve the right to change these terms and conditions, in our sole discretion, any time.

Roxette_Diaries_trailer_stills_rs

Thank you, Eskobar!

Unfortunately, that Roxette 30th Anniversary tour (European leg) is coming to an end also means that we have to say bye to Eskobar. After yesterday’s show in Halmstad, it’s just 3 shows left with Eskobar as special guest, so we wanted to take the chance to thank Daniel, Frederik and Jocke for making the time before Roxette’s show feel shorter, for cheering the audience up and for performing such great versions of your songs, you have been a great opening act!

IMG_0797-1I was very happy when I found out Eskobar would be the support act for Roxette during their European tour. I have liked the band since early 2000ies and I had never seen them live. And I was sure that Roxette fans and audience in general would like them too, who can resist their melodies?

After having seen them 4 times now and the reaction of the audience at the shows and also on social media, I think it is safe to say that the guys really enchanted us! Many have bought their albums, share their music and leave very positive comments about Eskobar everywhere. We have also got many messages of people asking if Eskobar will join Roxette in the possible continuation of the tour in other parts of the world, what Eskobar will do next, where to buy their stuff and more. So we thought of putting all the information in one article.

But before that, we also got a message from Eskobar for all of you:

Now that this tour is coming to an end we would like to send the biggest thank you to Per & Marie, but also to Christoffer, Clarence, Magnus, Dea & Pelle in the band, everyone in the amazing crew, the drivers & the bosses and everyone else. What a fantastic experience filled with so much laughs, jokes, BBQ, great music and wonderful people. Also a very big thanks to everyone all over Europe who took their time to watch Eskobar support Roxette. We have felt extremely welcome in every city thanks to you all!

Great music lives forever!!!

//Eskobar

Future plans, new album, tour, beer?

Eskobar’s upcoming album will be released in the upcoming months. The guys are also planning to release a live album recorded during this tour. And would also love to go on tour in the near future. If you want to stay up-to-date, check out Eskobar’s Facebook page, all information will be shared there.

We don’t know if Eskobar will be the support band in possible future Roxette shows in other countries. Of course, many of us would love to see that so.. let’s just keep our fingers crossed (not only for Eskobar but for more Roxette shows in 2016!).

Frederik‘s beer Svinninge Bullet is also available in Sweden at Systembolaget, so if you are there this summer and you like beer, give it a try.

IMG_0817-1

Past and discography

Eskobar has released 5 albums so far. You can buy most of them online on CDON but also Bengans or Ginza.

2000 – ‘Till We Are Dead

2001 – There’s Only Now

2004 – A Thousand Last Chances

2006 – Eskobar

2008 – Death In Athens

If you want to get more of their discography – Eskobar has released about 20+ singles… try your luck in second-hand stores or check Amazon out.
And in our interview from May you can read about how they started and their career so far.

Videos and rare stuff

Eskobar also has a YouTube channel with videos to their singles as well as unreleased songs and demos from “The Complete B-side collection 1999-2006”.

And of course, if you search by Eskobar, you will find videos of performances and concerts. Here is a selection of videos you may want to check out:

Starlight, from the upcoming album

Performance and interview from 2008

“Someone new” featuring Eva Dahlgren

Once again, thank you for your music and wonderful performances!

20 tour dates for 2016?

Per says in the Kappahl interview that the plan is to go on with the tour until 2016 (asDSC00278 he already mentioned many times before, and that would be the meaning behind the whole XXX tour, as Roxette turns 30 in 2016!).

Now he revealed that Roxette plans to do about 80 dates until 2016. If you count the dates until Drammen (Norway) on August 22, that makes up to 61 dates. Which means about 20 would be left to be announced / planned. And this raises lots of questions:

Will these dates be in 2016 only? Will there be more in 2015? Where will it take Roxette to? South Africa? South America? North America? Some more Europe / Sweden to celebrate the 30th anniversary “home”? Lots of questions for our never-resting minds!

