Today was the day – time to watch the Roxette diaries. Yes, the film is out for a while now, but I didn’t bother to watch it any earlier since I had ordered the wrong version without English subtitles and I really didn’t want to watch it without them. Waking up today I decided to give it a try. My Swedish is not the best, but I learned enough from Per, Marie and Kent that I can at least read it very good. So I switched on the Swedish subtitles and the fun began.
It took me two and a half minutes to get into tour mood again. There are two simple reasons for me: There’s a very special energy between Per and Marie in the beginning and it lasts until 1993, I think. It feels very special to watch both of them interact. You can feel in every scene how much fun they had in the 80’s and in the early 90’s. They just did what they know best: music. And they had fun together, all of them. And this is maybe what most fans search or long for the most: They want to be sure that their favourite band is nothing but a big family, having fun together, on and off stage, create great music and conquer the world. Yes – this movie transports this feeling very well. At least the first hour. The whole band is just easygoing, lighthearted, happy, untroubled. My heart leapt watching this! And I remembered how much I love them – and we have a silver wedding this year. It’s been 25 years of unconditional love of my part this year. Can this be called the love of my life then?
The second reason why I suddenly can’t wait for June to roll on: I suddenly remembered that they still have an awful lot to give. They are not finished yet. Seven years have been stolen off them. Seven years of nothingness and yet seven years time to heal a strained friendship. I need to see more of this healed relationship between them. It has never been nicer to watch them on stage together.
And what I implied here I honestly mean: While in the beginning Marie and Per seem to be a unit, they certainly are no longer from 1993 on. Of course, this can be due to the cutting of the film, but did anyone else notice that Marie is almost not to be seen in the last 30 minutes of the film?
There’s one scene at the end where someone asks (is it Per?): “Where is Marie?” right before a performance. Yes, folks, I wondered the same. Where was she? And someone else in the film replies: “Ingen aning.” No idea. I had no clue either.
What we all knew to be true suddenly becomes real – yes, their friendship turned from friendship to business somewhen between 1992 and 1993. There’s no way to deny it. There’s no more fun around. And this is the shocking part of the diaries: Interviews, travelling, TV shows, promotion, concerts – there’s a 90 minute development of wearout to witness. It almost broke my heart to watch this. Smiles got less, fun got less, friendship almost not detectable.
But thinking about the recent years they gave to us, I can only say: We are the luckiest fans in the world. I don’t know how they did it, maybe it’s just the happiness, the gratefulness to have survived this bad illness Marie had, but they certainly overcame their problems and enjoy their time together again. And it’s something different now, when Marie isn’t doing interviews or doing all the other promo crap stuff that comes with being a pop star. We all do understand it and maybe we even understand it more when we know now what it did to them in the early 90’s.
Yet, this is a brilliant movie and my only criticism would be that there were too many concert parts at the end. I would have loved to see more of the Tourism and Crash!Boom!Bang! recordings. Maybe we get to see the rest of it soon. Per’s “soon” would suffice here, though. And I would also love to see the 2009-2016 footage. You know why – just to get me in the tour mood again and again and make me fall in love with them again and again. Nothing and nobody compares to Marie and Per.
Some days ago we asked you to list your Top3 favourite Roxette studio album covers. We got a lot of comments and after the collage had been shared both on Roxette’s official Facebook page and Instagram account, there were even more votes. It seemed to be obvious which covers would end up at the Top3 positions, but I was curious about the exact results. It’s of course not a representative sample, but who else could judge Roxette’s album covers better than Roxers?
After checking all the comments, I counted the votes / mentions and found out the Top2 were indeed quite obvious. Most people voted for Joyride and Look Sharp!. I would say the difference between the number of votes is so tiny, the 2 covers are equally strong. The third position is occupied by Crash! Boom! Bang!, but Tourism was very close to become the third as well. The difference is quite small here, too. The 5th best cover according to Roxers is that of Room Service.
The remaining 4 covers are well behind any of those in the Top5. No surprise poor Travelling (which was released 4 years ago today, by the way) is at the end of the list. I remember how excited we all were about the new album in 2011 and 2012 and when the cover was shared on Facebook, tons of us first thought it was a joke and that it couldn’t be the final design. Not that it wasn’t funny to see BoJo on the sleeve, but… ehm… Then we decided, OK if the content is awesome, we don’t really care about the cover. The songs turned out to be fab, so the sin made with the album cover was forgiven, so to say.
We like busy covers only if there is a real concept behind them (see Tourism) and we love professional, artistic photos of Marie and Per on the sleeve. We are not into weird Photoshop attempts (see Travelling) and busy covers with seemingly no concept behind them (see Charm School). Don’t get us wrong, we love seeing such non-pro pics, but it works much better on social media sites or in books than on album covers.
