Roxette on MTV Unplugged – 30th anniversary

MTV’s acclaimed music series, MTV Unplugged premiered in 1989 and it showcased top artists in the industry performing acoustic versions of their songs. Roxette was the first non-native English speaker band invited. It was a fantastic opportunity for Roxette to show their qualities as a live band to a large audience worldwide. They recorded their show live at Cirkus in Stockholm, Sweden on 9th January 1993 and it was broadcast during MTV’s Roxette Weekend on 20th and 21st February, then on Swedish TV a week later.

Per says in the Att vara Per Gessle book:

It was good for our self-confidence to do the songs acoustically. The sound on the studio versions was based almost exclusively on production technology, but it was still quite easy to strip the songs down and play them in a natural way. And that probably affected the way we approached the new record [Crash! Boom! Bang!]. We wanted to tone down some of the technical stuff and find a more organic sound.

The gang

Lead vocals: Marie Fredriksson
Acoustic guitar & lead vocals: Per Gessle
Drums, percussion & Samsonite suitcase: Pelle Alsing
Backing vocals, accordion & mandolin: Vicki Benckert
Acoustic bass: Anders Herrlin
Acoustic guitar: Jonas Isacsson
Piano & pump organ: Clarence Öfwerman
Backing vocals, percussion & glockenspiel: Staffan Öfwerman

3 songs from the set – Joyride, The Look and Dangerous – were released on Roxette’s Rarities album in 1995, but for the rest we had to wait until their 20th anniversary in 2006 when they released the entire performance on a DVD in The RoxBox / Roxette 86–06 box set.

The 53-minute-long concert – 12 tracks + 3 short interview parts – on the DVD was what anyone could watch on MTV. The 8 bonus tracks weren’t on TV, they saw the light of day only on the 2006 release.

Setlist (they played the songs in this order originally)

  1. Dangerous
  2. Hotblooded
  3. Spending My Time
  4. The Heart Shaped Sea
  5. Fingertips
  6. Cry
  7. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (Aretha Franklin cover)
  8. Heart Of Gold (Neil Young cover)
  9. Surrender
  10. It Must Have Been Love
  11. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star (The Byrds cover)
  12. Watercolours In The Rain
  13. Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave)
  14. Here Comes The Weekend
  15. The Look
  16. Perfect Day


  1. Listen To Your Heart
  2. Church Of Your Heart
  3. Joyride
  4. Queen Of Rain

There would have been a second encore with Things Will Never Be The Same, The Big L. and So Far Away, but unfortunately, it never happened.

DVD setlist on the RoxBox

  1. The Look
  2. Queen Of Rain
  3. Hotblooded
  4. Interview
  5. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (Aretha Franklin cover)
  6. It Must Have Been Love
  7. Fingertips
  8. Interview
  9. Heart Of Gold (Neil Young cover)
  10. Church Of Your Heart
  11. Listen To Your Heart
  12. Interview
  13. Here Comes The Weekend
  14. Joyride
  15. So You Wanna Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star (The Byrds cover)


  1. Dangerous
  2. Spending My Time
  3. The Heart Shaped Sea
  4. Cry
  5. Watercolours In The Rain
  6. Surrender
  7. Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave)
  8. Perfect Day

Now, 30 years later, it would just be amazing to have this gem on streaming services. Both as audio and video. Maybe one day?

Stills are from the DVD.

Photo from the press conference shows Brian Diamond, MTV Europe Executive Producer and Monica Eek, Head of Entertainment at Swedish TV next to Marie and Per.