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!

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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!

Year 2013 in review: busy times for fans!

Some time ago I started making a year-of-music summary for myself, go through memories of concerts I went to, albums I bought.

And doing that I just realised that this year was a busy one for Roxers, even more than 2011 and 2012 I would say. Did we ever have Gyllene Tider, Roxette, Per and Marie release something the same year before? And not to forget the books about Roxette and Gyllene Tider!

But let’s go step by step.

Gyllene Tider announced the release of a new album and summer tour in January, so they got us planning our summer holidays already early in the year. Some months later, in April, the album “Dags att tänka på refrängen” was released and reached #1 in Sweden. The singles off this album were “Man blir yr” and “Dags att tänka på refrängen / Singel”.

The summer tour comprised 19 concerts and was a success, which was documented in the book “Alla tiders Gyllene Tider” by Jan-Owe Wikström and Anders Roos. The book hit the stores in November. We could also watch a teaser of the upcoming GT DVD on TV4 in December. The compilation album “Soldans på din grammofon” was released just on time to warm-up for the tour and for people to go through the not-forgotten songs and lyrics. At least we got some nice extras with it!

For the first time, queuing and getting to front row for hardcore fans was uncomplicated thanks to the security guys at Show Security Sweden.

Per released the “Small Apartments” soundtrack in March/April both on CD and vinyl. Three more wines were added to the Per Gessle Selection: a Sommartider rosé and white wine that made the Gyllene Tider tour evenings funnier and Kurt&Lisa bottles were redesigned and filled in with wine from a new year.2013_2

Roxette released their very first live DVD and Blu-ray “Live – Travelling the world” in December. Fans could see a kind of preview already in December 2012 on Swedish TV. Sven Lindström released his book “Roxette – Den osannolika resan tur och retur” about Roxette’s journey in August. Roxette also gave the only concert of this year on 6th of April in Switzerland.

“Look Sharp!” turned 25 years old, SR radio celebrated that with a documentary full of interesting stories told by Per, Marie, Marie Dimberg, Clarence, Anders and some more Roxette related names.

Marie surprised us with a new album in Swedish: “Nu!” which was released in November. But that’s not all. Besides releasing the first single “Kom vila hos mig” in September, a tour for 2014 was announced in October. In August Marie recorded “Tack för musiken” – which could be seen on SVT in December. The second single “Sista sommarens vals” was released in November together with a very nice video directed by Emil Jonsvik.

The album “Souls” by Magnus Lindgren also features a song by Marie: “On a Sunday“.

And last but not least, Marie sang for Princess Madeleine on her wedding! Millions of people around the world could see the performance which was aired all around the globe.

Rox&Co related friends were busy too: Martin Sternhufvud released “Från ingenting till någonting” in March, Sandy Mouche released “Glory and Grace” in April and Brainpool released the single “The Last Christmas” in November and Marie Dimberg was chosen the most influential woman in Swedish music industry by MusikIndustrin.

On the social media/internet front we got three new official pages on Facebook: The Per Gessle Selection, Gyllene Tider and Marie Fredriksson. Per kept us very busy with many comments about his songs and old demos on Roxette Official as well as with videos and everything possible about the GT tour, wine and the studio sessions that started in October. Roxette Official reached 900.000 likes as well.

For RXB it was a year to be proud again. We interviewed the following nice girl and guys: Marie, Micke Bolyos, Micke Syd, Micke N-S, Martin Sternhufvud, Emil Jonsvik, Sven Lindström, Favela team (Blu-ray) and we made 14 fans happy with meet & greets and other contests. Our busiest month was November with 26 articles, we wrote 206 articles in total. And once again we broke our own number of visitors record and we reached no less than 26.000 likes and we wrote 766 posts on our FB page.

And last but not least, we shared beautiful memories of fans about the Roxette concert in Switzerland, meeting GT in summer and the GT book release party, as well as showed how the magic friend power works when it comes to do something together: the thank you messages to GT from all over the world after the tour and the Roxette poster flashmob in December.

Thank you for reading us one more year! We will be celebrating our 5th anniversary next year and we already have many ideas how we can celebrate this big time!

And with this said there is just one last thing to mention: cheers to a wonderful 2014!

RXB Team

Photos: Per drinking wine: Anders Mellden. Marie and Emil Jonsvik: Pernilla Pettersson. Marie Dimberg: Jonas Ekströmer. Meet & Greet in Gävle: Thomas Evensson.