These days when music is consumed rather digitally, it might be even more important to have a great cover to catch the attention of those who still go and buy CDs at record shops. Come to think of it, even for digital use it is important to have a good-looking sleeve. At least I prefer seeing a clear, eye-catching cover pic on Spotify and similar sites when I listen to music either on computer or on my smartphone.
So anyone in charge of the upcoming album cover design, please make an attractive one! Now you can see which directions Roxers prefer. 😉
A week has gone since my last Roxette show (ever?) in Vienna. I tend to think it was my last Roxette show ever, but I am always open for a pleasant surprise, of course. Why I do think that this is it? The final countdown, the last tour ever? Yes, just because of Marie’s condition. I know very well that she is a warrior, the greatest warrior I know. Maybe, but maybe, just maybe, all of this is too much to fight for. I don’t know. I posted a very long text about her and my perception of her condition in another article (there’s an English translation at the bottom of the text). I don’t want to go in too much detail here now. It’s only part of my thoughts and I already have put them in words, so I try to move on from it. But yes, it felt a bit like a farewell to a long long dream for me.
So, my last show was in Vienna, Wednesday, July 8th, 2015. Unfortunately, the tour stress had totally exhausted me which forced me to leave my place in the third row during “Spending my time” already and got me to a spot on the side of the stage. Suddenly I couldn’t handle all the people around me anymore, it was too loud, too crowded, just too much. I had wished for a better ending to this whole touring experience as I have never done it this extensively (10 shows in 14 days). It wasn’t meant to be and so I stood at the very far end of the stage, held a mug with water in one hand and my jacket in the other and watched Marie trying to deliver her notes.
I joined the tour with the start of the German leg of the European part of the tour. Roxette had been on tour already six weeks. The first European show in Milan I had attended, yes, but after that, as said, six weeks break. So, I came to see the concert in Cologne and joined all the travelling until Vienna.
What’s left to say? It was a very intense, very confusing, very life-changing experience. Apart from the concerts I realized that I am actually really too old to queue the whole day in front of the venue in 36°C, even though we could mostly sit in the shadow. My body doesn’t want to be in the heat for several hours, then get tense when it’s close to inlet and then run for a minute and then relax, just to tense again when it realizes that air is practically not existing inside the venue. At least my body doesn’t want that several times a week and that’s probably what it showed me in Vienna.
I realized that I am also too old to stand in front of hotels and airports and waiting for the right moment to ask for a photo. This moment never comes. Every fan is so dependent on the mood of her star, so was I. Fortunately, with Roxette, I adore a band who always took their time and mostly never have a bad mood or when they don’t show it their fans, at least there was only one occasion I witnessed it.
I also realized that I might be too old to adore people who don’t even know me. I started to ask myself what I actually expect when I meet them? I wrote in my other post that it’s the feeling of breathing the same air for some moments. This might be it. I don’t know. I know it’s different when it comes to Marie. Since her illness all I ever wanted was to show her my support in every situation possible. There were many times when she gave back so much, thanked for our support or even begged for more. Moments I can hardly forget or ignore. It stopped this year. For me and for her. She doesn’t notice or doesn’t want to notice her fans anymore and it’s finally time to step back for me. Concerts: Yes. Anything else: No.
So, yes, I’d do it all over again, travel miles and miles and never stop, I would, but my reasons have drastically changed. Still, there is this “have to support Marie” thing, it’s very strong, it can’t be abandoned easily. Then there is the other reason that got stronger and stronger during my journey: Meet other Roxers, laugh together, wait together, sing together, enjoy time together. I am so happy that I met so many nice people, maybe this was the most important thing for me during this trip. I finally remembered why they all are so special, even those who I thought wouldn’t speak a word with me anymore. I really really loved that. In the end we’re on this ship together and when it’s time to wave the white flag, whenever that is, we have to do it together somehow anyway.
I am trying to point out some of my personal highlights of the ten shows I saw now:
The best Roxette show I ever saw was the one in Berlin. This was another topic I wrote something about it, unfortunately it’s in German only so far, sorry for that. This was a magical night, moments that can’t and won’t be forgotten. The audience maybe wasn’t the loudest, but the most empathic. It took over when Marie forgot the lyrics and from that moment on everything could happen and it did. I am happy I was there. I could feel the love floating around from the stage to the audience and back. It was the one perfect night.
The best local song Christoffer played was probably “An der Nordseeküste” in Hamburg. It worked surprisingly well regarding the fact that this isn’t a German song in origin. The audience sang even louder than the people in Cologne who got their very own anthem “Viva Colonia”. For Non-Germans: “Viva Colonia” is T-H-E song in Cologne and even in parts of Germany. So I really wondered why it didn’t work THAT good this time. The funniest moment was most certainly Christoffer’s attempt to play Helene Fischer’s “Atemlos” which was probably the most played German song in 2014 and 2015 (just guessing).