What we know for sure is that fans are longing to see more of Roxette live, both those who have been to (many) shows since the tour started and those who haven’t seen Roxette since at least 2012. And that The Look 2015 is awesome. And that we cannot wait until the new album is out! And that we already need the tour dates for 2016.

Roxette XXX Tour – London, United Kingdom (The O2) – July 13 – #53

11204936_10152900904270178_7863123063050200900_n
Photo: Judith Seuma

Roxette played at a sold-out O2 Arena in London. It was the first time Roxette played in this venue, which opened its doors in the mid 2000ies and has become the concert venue in London in the past years. Many major artist have played here since then so it was almost almost about time for Roxette to play here finally. The place is impressive. And so is the sound!

Unfortunately not many people had taken their places during Eskobar, but those who were there did enjoy the tunes of this fab band. And then it hit me. When Daniel mentioned it was their last show with Roxette outside of Sweden. In a way it was also Roxette’s last show outside of Scandinavia or Nordics (if you don’t count the concert in Poland). It’s really just a few more shows to go and then…? Let’s hope there will be more to come. LIVE, that is (we already know there are some releases on the way!). Wherever in the world. This band proved yesterday once more that they are unstoppable and they bring and spread lots of joy and fun and smiles wherever they go. And the world needs more of these memorable moments!

11728914_10153158368329440_4942901378077423864_o
Photo: Judith Seuma

Before the show we chatted with our seat neighbours. They asked where we come from, if we have seen Roxette live before… and we, not knowing how seated concerts are here, wondered if people would stand up. None of the locals could give an answer. Just a “We hope so! But it very much depends on the music and mood” I thought to myself… if it’s up to that then we will sure have a party! And it was.

People stood up during the intro already, while Marie and Per and the band were taking their places on stage. “So it is standing! It’s gonna be fun!” shouted the guys next to me with a big smile. Security made sure however that nobody was standing in the corridors or  running to the front, not even during The Look. But oh was it fun!!

 

I was totally taken by surprise by all the screaming and the sing along. And this (besides the great magic moments with the band) is what I will remember forever. Wherever I have seen Roxette around the world, it is this proud and happy feeling of hearing and experiencing thousands of people sing along to their songs. Not only the major hits but also other less known songs. Like when people scream and clap at the surprise of Marie singing Paint. The noise when Roxette reappeared after the short break to play LTYH and The Look was just impressive.

What happened in London can probably be summarized in these two videos below.

Marie did improvise a lot at the endings of the songs or during bridges not only with yeahs!, she did add a jazzy soulish touch at some points and her voice was so strong and powerful… that made me drop my mouth open (just check the videos out!). Per was running from one side to the other, looking at the audience very directly and asking us to sing and clap even louder. With his permanent smile on his face. And the band… wow!! They are all so great together. They have their ‘insider jokes’, those funny moments with each other that have now become part of the show… Chris played the British anthem, which ended with everyone singing.. god save the queen!

Per also seemed to be in a chatty mood. I think of all shows I have seen, this had the funniest talks in between songs.

And this time a special mention about lovely Dea. Since I was sitting in row 6 I had a better overview of what was going on on stage and saw some details that just confirmed what an important part of the band Dea is. She does her job amazingly, always cheering everybody up, greeting those she knows, she has found her place in the band, she has her funny insider moments with Chris, Magnus (Dangerous), Marie (Stars, Dangerous, She’s Got Nothing On) and Per (IMHBL), and besides that she always keeps an eye on Marie to help out whenever needed. And also celebrates and looks amazed when Marie delivers like yesterday. Probably because of this (and my guess is much more) Marie introduces her during Watercolours as ‘my very good friend Dea!’

Next stop Sweden. I really hope Sweden welcomes and celebrates Marie and Per and the band as Europe has done so far because they are unstoppable and one should only be proud of them all and they deserve it.