 

Swedish press reviews Marie’s new album

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Marie’s new album is out today! We will collect the reviews published by the Swedish press here:

Allehanda (4/5)
Borås Tidning (4/5)
SVD (4/6)
GD.se (4/5)
Allas (4/5)
Aftonbladet (3/5)
Sydsvenskan (3/5)
Uppsala Nya Tidning (3/5)
Helsingborgs Dagblad (3/5)
Dagens Nyheter (3/5)
Värmlands Folkblad (3/5)
Göteborgs-Posten (2/5)
Smålandsposten (2/5)
Corren.se
NWT (2/5)
Expressen (2/5)
Arbetarbladet (2/5)
Hallandsposten (2/5)

 

 

Review: “Roxette – Den osannolika resan tur och retur”

Sven_L_Roxette_DORTOR_coverI just finished reading the last page of  “Roxette – Den osannolika resan tur och retur” and to put it in short: go and buy it and read it!

With this said, let’s go a bit more into details.

One could say the book is split into two parts; the first one is about Roxette. The author Sven Lindström goes through Roxette’s journey since they started with “Neverending Love” and played the last concert of the 2011-2012 tour in Mexico in September last year. You will find some interesting information about what happened in the USA, the ups and downs in the relationship between Per and Marie, Marie’s illness and recovery and the celebrated amazing comeback that we had the honour and blessing to witness the past years.

And Sven does a great job showing the world what Roxette is about! Even though there was nothing really new for me in the book besides a couple of details or things that I had forgotten, Sven puts the story down in a very nice way, in a way that made me feel proud and happy of having joined this joyride back in ’89. I laughed, I cried, I felt happy, I was surprised while reading the book. The book is clearly targeted to those who don’t follow Roxette on FB or read news on fan websites but are interested enough in the band and want to know some details about Per and Marie and how it all happened. But it’s also a nice documentation for Roxers and it will surely make you remember many things and bring back very nice (and not so nice) memories. And even though I know the story very well, I more than once felt I didn’t want to stop reading, and that, for me, is what makes a difference in a book.

The last 100 pages are dedicated to Roxette fans, or Roxers as we all call ourselves. Sven met many fans during his trips to South America, Russia and Europe to see Roxette and he decided to publish 5 stories of 6 die-hard fans, as he called them in the interview we did with him last week (stay tuned!), from different parts of the world: Argentina, Russian, Germany, Brazil and Poland/Sweden. This is the part of the book that has raised more eyebrows the past weeks since the table of contents of the book was published online. People have been wondering why so much about fans and why those fans. I was also wondering if I would find it interesting at all and I didn’t read it straight away like the first part. But then reading through the stories I realised that I’ve been there and done that a couple of times too and I am sure you will find yourself in the stories to a certain extent, too. We are all.. magic friends!

The only down-side is that there were moments where I would have liked to go on reading about the stories and get more the details. And that, compared to “Att vara Per Gessle”, there are very few pictures on this one. But one can’t have it all and this doesn’t change my final conclusion.

And it all begins where it ends… just get it if you can and if you speak Swedish, it’s simply worth it! Let’s hope it gets translated into more languages so that it can reach much more of you and public in general.

You can get the book on Bokus, they deliver to 35 countries besides Sweden.

[Update September 22:] Patrícia also wrote a review, you can read it on FB.

Sommartider wines turn out to be as big hit as the song

There was a great press launch of Per Gessle’s Sommartider wines on 8th May at Gondolen Gastronomi, in Stockholm. All wine journalists seem to be extremely positive about these 2 new items in The Per Gessle Selection.

 

Livets Goda:

 A wine that goddamn tastes exactly as it is called / sounds.

 

Allt om Mat:

I don’t like boxed wines and absolutely don’t like “celebrity wines” which tend to be praised for half shitty quality. To be honest, I thought that boxed wines with this kitschy name “Sommartider”, selected by Per Gessle, decorated with a few verses from the song and cute little flowers on the box could only be bad.

The wines don’t take you to another world, but they take you ashore. They’re good.

It will be this year’s hit.

 

Allt om Vin:

The vast majority of celebrity wines is of poorer quality than what you pay for. It is therefore an invigorating surprise that Per Gessle has chosen the opposite. The two boxed Sommartider wines are really worth their price (199 SEK/box).

 

SvD:

Considering Gessle’s solid interest in wine probably many think that boxed wines are not his mission in life. But in fact the wines are good.

