Gyllene Tider – GT40 LIVE! is out!

Gyllene Tider’s farewell tour is now out on all streaming platforms! Listen to it on Spotify, iTunes or Deezer! After a week delay vs. the originally planned date, GT40 LIVE! is released digitally and on CD on 1st November. We still have to wait a bit for the double LP (out on 22nd November), but we can already enjoy all 28 songs played live during the tour. Amazing to have them all on the digital sites! HERE you can check the tracklists.

The songs on the album are mostly from Gothenburg. The whole Ullevi gig is on the record with its 23 songs and there are 5 additional tracks. 2 songs from the last GT album recorded at the 2nd Halmstad show, 1 song recorded in Linköping, 1 song in windy Malmö and the last track is from the soundcheck of the very last tour stop in Halmstad.

It’s fantastic to relive the complete Ullevi show and feel the energy of 7 amazing musicians on stage and 54340 people in the crowd. While listening, I’m in the mood to sing along and clap and dance. I close my eyes and the ”movie” plays. I suddenly remember the choreography during the songs, the looks, the crowd reactions, the laughs – you can even hear Per laughing here and there while singing –, all.

At some parts I have the feeling that the crowd’s sound could be louder on the album, because I remember how harmonious it was at the venue when the band and the audience became one. I could sometimes hear the crowd being louder than Per’s voice, but not in a disturbing way. Anyway, the mixing is nicely done and the crowd can still be heard on all songs. Singing and clapping along.

One of my personal favourites is Det kändes inte som maj. It rocked live and it’s awesome to have it recorded. Inside the song these 2 lines, Per’s tone of voice still makes me smile: ”jag bor i huset intill”, ”jag spelar bara musik”. Haha. But all the other rocking party songs and wonderful ballads sound fab.

There is not much talking recorded between the songs. Some thank you’s from Per and a tiny little part of Micke Syd’s speech before Låt denna trumslagarpojke sjunga! Just the parts that are also adding to the live feeling.

When I first saw the tracklists and realized När alla vännerna gått hem is not the last song on any of them I was wondering how it would sound, a few more tracks after the real closing song. Hey, it’s cool to have a bit more party after that beautiful ballad. Regarding the last song, Vill ha ett svar, why the soundcheck version and not the show opening version was included, no clue. But this way I can at least also relive the moments of the soundcheck that we watched from the top of the small hill outside Brottet in Halmstad.

Lovely memories!

So if you have a spare 2 hours, go ahead and party with the Golden Guys and Girls! Relive last summer! The last GT summer… Hopefully, on DVD soon too.

Order your physical copies HERE if you haven’t done so yet!

RoXXXette On The Road – review

We knew it since the beginning of 2015 that a tour photo book project was going on in the RoXXX World and in May this year we got even more eXXXcited, when it turned out the release date is as soon as June. 16th June 2016.

SPOILER ALERT!

The book is already out and what an amazing photo book it is! A real celebration of our beloved band’s 30th anniversary! The book already looks wonderful on the outside. The size, the cover picture showing Marie and Per performing in front of a beautiful crowd on the steps at the Sydney Opera House in February 2015, the design of how the title is written with the 3 Xs with stars inside them and the name of the authors how it appears and tells you what the book is all about. It’s about a tremendous amount of fantastic photos taken by a most talented photographer, Anders Roos and it’s about the reflections of a most talented songwriter, Per Gessle and they 2 together show you how it really is to be on the road, to be on the 30th anniversary tour, the XXX tour of a most awesome band, Roxette.

RoXXXette On The RoadYou open the book and the first wow on the inside comes by seeing a series of bird view shots of the stage from the very beginning of building it up through the concert till the very end of tearing it down after the show. It’s just fabulous!

After the impressum and Anders’ nice words you see the list of people, teams and companies involved in the touring life of Roxette and then the contents show you which concerts were photographed and the titles of Per’s reflections. Then you bump into Mr. G’s preface, written in May 2016 to make it clear that the reflections were written before they gave up touring. When you read Per’s words ”they [the reflections] were created when Roxette was still a touring band”, you can’t help feeling the same way you felt on 18th April when you got to know they had to stop touring. Tears in the eyes and you hear in PG’s words how hard it is also for him. But we all respect Marie’s decision of course and she has full support of all in the band and among the fans as well. No question about it.

Knowing Per’s sense of humour you can be sure that there won’t be too many tears on further pages of the book, but with his #1 reflection he still won’t let your tears dry up. You’ll experience it when you hold the book in your hands and read it.

The book continues with the list of gigs on the XXX tour. All shows from the tour start in October 2014 in Russia until the last Roxette show ever, 8th February 2016, Cape Town, South Africa. Suddenly, the cancelled show in Mainz, Germany is not on the list anymore, no matter how many T-shirts were produced, haha, but the corporate gig in September 2015, Warsaw, Poland is there. Strange to include it.