Per after the show: 

LONDON UPDATE: Oh yeah!!! Such a great evening at the O2 Arena tonight!!! What a wonderful crowd! Great band in spite of that Prof von L couldn’t get out of bed early in the morning due to back and neck pains. Check out the vids for more info re this!!!
Nevertheless, a breathtaking experience of positive energy. Thanx London, always a treat to play here! And boy, did you sing!!!! Cheers, P.

 

Setlist

Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Stars
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush On You
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed For Success
Dangerous
Joyride (intro: God Save the Queen)

Extra
Listen To Your Heart
The Look

Articles and photos

Iain Dale
The Independent
Mirror
rexfeatures.com
flickr.com – Gavin Dodds (Tigershoot)
flickr.com – David Turnbull

Roxette XXX Tour – Zurich, Switzerland (Live at Sunset) – July 11 – #52

Many people had told me that the audience in Zurich would be calm, even boring. It looks like last time Roxette played at Live at Sunset in 2012 the audience didn’t party along. So what to do? The first row was full of hardcore fans, so we agreed that we would stand up no matter what and make our own party.

liveatsunset1
Pic by Judith S.

Well, well! I think more than one (including Rox and band) was surprised! Roxette shows up on stage. Everybody is clapping and shouting. Sleeping in my car starts to sound, we stand up, we look behind us… most people in the audience is up and dancing and clapping and singing! And that went on during almost the whole show. We really couldn’t believe what was going on. Even the people at the very back were standing.  The only time people sat down was to listen and enjoy Marie and Dea perform Watercolours. And what a the noise of stamping feet (meaning ‘one more time’!) when Roxette left the stage after Joyride!

Roxette performed the open air set, meaning no Heart Shaped Sea (which is a pity, it would have fit the location and the mood in this case).

The band was full of energy from the very beginning, but something happened after Watercolours (or was it after Crash! Boom! Bang!??) and it felt like they got an energy boost and went even wilder. And the audience answered back with even more singing. That is what a live show is about!

liveatsunset2
Pic by Judith S.

Joyride was a balloon party. Balloons that Cathérine Frei from Switzerland and Ivan Kelava had been giving away to the people in the first rows, with the instructions to use them during the song. All those balloons flying in the air looked lovely in the warm July summer night Also the locals seemed to love Chris intro and even sang along to it.

The stage was about 3 meters from the first row and we were not allowed to get closer to the stage until Roxette came back to play the last two songs. The stage was very high getting much closer gave us another perspective of the stage and somehow the interaction with the band got even better. And Per and Marie and the band seemed to love it. Listen to your heart and The Look were incredible! It’s just awesome how these songs that we have heard so many times before (and they have played probably at all concerts since they were released) can sound so fresh and alive and different every time!

And here I also want to mention Åsa’s great job with the videos! I somehow realised yesterday (maybe because of the distance between stage and seats and the fact one could see Åsa better this time) that it’s quite some work. I guess it’s fun but also a challenge to track what’s going on on stage (which is a lot!) and the audience at the same time and capture the vibe. We love those videos! They are a nice memory of the shows from a unique perspective and of most of the songs. Thank you for that. Åsa chatted and took pictures with some fans before the show and even got a rose from Ivan. Nice!

All in all a perfect concert. The band in top shape, incredible audience and vibe and a very nice location. I was surprised too by the  location, organisation and festival setup. Nice festival area, food and drinks, relaxed atmosphere before the show, great views from a few places nearby the venue. It felt magical.

We will surely remember Live at Sunset 2015 with a big smile and will remain in our hearts forever.

Per after the show:

ZURICH: Oh yea, what a night it turned out to be! LIVE AT SUNSET. Absolutely, thanx for making this Saturday Night Fever happening. Great crowd, lots of fun when everyone came sooooo close to the stage the last twenty minutes. Felt like playing in a club!!! Day off tomorrow. then a sold out O2 in London. Cheers, P.