This is an inspiring project for Per Gessle. Here he can combine his creativity with his interest in fine wines.

 

LEX Pop-Up:

The vast majority of celebrity wines are either of poor quality or overpriced. Or both! But there are exceptions. Thumbs up for Sommartider boxed wines.

 

Per_Gessle_by_Anders_Melldén_20130508_Stockholm

©Anders Melldén

You can find some other nice PG pix at the links pasted above. 😉 Don’t forget to check The Per Gessle Selection on Facebook for fresh pics / vids and news every now and then.

 

You can read more about Sommartider wines and where to order them in an earlier RXB article.

As Per informed the other day, wines are available in the ordinary assortment of Systembolaget at Eurostop in Halmstad. So, if you’re there in summer (or anytime), don’t forget to check and taste Sommartider. The boxes themselves are art and they will look good in any fan’s collection.

Update May 14th: The Wineagency, the company distributing Per’s wines, sent out a press release as well.

 

New-old Gyllene Tider sound charmed Swedish press

Today both Aftonbladet (Jens Peterson) and Expressen (Anders Nunstedt) have published their reviews of Gyllene Tider’s 6th studio album, Dags att tänka på refrängen. It’s not a surprise reading a positive review in Aftonbladet, but Mr. Nunstedt positively shocked most of the fans – and I guess non-fans as well. Some lyckopiller might have been involved while he was listening to the album. 😉

 

GT.se

 

According to Aftonbladet, Per Gessle wants you to clap your hands, your knees to be swinging and your mouth to be giggling. Well, what else? Don’t you feel the same with each Gyllene Tider album? Dags att tänka på refrängen – in Expressen’s opinion – is an energetic and playful album, full of ingenious melodies and smart arrangements. However, Anders Nunstedt adds he is curious whether the album grows even stronger after a few more listenings, as one of Gyllene Tider’s strengths has always been their ability to make a strong first impression.

Aftonbladet writes there is nostalgia and tributes to record stores and pop heroes. We already know Bob Dylan appears in the first track, but be sure there is some David Bowie, too. All 3 songs that we could have a listen to yet are full of typical Gessle rhymes and reading the reviews, there is much more to come.

You can find everything on this album from melancholically beautiful to uptempo party songs and from catchy pop candy to charming spaghetti western. “Lyckopiller” seems to be the one and only ballad. According to Nunstedt it’s a romantic piano ballad à la the classic GT concept, even if the song makes a trip to SOAP-land. “Knallpulver” is the only instrumental track and Mr. Nunstedt suggests the publisher to send it to Quentin Tarantino. Wow! What a great idea! After Small Apartments soundtrack everything is possible in hot hot Hollywood. 😉

In the title track, ”Dags att tänka på refrängen”, Per sounds young and life-affirming, says Jens Peterson. Anders Nunstedt says Mr. Gessle is singing duet with himself through the left and right speakers. It seems to be a good choice to end the short short short short short journey the album provides with its 38-minute length.

Expressen writes 10 of 12 tracks sound like they are written to be performed live. So, what about a medley this summer? DATPR compact. Well, maybe a medley with 8 of these 10 songs and ”Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej”, as well as ”Chikaboom (#2)” as separate songs in the setlist.

Release date of the album: 24th April, 2013.

 

 

I saw you in the crowd in the front row… in Vienna!

Roxette’s concert yesterday in Vienna was the best I have seen so far.

That said, let me tell you about this magic weekend and the concert a bit more in detail. My friends Alex and Txiqui from Spain arrived on Sunday, we headed to the center of Vienna to meet Michi and do some sightseeing and have dinner. Even though I am not religious, I find cathedrals impressive buildings, one of the nicest I have seen is Stephansdom in the heart of Vienna. I find it’s even more fascinating to see it at night, so we took our friends to see it, in and out. We, of course, had lots of fun talking about our crazy trips and preparing for the big event the next day.

The next day we headed to the concert place relatively late, compared to other cities and shows I have been to or heard of. I remember going to Kylie Minogue concert at Stadthalle some years ago, going there just like 1 or 1,5 hrs before the doors opened and reaching first row with no real effort. So I hoped this would be the case this time too. When we got there some fans from Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and some Austrians were already waiting, but the weather was quite bad, cold and raining, so we didn’t feel like waiting in the rain for more than 3,5hrs and we went to a café nearby and had a nice chat with Sandra who had joined us.