I loved that Per shared our “bring us some water or ice” photo from Stuttgart. We had so much fun that day and it made us smile despite the heat. Unfortunately, we never got the ice or the water (just kidding, of course). Being a Roxer for 24 years you very well realize how special it is to communicate with your star in such a direct way. You post a photo, you know for sure that he sees it and when he shares or likes you are in heaven for some hours. Yes, that’s how it works. Praise the internet!
I also won’t forget the very messed up inlets in many many German cities, almost all of them. Gates that get less and less, although people are already queuing, scanners not working, security staff who don’t know how to mark a ticket, entrances that get closed completely ten minutes before the doors open, security staff telling you you are not allowed to sit down, because it’s too dangerous, others not telling you where you have to run – it was a mess, really. After three shows we joked about founding a consulting agency for security companies. They know so little, they do want to know so little – it can make you really angry. Worst are those who keep the guitar picks for themselves, by the way.
But let’s get back to the positive things. One of them: The amazing setlist Per Gessle put up. What a trick to end the show with “The Look”. What a great idea to bring “How do you do” back as standalone song again. People always have loved “How do you do” so much and it worked so very well at every single show I have been to. This was most often THE party crasher and people were not to stop from that point on. Yes, the audience expects the hits, the great number ones and the singles – it’s true and I can live with it, but after my last show I joked that I really don’t want to hear “Joyride” again so soon and that I am actually happy that I could keep myself busy with the balloons rather than singing. It’s a pity, of course, that I never applauded the band during the band presentation because I was so busy with getting the balloons ready. I still love the balloon thing very much.
We also had a talk about the stuff the fans do during the show and another fan had a very new thought: That we fans are part of the show as well. We do the balloon thing, we clap in moments non-fans don’t know (you know which songs I mean, Dangerous (attracted to go-go deeper tonight), The Look (head drum)), we try to sing “How do you do” on our own after the first riff and get the rest of the audience to join (it never worked until today, of course). Yes, there might be something to it. I had so much fun with all of this!
The general audiences really surprised me, though. I cannot count the times I heard people singing “The Look” while leaving the venue. One sang the verse, others joined in with the “Na na na na nas”. They were full of love for the band and didn’t hesitate to show. This felt much different during the last tour in 2011 and even more different during the Room Service tour 2001. Which brings me to my next point: This band loves to play, loves to be on stage, to play live, to improvise a bit, to make music together. You can see it every second they are on stage, even on their tired days. And this transports so much that people can’t help but join in. It might be compassion, farewell or memories bringing them to the shows, but they leave with different feelings: admiration for the band, the love for music and the will to definitely buy a new Roxette album. This band is so rocky. I heard that on the radio one morning: Roxette came as a pop-rock band to the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, but left as a rock-pop band. What a compliment for a band that earned so many bad reviews for their bubblegum music back in the 90’s!
So, what’s left after my last show in Vienna?
There’s a lot of good memories, some bad memories, decisions I made, a heart that’s still full of love for these people who accompany me for 24 years, a wish for another tour at least in North America so that I finally have a reason to go to New York (and I already have made appointments there with fellow Roxers, I didn’t forget that, Basia, Mareike and Mariana), and a deep deep longing which stands over it all that certain conditions get better again, the deep hope that something or someone can stop what we unfortunately witnessed this year and really don’t want to see and to see happen at all. The one topic we never talk about much. And then there’s the will to go on tour like this forever and that time just stands still, please.
As we mentioned it in our latest review, Sandra Knospe celebrated her 200th gig in Amsterdam 2 days ago. 200! What an impressive number! Hard to beat it except if you are member of the band or at least the crew. 😉 It’s not only Roxette, but also Marie and Per solo, as well as Gyllene Tider, but most of the shows she attended were Roxette gigs. She followed the band from South America to Australia, but being a German girl, she of course went to the most shows in Europe. And why I use past tense here I have no clue… she followed the band from here to there and she’ll never stop. Well, she was truly born to follow.
When Sandra enjoyed her 100th show she surely didn’t expect she would have such a special treatment 100 concerts later. The crew offered her to see the venue from a different perspective and showed her around the stage. Then on the concert the band mentioned her anniversary. What a night!
Here are Sandra’s thoughts about her 200th gig:
A Rox gig with a different perspective
Another day another concert. After Rox had played in the famous L’Olympia just the other night it was Amsterdam’s turn now. Approaching the venue at around 5pm I have to say I was surprised to see way less people queuing in front of it than usually. There were two entries, one for people who had bought the expensive Early Entrance tix and one for the remaining concert visitors. I expected to see more “hardcores” in any of the queues, but I guess some just decided to come late since it didn’t make sense to queue the whole day with a normal ticket and no big chances of front row anymore. And other Roxers probably have decided to skip the concert completely and boycott the EE ticket policy from Live Nation. So maybe one doesn’t need to wonder that it felt a bit different outside this time. And in a way it continued inside.