Next stop is London (13th July).

Articles and photos

usgang.ch
tilllate.com
nzz.ch
partyguide.ch
rtntvnews.de; photos
flickr.com – Intlekofer_Roger
artnoir review; photos
Nicole Joos Photography

Videos

Sleeping In My Car
The Look

Setlist

liveatsunset3
Pic by Judith S.

Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Stars
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush On You
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed For Success
Dangerous
Joyride (intro: Es Buurebüebli mani nid)

Extra
Listen To Your Heart
The Look

 

Roxette XXX Tour – Vienna, Austria (Stadthalle) – July 08 – #50

Vienna 2015
Pic by Micke N-S

Wow! What a show! I don’t know where to start. The band, the audience?

The audience was already quite in the mood for partying with Eskobar and got impatient when Roxette didn’t start at 20:30 sharp. But finally the lights went off and Marie and Per and the mighty band took the stage. The audience went wild, and that is wow with Austrian audience, who are usually a bit calmer. But who can resist to Roxette?!

I surprised myself crying when they started to sing Sleeping in my car. Yes, even if I have seen Rox a few times it is just pure happiness. Concert after concert. And when I turned around to see what was that loud noise coming from the audience I saw many people crying of joy too and just big smiles and happy faces. I turned around a few times after that during some big sing-alongs and … it is always a great feeling to see so many people enjoying your favourite band like that. Imagine how it must feel from the stage!

The entrance wasn’t perfect, so many people who had been waiting for hours didn’t end up in the first row. And some groups of friends were split, so it was the first concert (I think?) that I enjoyed a show on my own… But hey. Landed somewhere to the very right in front of Magnus, a side I hadn’t seen so far. And music connects so just had fun with my front row neighbours from Slovakia and Italy. I later found out many people who had been waiting since very early in the morning ended up 2nd-3rd row… But the awesome concert and all the energy and fun made up for it.

It was very hot in the Stadthalle and with Roxette the place was cooking. I hadn’t seen them play since Paris and I was positively surprised by the evolution and I was left with my mouth open a few times. What are they doing now? They just rock! Marie was super cool and crazy, adding lots of yeahs here and there, improvising, looking at everybody and flirting just the way she knows. Chris delivered awesome guitar solos that not only amazed the audience but also the guys and girls on stage. Did I hear Pelle improvising on She’s got nothing on too? Per as always jumping and moving and kicking (how many bruises does Chris have already? 😉 ). And again making eye contact. We love that! I am always amazed by all the energy he has and his big smile, which is just spreading to the audience.

One of the funniest moments was the Joyride intro. Chris played the Wiener Walzer. Per and Magnus started to dance (!) (not together), Marie was just all laughs playing air violin (!) and the others just laughing. Hope somebody recorded that!

All in all an awesome concert with an incredible loud crowd that just made me think once again Roxette is just the coolest funniest happiest best band ever! Pure fun! Thank you!

Per after the show:

VIENNA UPDATE! My Gosh, where will this end? Such a fab show tonite with the most wonderful crowd sweating almost just as much as we did!!! We had the best Wednesday imaginable, hope you did too! We’re so lucky to have these fab crowds all over the world, singing our songs and participating in the shows. Nothing would have been possible wthout you guys & dolls!!! The XXX European tour is soon over and we just want you to know that we’re truly blessed to have you all around!! Cheers, P.

Articles and photos

oe24.at
news.at
vienna.at
wegotit.at
kurier.at
krone.at

Videos

How Do You Do!
Joyride (including band presentation and Wiener Walzer intro)
The Look

Setlist

Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Stars
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush On You
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed For Success
Dangerous
Joyride (intro: Wiener Walzer)

Extra
Listen To Your Heart
The Look

Roxette records a new version of “The Look”

goo8pdmfyvov5tp2c2e4 According to a press release published today, KappAhl’s fashion campaign in autumn this year will be accompanied by an entirely new version of Roxette’s hit “The Look”. The song – recorded exclusively by Roxette for KappAhl – has also given its name to the campaign. The campaign is all about style and personality – The Look.