The doors were supposed to open at 18:30, so we thought waiting for about 1,5 hours would be enough. We got our spots on the first row, right where we wanted, between Christoffer and Marie.

Mobilée, the supporting act, was set to start at 19:30. Roxette at 20:40. Somehow time flew. Mobilée was a nice surprise, a mix of country folk music with indie alternative I would say, but also quite nanana-pop. They did a good job warming the audience up, quite surprising for a band who – according to the singer – had never played in front of such a big audience before. They also seemed very overwhelmed by the reaction of the audience, clapping and jumping along. It was almost a pity that they didn’t play longer!

But just for a few minutes… ok, seconds.

Per’s playlist started to play to build up anticipation for the big moment. After “Sing” I started to get nervous, I somehow remembered from other shows that after that song it wouldn’t take long until Roxette & co would step on the stage. But the best sign for it is when Micke N-S takes the 2 guitars and brings them behind the curtain. Then music stops. It gets darker. Silence, or at least it feels like that, since the stadium is actually not silent at all, people are actually shouting and calling Roxette.

And then they all run to their places and the show starts with “Yeah yeah yeah!!!”. I think this is one of the best moments of the concert, explosion of guitars, Marie’s powerful voice, lights. A friend of mine told me that she wasn’t expecting such a show at all, and that it was a rocking show from the first song. “Yeah yeah yeah!” And this way the first concert of the Autumn tour started off.

I think I haven’t jumped so much during the first three songs as yesterday, I was really out of breath after “The Big L.”. Good it was time to slow down a bit with “Wish I could fly” and gather some energy for the next powerful round: “Only When I Dream” and “She’s Got Nothing On (But The Wiener Schnitzel.. Radio!)”.

There were a few surprises in the show, as Per had already posted on Facebook and told in the airport, they would play 2 new songs. The first one was “Soul Deep”, which was played in the middle of “Radio”. Helena plays the cowbell (?) instrument during this song, and I always thought this sound and rhythm reminded me of another of their songs. I just realised THEN which one! It fits so well, and the moment when “Soul Deep” starts is simply perfect. There is even a similarity in the lyrics „take my breathe away“. I was never a big fan of “Soul Deep”, at least not the album version, I like their live version from previous tours but still.. not my favourite. Until yesterday. Marie shouting and jamming with her voice to the sound of “Soul Deep”, deeps and highs.. simply A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!

This medley led to the next round of ballads. And we could finally see what the new stage was to offer. I actually didn’t know what to expect when Per said there had been changes. I was afraid that it would become too sophisticated.  I liked the quite simple stage and the fact that they were the attraction and not what was happening behind them. I saw the curtain fall and the background was suddenly black before and during a part of “It Must Have Been Love”. I asked myself  “hm? The background stays now black?” Ha! Suddenly the background turned into a sky full of stars! I am a big stars fan. Whenever I am not in the city and I get the chance, I stare at the sky, at the moon, at the stars. And suddenly I was standing there listening to Roxette, feeling like I was on top of a mountain staring at the stars.

Then the spotlights turned into light effects with “Opportunity Nox” and “7twenty7”. Disco party! Helena and Christoffer spotted us straight away at the beginning of the show and had lots of fun with us, and we with them. Interaction with the audience in a concert is the most important for me. It’s these small things like dancing, pointing, waving, smiling, looking at each other which for me make the difference. And this is something Helena and the others do so well, and, of course, Per and Marie. It is a great feeling as well when you see they recognise you and put a big smile on their face like “Hey! You are here too!” During these two songs we put on our special-super-fashion glasses. I am still laughing at their reaction!

The next surprise was “Crash! Boom! Bang!”, which we had shortly heard during the rehearsals. Not only the fact that they were playing “C!B!B!” was a surprise, but also the nice arrangements and how they split the song. Per started the first verse in a more acoustic way and Marie joined the second part and the song went then from acoustic to full power ballad. It’s a bit sad that “Silver Blue” had to be replaced by this track – instead of simply adding it to the set list, but I guess there is a reasonable explanation for that. On the other side, it was a real treat for all long-time fans to have been able to enjoy this song live, at least for a while. I would have never expected them to sing “Silver Blue” live, ever. So thanks for that! And after all, it would be boring to hear the same set list for 1 year!