The first photos are from the band’s rehearsal in January 2015, before the New Zealand – Australia tour leg started and the last shots are from July 2015, Sweden, from the last Swedish show in Rättvik. It’s no exaggeration that you really get an all access pass with this book. You see places you have never seen before and become part of moments you would have never dreamed about being part of. Anders got access literally to everywhere. To the backstage, dressing rooms, gyms, buses, airports, hotels, ceilings, front rows, pool sides, stages, e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.! Being the fantastic photographer he is, he managed to capture the essence of Roxette very well with his camera. Anders has great eyes to see the band how we, Roxers see them. His shots show Marie and Per and the whole gang how they are. The photos truly reflect the down-to-earth band we love. All pictures show you the groovy mood related to the shows, but also the tiredness of travelling and waiting in between. The pictures are so dynamic that you would love to sing-along to Marie’s, Dea’s and Christoffer’s get together backstage and you would start dancing seeing the band on stage, playing 100% live, or you would even join the crew in building up the stage before the concerts. It’s absolutely awesome!

Besides all the above mentioned, you have some more tiny details in the photos, like Marie does have socks and even Pelle runs around barefoot. Haha. You see pics from different camera angles, close-ups and distance shots, tons of photos of Marie and Per (yeah, you get some bad hair day pics, too 😉 ), the band, the crew, the fans, venues, stages, studios, hotels and other strange places. Laundry, anyone? You flick through the book and over one page you start laughing, over another one you start aaaahing and then comes the aaaawing. Incredible!

What about the reflections? Per wrote 41 of them and each and every one of them is just adorable. You read a lot about him over the years and heard him talking about his thoughts in uncountable interviews. You would think he can’t tell anything new. Oh, yes he can! There are still some hidden thoughts and some of them are being shared in this beautiful book. As I mentioned before, he makes you ”cry” at the very beginning of the book, but then his sense of humour really shows up, as we got used to it. I won’t quote more from him, because I do think you should get the book and read all his reflections yourself to get to know more about his childhood and teenage years, how he step by step became who he is now, his paving the way to Planet Pop, his make-up, guitar and plectrum fetish, as well as what he wants to be in his next life. Haha. You will even get to know what Per’s biggest regret is. I tell you, this guy is hilarious! Besides all this, of course you get to know more about Roxette’s touring life, how the band works and worked before, Marie’s virtues at the studio and live and no, you can’t have any longer texts from Per without lyrics references. We like that!

How Per talks about Marie, the band, BoJo, the crew and the fans is always so heart-warming. I actually burst out laughing at his Roxette band bucket list and how he describes BoJo’s tasks. You’ll find some great words about everyone and you feel how much he appreciates the people around him. Let me quote him about the fans:

We’re used to having ”The Roxers” close to the stage all the time. I guess we’re spoiled by our adorable fans. … Roxette has got some of the most active, kind and generous fans imaginable. So many people all around the world have followed us through thick and thin over the years and it’s impossible to exaggerate the value of their love and support. What would we do without you? Let’s take a bow.

You must love him!

The book’s 41st reflection is a conclusion. Per makes it sound so simple. To get to know what he makes sound so simple, you have to get the book for yourself. But not only because of that. It’s really a must have book in a Roxer’s collection. You will all love each and every photo in it and all the reflections as well. If you attended any of the concerts Anders took photos at, you will probably find yourself in the book. Either in the crowd in front of Marie and Per or on a separate picture. The book makes you feel we are indeed a big Rox family. Marie, Per, their families, the band, the crew and we, Roxers. And we all love being part of this family, don’t we?

In case you want to have the standard book, get your copy at one of these sites: Ginza, Adlibris, Bokus, Amazon. There might be more selling points in the future. If you are interested in the limited edition book (300 copies), wait for some more info about where to get it. So far Bokus listed it.

ROTR_1  ROTR_2

All pics by Anders Roos.

 

It just happens – a review

Roxette just released a new siIt Just Happensngle, “It Just Happens”, and we felt we had to write some words about the song. The release was very much anticipated by fans all over. To celebrate the release many fans decided to change their profile picture to a butterfly, sweet, isn’t it? Another surprise of the day: It Just Happens was #1 on iTunes Argentina today! All very exciting, it all just puts a big smile on your face.

And now let’s get to the single:

Judith: Some people say it happened with some Roxette songs in the past, that they had to listen to them a few times to really appreciate them and kinda fall in love with them. It happened to me this time around.

It wasn’t until I listened to the song totally focused, meaning with my high-quality ear phones, and concentrated on all the details and the lyrics that it went boom! It was the part with “It just happens / you don’t know what’s going on / if it’s new or if it’s been there since long / if it’s right or wrong / you fall in love” that gave me goose bumps and brought me back to some very special events in my life. For example, when I fell in love with my big love, or even back to the time when I listened to “The Look” for the first time in 1989. It just happens.