“To record a brand new version of ‘The Look’ felt tempting but was also a great challenge. It is particularly gratifying to have achieved a unique collaboration with KappAhl, a Swedish company that we both respect and love. Pop music and fashion go hand in hand. It’s about expression and emotions, to dare and to care,” says Per Gessle.

“The Look” consists of a total of five campaigns that will be introduced through autumn 2015. The campaigns have different sub-themes and go by the names “The Chic Denim Look”, “The Always Black Look”, “The Must-have Look”, “The Wellbeing Look “and” The Hot Look “. The first collection campaign, “The Chic Denim Look”, will hit the stores on August 24.

The campaign’s official hashtag is #thelookkappahl. You can see a sample of The Look – 2015 on KappAhl’s The Look website and on YouTube. On the website you can also participate to win tickets and a meet & greet with Per.

x4h3ea2zw3eduupi8njhWith this a further Roxmystery has been solved. You may remember that some days ago a picture of Roxette in the studio found its way to the net, Per also posted on FB that day that Roxette was in a “secret mission”… now we know what it was about! The waiting was worth it!

The song was recorded at the X-Level Studios – previously known as EMI studios, where the song was initially recorded.

It is still unclear if the single will be released physically/digitally at all, at least there is a cover for it on the press release site…

 Update 24/6: According to Expressen, more material from the recording session and campaign will be available on July 14 and the song will be released on Spotify “soon” (don’t we love this word!). My guess is that it will be right on time for the Swedish shows starting mid July.

Roxette XXX Tour – Paris, France (Olympia) – May 26 – #33

rox olympiaRoxette played in Paris last time in 1992. That is 23 years ago! That is definitely too many years, actually, if the records are right, Roxette only played twice in France/Paris, once in 1989 and the last time in 1992.

During the day I had been thinking about the show and what to expect. I was curious to see how the French audience would react for various reasons. Roxette having played here last time so many years ago, not really being present in the charts for a while. I had no clue how French audience is at concerts, would it be fun and sweaty like in Spain or more on the quiet side like in Sweden? And it was in a theatre, which meant seated. So lots of questions that were to be answered later that day.

Eskobar started at 8 pm and played the set that they’ve been playing during this tour. One could indeed feel that they have an audience in France, some people were singing along and a lot more were clapping. It was a great warm up, but somehow people still felt a bit quiet. Would it stay like that?  Not really, that was about to change. As soon as the venue went dark and the Roxette-intro music started to sound, one could feel the excitement building up and when the first chords of “Sleeping in my Car” started to sound the audience went wild,  people stood up immediately, some of those who were sitting in other rows even tried to get to the front, and people were singing very loud. The concert wasn’t going to be seated after all!

After just two songs, the whole place felt very hot, that was going to be a fun night! And everybody on stage was just crazy and happy. I don’t know what they expected from the sold out show. I was positively surprised by the response of the audience and I had the feeling Per and Marie and the band were too.  The sound was awesome (even though Marie sounded very low, and it was not her fault neither the fact that people were singing very loud), that is the positive thing about small concert halls made to enjoy music. It reminded me in a way of the concert at the Beacon in NY, both the great sound and atmosphere.

IMG_0292-1Marie, who was wearing white outfit and black jacket and tie, was laughing a lot, making eye contact with the known faces, and oh! her voice! It was awesome. I don’t know what she did during “Watercolours in the Rain”,  but it was one of those moments when you realise (for the 1012912th time) why you just love this band so much. Goosebumps all the way! It’s hard to describe how she was singing, but it was so touching and jazzy and wow!