Per teased the audience playing the first chords of “How Do You Do!” – amazingly people recognised the song and started to sing on their own. I just learnt “How Do You Do!” and “Tourism” were huge hits here in Austria, so there you have it. The perfect bridge brought us to “Dangerous”.

Of course, Clarence got our attention as well, what else could the Clarence Fanclub do but shout “Clarence! Clarence! Clarence!” during the band intro? Christoffer waltzed us to “Joyride”. It was fun to hear the crazy speeded-up Waltzer, it had been the #1 suggestion out of 5 or 6 I had sent Christoffer a few days before the show. Falco had been on the list as well, Per mentioned in the beginning of the show that maybe maybe maybe maybe Christoffer would be playing a Falco song, so I then knew Chris would not play any Falco.

After “Watercolours In The Rain” and “Spending My Time”, which the audience sang along alone for a while, the famous guitar intro turned people even crazier. “The Look” was one of those interaction moments for us too. Helena ended up with our super-fashion yellow glasses and dancing with us. And Christoffer with our guitar-wizard hat just before “Listen To Your Heart” and “Church Of Your Heart”.

The audience was – for the Austrian standards if I am allowed to say that – amazing. As you know, I come from Spain and I am used to clapping, shouting and singing along non-stop in a concert. The isn’t that way here. At least not from the first minute on. It takes a while until people melt and start to have fun. I felt audience went wild from the beginning. I couldn’t see the sitting areas so well, but I know from other concerts that people sit and don’t stand up to dance, but I heard from various friends who were standing at the back that even though it took a little while, many people stood during the whole show, and specially at the end. So I tell you Roxers: this is nothing everybody achieves! Be proud!

And what else can I say about Roxette? It didn’t feel like there had been a 2-month break at all. One could see they were all happy to be on stage again. The sound was impressively rocking and powerful and crazy. And the new stage gives it a special flair, it really fits the indoor concerts which are planned for the next weeks. If the band is like this already now, how is it going to be in Barcelona?

After the concert we couldn’t move our legs and arms anymore. The feeling was worse today when I stood up. I even have sore muscles in my jaw of so much laughing! I just can say I am glad that I am going to see them in more cities, I just added one concert to the list today. I would never trade these concert moments for anything. The feeling of happiness during and after the concert is hard to describe. I just thought today that I could do this for a living!

Definitely, this one was the best (Roxette) concert I have seen so far.

A big thank you to Roxette and band! And thanks magic friends for the nice moments as well!

Australian website reviews “Charm School”

Same Same, a well-known Australian gay and lesbian lifestyle website has written an extensive and positive review of “Charm School”. Here some quotes:

“…the word that comes to mind when trying to place this album in context is ‘respect’ – respect for making an album worth making, one that surprised me and kept me listening…”

“…one reason the album works so well is the intermingling of, essentially solo, tracks by Marie and Per, with their work as a duo…”

 

First Review Of ‘Leaked’ She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio) Get’s Thumbs Up!

The Website ‘Pop In Stereo’ is possibly the first to review the new Roxette single after it’s leak on the internet yesterday. The single has received both positive and negative comments from fans around the world, but it predominantly seems all positive and fans seem in high spirits that Roxette are back again!

The review of the single which was published on their website yesterday on New Year’s Eve, talks about the new album ‘Charm School’ and where the album has been recorded and who is behind the production of the album as well as giving the release date.

As for the single, it gets a big thumbs up from the reviewer in which they describe soaring vocal melodies and say it is what you would expect to hear from a band that created some of the biggest hits of the 80s and 90s. They also say if the single is promoted properly, ‘She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)’ could be poised to acquiring Roxette a whole new audience of music fans.

To protect the policies of the Roxette Blog I am unable to link to the site, but feel this is most certainly a newsworthy article as the website Pop In Stereo attracts a lot of visitors!

“Gessle over Europe” reviews

Signed copy of "Gessle over Europe"Two reviews of “Gessle over Europe” CD+DVD set appeared in the Swedish press – the first one comes from Göteborgsposten and the author, Johan Lindqvist, gives the album 3 out of 5 and says that “Party crasher tour” got only press when Marie Fredriksson came in picture.

Another review was published in Upsala Nya Tidning and GOE got 4/5. Per Gessle was compared by the journalist, Ulf Gustavsson, to the cat with nine lives – his Swedish or English solo career, Gyllene Tider, Roxette or Son of a Plumber. Anyway – the review is really positive.

And tonight, the very first look at the DVD – stay tuned!