I hadn’t thought about the fact that sometimes it takes a few listenings to appreciate a song. I then started to think and realised it wasn’t the first time that I needed a few listenings to realise the depth and awesomeness of a song. I remembered it was the same with “Sleeping In My Car”. It was quite a different sound to Joyride or Tourism and I had to listen to it a few times till it captured me. Or “A Thing About You” to mention another example. And then I just realised this is one of the things that fascinates me about Roxette. Even though they stay true to their Roxette sound, there is always some new component in their music. And there is always the attention to perfection and those (what I call) playful sounds and details here and there that you only hear when you mindfully listen to the song a few times. And it is always the combination of music, lyrics, voices and those playful details that makes it magical.

Have you noticed that in choruses Per usually slightly changes the lyrics? (“Don’t underestimate, your heart is never late vs your heart can never wait) Or the way they pronounce/sing certain words? (the first “it just happens”, “just yesterday”) Or those little hidden sounds or clappings or drum beats that just happen once but that you know perfectly when they are in the song and are anticipating them? (one keyboard sound after the second “don’t undererstimate” in the chorus is not there in the first chorus, it sounds only again after “your heart can never wait”)…This is Roxette!! And Marie’s voice is amazing on this one!

Of course, the song reminds me of many other songs, and the more I listen to it, the more connections I find to other songs. That is the essence of Roxette. Typical Roxette with a touch of new.

A great appetiser for the upcoming album “Good Karma” on June 3rd!

Kirsten: Before I had heard the song for the first time, a friend already had sent me a message via WhatsApp telling me what she thinks about it – and I think it’s a bad way to be introduced to a song/film/album whatever by another one’s opinion. Especially when it isn’t the best.

I must add that I am really trying hard not to expect anything anymore Roxette-wise. The Travelling album has its gems, same goes for Charm School, but they aren’t my favourite Roxette albums. On the other hand I want Per and Marie of course to do and record what they want, what they feel up to – it’s what I am curious about. How do they sound, what do they want to tell me?

Another not so good thing was that I had read on The Daily Roxette that Per rated the song as a “power ballad” which was sung by Marie. So, when I listened to “It just happens” for the first time, I was of course disappointed twice, because his words had made expect me something – which I really tried to prevent hard. 1.) This isn’t a power ballad (to me), 2.) It is not sung by Marie. When I hear power ballad and “sung by Marie” I have songs like LTYH, IMHBL or SMT in my head – immediately. I can’t help it; it’s what I grew up with.

So, my first listening didn’t make me feel like 12 again. It was an “ok” song with “ok” lyrics. But nothing that blew my mind.

When I posted my opinion on my Facebook page, some other fans and I started to discuss the song very intensely (that’s what I love about this fandom, btw) and came to a funny conclusion. Somehow, “It just happens” sounded like a Coldplay song to us, “Paradise”, in this case. But since “Paradise” totally reminded me of “Wish I could fly” all I could write was: “Roxette sound like Coldplay who sound like Roxette” which basically means that Roxette sounds like Roxette. That’s the way it should be, right?

And the comparison to WICF isn’t the worst. But after three listenings, I thought that it sounds more like LTYH. So, when Marie starts to sing “It just happens… you fall in love” you could also easily sing “Listen to your heart… when he’s calling for you”.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind artists stealing from themselves. Every singer/songwriter does it often. I don’t care. I just noticed it. And in the end I want them to sound like themselves, this only works when they stay true to themselves.

About the song: I love the sound, it is powerful, it is full, I love the instruments, the arrangements, it sounds very modern and updated. Thanks for finally turning away from the 60’s George Harrison sound. I loved it for the time being, but we really had enough of it!

What confused me from the very first time I heard it was the structure. I couldn’t get my head around it and I still don’t. It seems that the highlight of the song isn’t at the end, but in the first third. There is no build-up. Have I ever heard something like this before? I don’t know. The middle 8 isn’t the introduction to a great outro with even more instruments or another strong chorus. It actually gets quieter towards the end and this surprises me every time I hear it.

I like the lyrics and we all know why they are kept “easy”. I love both vocals, even though I had not expected Per to sing at all. I would have loved it even more if we had gotten a bit more from Marie in the verses (but that’s just me, because I think that both voices fit together like paper and glue, fire and wood.. you get the idea..).

I don’t know anything about the music business or the reception of a new song, but I always find that it’s hard to sell a song that doesn’t work from the first second at the first listening on. Something must set free in the listeners’ brain or soul.. if it doesn’t happen, they will never buy the song. I don’t know about “It just happens”. Maybe it’s a classical radio song that needs a lot of airplay to climb the charts. “She’s got nothing on (but the radio)” did it and this was a song I really only loved when I heard it live for the first time. Man, live this was a killer!

And I really would love to hear “It just happens” live, too. Just because Roxette are one of the best live bands at the moment. They simply rock and some of this rock couldn’t hurt their songs either.

So, long text… all in all I think it’s a good song with a catchy melody. For me, the last single that really flashed me was “Wish I could fly” and “It just happens” doesn’t change it. (But I didn’t expect that anyway. Just keep on singing together, Per and Marie!).

Roxette Diaries – a review!

roxette_diaries
Photo: Nico Radoi

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.

200 Roxette World related shows

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

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Pic by Sandra Knospe

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!