Magnus, Chris and Dea were also having lots of fun and Per jumping and running and bouncing as we know him and torturing his shoes (which, by the way, I  realised are very flashy and cool, the sole is very elastic, maybe to make the bumping easy on his knees? I wonder how many pairs he needs every tour…!).

When Per told the story about Magnus’ favourite album, Magnus asked the audience which album they loved most. One could hear that “Joyride” and “Look Sharp!” got the most “votes”, matching the time Roxette was the most successful in France. Before “It Must Have Been Love”, Per asked Marie if she was ready and she said “I am always ready”, which made the audience and Per smile. Yeah! One could see during the whole show that she enjoyed the music a lot, especially Chris playing guitar, and connecting with Dea a lot. It is just an incredible feel-good feeling to see a band that is having so much fun on stage, playing, dancing, teasing eachother and interacting this way, not only with the audience but also among themselves.

Chris chose to play an Edith Piaf song as an intro to Joyride and he got a nice response from the audience. After all, Édith Piaf is one of France’s national divas! “Joyride” was incredible and pure fun, and “The Look” was a great ending of the show. You gotta love Chris going crazy with the guitar, it sounds just terrific! The whole band was in top shape and the audience didn’t stop jumping and singing during the whole night.

Per mentioned the fact that they hadn’t played in Paris since 1992 during the show and he asked how many had been at their last show at Le Zénith back then. A few raised their hands, and while Per was looking at the audience to see who had been there back in 92, he added a fun note when he saw some kids among the audience, saying that they weren’t even born back then. Such a long time!IMG_0315-1

Just like the concert in New York in 2012, this was a very special evening in a special place with lots of history. As Per mentioned in this post on FB, the Beatles played there back in 1964, and so did Édith Piaf and many others, a very legendary place. I think one of the best things were the big red glowing letters announcing Roxette “old style”. How cool is that?

PARIS UPDATE: Oui!!! What an evening! Thanx everyone for making this gig so special. What a great venue, lots of history. Can you believe The Beatles played here 18 days in a row (or something) back in 1964? And Chris played an Edith Piaf-song by heart tonight!!! So special for all of us. We had a blast in this beautiful city. See y’all next time. How about tomorrow in Amsterdam???? Love, P&Co.

All in all, it was a very positive surprise and experience. French fans showed they still love Roxette even though they haven’t been around for a while. And it was a great proud happy feeling to turn around and see so many people standing and having fun at a Roxette concert, in Paris! Let’s hope they don’t have to wait that long till the next show!

After the show, many fans stayed around to chat about the show. Many agreed that this had been a magnifique concert, maybe one of the best they had seen, and that it would be great to see more Roxette concerts in such venues and more relaxed settings. There is no need to queue for hours, which is not only great for our backs and feet but it means we are full of energy for the concert (we are not 20 anymore … ;)), and the atmosphere in such places is just awesome.

Videos

Videos by Raphaäl Andre (not full): Dangerous | How Do You Do! | The Look | Joyride | Listen To Your Heart | Dressed For Success | Fading Like A Flower | Spending My Time | It Must Have Been Love |
The Look 2

Articles and photos

Instagram: 1, 2, 3

laparisiennelife.com
concertmag.net
loeilduspectacle.fr

Setlist

Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Stars
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush On You
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed For Success
Dangerous
Joyride

Extra:
Listen To Your Heart
The Look

Cover of “Kärleken till livet” revealed

karlekentill_inb_low
Cover of “Kärleken till livet”

Swedish publisher Piratförlaget revealed the cover of “Kärleken till livet”, Marie’s upcoming biography, on their website and autumn catalogue. You will also find a picture of the co-author Helena von Zweigbergk and Marie on the website.

A few more details about the formats have also been published. We knew that the book will be available on hardcover, e-book as well as audio book (CD-book, mp3 format and digital download). Now we can see that the hardcover will have 330 pages and the audio book version will be narrated by Helena von Zweigbergk.