The entrance for EE ticket owners was around 6.15pm and the others followed shortly afterwards. I can’t really tell how the entry was outside, because a friend of mine and I were lucky enough to get to see the stage from the other side of the fence while the doors opened. That evening I celebrated my anniversary of 200 concerts including Rox, P&M solo and GT and a very kind person suggested that maybe it would be interesting for me to see the things from a different perspective. And it was!! I am very happy and extremely thankful that we got this little special treatment!!
After that my friend and I found our places in the front and we were eager to see the show. Some chit chat with people around us and then Eskobar started to play. As a fan who has seen a few shows you can already sense during the supporting act what mood the crowd is in and if they will get infected by the vibe and atmosphere on stage. At least to 90% you can guess that already before Rox enter the stage. And this time it felt as if it would be a bit of a tough job to get the crowd into it. And it turned out to be like that. Of course Rox got a warm welcome when they finally entered the stage and people surely clapped and sang along to the choruses of the oh so well known hits, but in between it felt a bit quiet and the enthusiasm was, well, let’s say limited compared to all other shows of this leg so far. But that only goes for the audience. On stage the glorious 7 had a top night. Marie delivering a great performance, Per bouncing, spinning and dancing around. Lyrics where they belonged. Only Per with a cock-eyed brain once, when singing this line twice in a row during “Crush on You”. And speaking of Per I have to take the opportunity to mention here that there is a noticeable change since this leg in the way Per interacts with the audience. There is much more contact with the people in the front rows than before. Keeping eye contact for more than just a millisecond and checking out the first few rows quite often is not that usual for him. It feels nice to see him being so relaxed and acting and reacting to the crowd in a more open way on stage. And it’s not just me who has noticed it. So whatever has happened that made him change this I hope he keeps it and I am sure all other Roxers hope that, too. Because it adds some extra kix to every gig.
The band was in top shape as well. What I really like a lot is that meanwhile the short dialogues on stage are alternating. It’s not always the same every night and it looks and sounds more spontaneous and not that practiced anymore. Really funny. They should keep that. It adds a lot to the atmosphere. And if not for the normal concert visitors then for sure for the hardcore Roxers. OK, I have to admit I am probably not very objective now since I got a little extra mentioning on stage that night. And THAT surely made my anniversary even more special!! So unexpected and freaking amazing. You simply have to love them all. Not only for the music. But before going into raptures now I’ll rather stick to the review.
I enjoyed the concert to the full and the energy and mood on stage made it exciting for me. So after the gig I was all smiles. The only question I’ve asked myself was “Would it have been different audience wise without EE tix?” I tend to say yes, because I think more hardcores would have shown up and been in front row, partying and jumping all the time. But with 150,-€ per ticket one simply has to cross out some shows when you have planned to see them more than just once during their tour. So I really hope that EE ticket policy won’t become a regular thing. But that’s just my personal impression. And even if most of the visitors weren’t physically active, the general opinion of the people who were standing next to me was positive. They all enjoyed the concert. The only thing some mentioned was the feeling that the concert was too short. Well, what can I say? Surely, I agree on that and all of us would love to get more than 17 songs on a gig, but nevertheless, we enjoyed what we’ve got to the max. So thanks for playing and cheers to the next 200!!
The audience could have been more active, but anyway, even if there is a standing still crowd, you can always be sure there is at least one person jumping in the front during the complete show. And it’s Sandra Knospe. Indeed, to the next 200, Sandra!
About the gala Per said it was a lighthearted event with the usual red carpet-walking and quick TV interviews where the subjects changed between Marie’s brain tumor and Miley Cyrus’s tongue. He tells the award for this year’s song, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky was well deserved. Getting 2 awards, one together with MP for more than 5 million plays of Listen To Your Heart and one for more than 5 million plays of It Must Have Been Love among other, much older songs with the same amount of airplays was good for the ego, Per says. But all other 5 million-air songs are fantastic.
Regarding the book fair in Gothenburg he says whenever he / they do an official appearance, The International Hardcore Fans always turn up.
It’s always nice, they are really wonderful supporters from around the world who are there for better or worse. So the book fair was a very happy event for me. Lots of people and good atmosphere.
Roxette has been in the studio and finished a bunch of singles that will be released next year. We also aim to put together a brand new album in 2015, but right now we are concentrating on the “XXX – The 30th Anniversary Tour” starting October 28 in Vladivostok. It ends, as it looks now, the summer of 2016. I believe my passport expires then.