According to Piratförlaget’s website, the book will be released on October 14, 2015. The books will probably cost around 200-230 SEK.

Roxette XXX Tour – Barcelona, Spain (St. Jordi Club) – May 14 – #28

The day started very early for many fans that had catch planes, cars, busses, trains to get to Barcelona on time to queue up and try to get the best spots in the first row(s). The first ones were at St. Jordi Club at around 9 and started with the numbering system, that had worked in Madrid too (as well as many times before in other countries/tours).  And it paid of, around lunch time the sun was the strongest and we had to find some shadows under the trees nearby. The waiting was very calm, it felt at times more like a picnic, under some trees having lunch and chatting with friends. At around five-ish more people started to join and every body went back to her/his places in the queue. The local security told us that since we had been organised all the time, they would let us in in groups of five to try to respect the numbering system. Nice! It only worked for the first … 10? since the ones that were let in later seemed to panic to get a precious place in the first row and started to run (where is Show Security Sweden when you need them!). In any case, it wasn’t pushy but rather hot inside (and it was about to get hotter!).

Eskobar showed up on stage right on time at half past eight and played their 30-minute set, which people seemed to enjoy a lot. Some fans shouted “Eskobar! Eskobar!” or the typical “ooeee oeee oeee” many times as well as Daniel’s name. I think it’s always nice when the support band is welcomed warmly by the audience, it makes the whole show a better experience.

And finally it was time for Roxette (on time this time). About 4.000 fans were waiting for the Roxing guys and girls and ready to give everything during the whole concert. As soon as “Sleeping In My Car” started to sound people went wild. I haven’t heard such a loud bunch for a long time! Sometimes the audience was so loud it was hard to hear the band sing. This went on during the whole concert, even non-singles like “The Heart Shaped Sea” or “Watercolours In The Rain/Paint” were welcomed by a lot of sing-along (check video below). This last one was very touching, with Marie singing as wonderful as always. The setlist was the same as in Madrid.

rox_bcn
(C) Mariana G. Magnus with the chicken hat in Barcelona.

And everybody on stage seemed to love the crazy audience, judging by the big smiles. Dea and Chris were teasing each other all the time, and Magnus even had the honour to wear one of the chicken hats that made a second appearance in Barcelona (read Madrid’s review for details). And Per somehow got lost presenting one of the songs, he started to say something about he hoped we knew that song “because………”? He laughed and everybody else laughed as well. And, of course, everybody on stage got his or her share of “Claaaarence” or “Maaaagnus” or “Marieeee” or “ooeees” (a few times we went on for so long and loud they had to wait to start speaking or the next song).

One of the highlights of the night was surely when Chris played the hymn of FC Barcelona as the Joyride intro. It only needed Chris to play the first chords for the people to go wild and start to sing. If you’ve grown up in Catalunya and are a Barça fan you just know this song by heart, and it was simply special. Thanks for that!

The whole show was a constant sing-along and one could simply feel the love in the air. Goose bumps! It is simply one of the best feelings I know, to enjoy the most important band in your life, the one that has always been there since you were a teen, and feel proud to hear so many people share and give that love and share this moment with friends you have known for more than 20 years. The venue may not have been as full as the last time Roxette played in Barcelona, compared to Palau St. Jordi, but the explosion of fun and good wives in the air was there the same or even stronger.

The party went on after the show was over outside the venue. While walking to the car or down the Montjuic hill one could hear people commenting how amazing the concert had been, singing Roxette songs, or even hear some concert-goers blasting Roxette songs from their cars in the traffic jam. The reaction? Happy horns by neighbouring cars, clapping and singing by those who were going down by foot. Party! I heard some even went to a karaoke to sing some more Roxette songs…

Two TV channels (Catalan TV3 and Spanish TVE) were at the place and interviewed some fans before the show, recorded a few moments of the concert and broadcast a short report about the show as well. Check the links below to watch them.

Next gig is on Sunday (17th May) in Bucharest, Romania.

Articles and photos

Photos by Xavier Mercade.

Videos

News on Catalan TV3
News on Spanish national TVE
Stars” recorded by Catalan TV3
Youtube:
Watercolours In The Rain
Listen To Your Heart
Joyride
Fading Like a Flower
The Big L.
Spending My Time
It Must Have Been Love
How Do You Do!
The Heart Shaped Sea (check the videos by this user, there are quite many of them, including Crush On You)

Setlist

Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Stars
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush On You
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed For Success
Dangerous
Joyride

Extra:
Listen To Your Heart
The Look

Eskobar: “We are so much looking forward to the tour!”

eskobarI met Daniel Bellqvist and Frederik Zäll from Eskobar in a café at Mariatorget, Stockholm, a few days ago to talk about the upcoming tour as guest artist during Roxette’s XXX Anniversary tour in Europe, the band in general, creativity, upcoming projects and more. To find out more about the band and follow them on tour check their Facebook page. I have also prepared a playlist on Spotify (check at the end of the interview) with some of their hits so you can start learning the lyrics. First stop will be Madrid.

Judith (J): Thank you very much for taking some time for this interview. I know you are quite busy. So how are you?
Daniel (D): Lots of preparations before the tour, finishing up some things. We did a small tour in Denmark in March, we were just three of us, Frederik – who plays about 1000 intruments – , a drummer and me. We liked the setting so much, we decided to record an album in that setting to sell during the tour. So we recorded it some days ago, now we are finishing it. And we are trying to find something to travel in during the tour where we can all fit in.

J: That sounds like a lot of planning. Let’s start from the beginning in order to present the band to the Roxette fans. When did you start as Eskobar?
D: We released our first album in 2000, but we had played together many years before, six maybe?
Frederik (F): Yes, at least 6 years. I had a strange grunge band back then, and I needed a bass player for one show, I knew Daniel could play the bass, so I asked him to play in my band. And in return Daniel asked me to play guitar in his band, so we started helping each other, and one day we just decided to work in a band together. We have been brothers in arms since then.
D: Yeah! We went to the same music class in school, that’s how we knew each other in first place.

J: How did you choose your band name? Some Spanish fans have been wondering if it is related to the Spanish singer Manolo Escobar.
D: When we got our first record deal with V2 records we didn’t have a name for the band. We were so focused on music that we didn’t care that much about the name. Our first record deal doesn’t even mention the name of the band but just the names of the three of us who formed the band back then, Frederik, Robert and me. So we asked around for suggestions for the name, and the manager of another American band suggested Eskobar, we liked it and we said ok.
F: I think it was a few days before the first single was about to be printed, so the record company told us we really have to put a band name on it, and we were like “but it’s just about the music!” but well, in the end we found a name that we love.

J: So no connection to Manolo Escobar…
D: No, not directly at least.
F: We don’t know where the American guy got it from, I think it’s a typical surname.
D: We know Manolo Escobar, and he has this one song “Porompompero” that was translated into Swedish and sung by the Dutch-Swedish singer Cornelis Vreeswijk, it’s an amazing song and we had listened to it a lot, but we didn’t know it wasn’t his original song. So when we found out that it was Manolo Escobar’s song, we thought it was funny, like there is a connection between our name and the song that we like so much.
F: Indeed, I remember we used to sing this song on the tour bus even, so it’s a fun connection.

J: How did you start making music?
F: I started playing classical piano when I was five or so, I think I read music sheets before I could read, so I was really early in that, then I learnt to play saxophone, guitar, everything felt easy to learn and it was fun. I also didn’t think of starting a band back then, I just wanted to play. It was when we started high school that I thought, hey, we could actually start a band!.
D: Sort of the same for me, my grandfather was a folk musician, he always had lots of instruments around, he could play everything, like him (pointing at Frederik). The first instrument I started to play was drums, then bass, guitar.

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