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.

Roxette Diaries at the Berlinale

As we posted about it some days ago, LevelK, a sales company handling international sales and distribution and managing the distribution rights for quality films and TV productions worldwide started to deal with the Roxette Diaries. They bring the documentary as part of their Berlin International Film Festival line-up.

They describe the docu as:

The extraordinary pop documentary ROXETTE DIARIES that through self shot video material presents an intimate portrait and an unique insight into the world of one of the 80’s and 90’s biggest pop bands.

Roxette Diaries is in clear focus. Roxette appears on the cover of LevelK’s festival magazine (click HERE to download) in which you can find 2 pages about the docu, including Rox pics from the past.

Nice promo for this long-awaited film, which is set to be released on 7th March. Now it’s out really soon.

 

rox_diaries_levelk_1_rs  rox_diaries_levelk_2_rs

Thanx for finding the magazine, Roxette Cafe.

 

Thank you, 2015! Welcome 2016!

2015

Another year, another retrospective!

2015 was once again a year full of releases, concerts, travelling, meetings, happy faces… everything a fan could wish for.

In January we got a sneak peek of the newly built and designed stage that would be premiered a few weeks later. February brought Roxette to New Zealand (finally!) and Australia. Back in February we heard that the new Roxette album would be out in autumn 2015. Well, we already know that the release of the album has been postponed a few times and it seems 2016 will be the year! When? Let’s hope we will get some news in a few weeks. In February, some more dates were announced for summer 2015 too.

In March the big news were that a biography about Marie would be released in autumn. And also that a 25th Anniversary version of “It Must Have Been Love” would be released. The PLECtionary was updated with the latest plecs from the 2015 Australia tour.

In April we got to know who would make our waiting time before a concert shorter and fun: Eskobar! I was personally very happy that Eskobar were chosen as supporting act for Roxette’s European leg of the tour. I have liked this band since early 2000 and it was about time to see them live! It turned out to be a great decision. Roxette fans loved the 3 guys, we hear some have started a fanclub….

The tour in Europe kicked off on May 10th in Milan and took the band to 20 countries (including Faroe Islands!) with a total of 36 concerts between May and August (including a cancelled one in Mainz) plus 2 corporate concerts, one in September in Poland and one in November in Stockholm. The cover of Marie’s book was revealed and we published an interview with Pelle and Eskobar.

Also we found out that Roxette Diaries – a documentary of Roxette done by Jonas Åkerlund with old recordings from late 80ies and early 90ies – would be released soon. The premiere took place in Göteborg in August and later on, it was revealed that the documentary will be released on DVD in March 2016.

In June Roxette visited Dublin, Trondheim, Ostrava, Sofia, Warsaw, and started the “mini-Germany” tour (in total 8 shows, plus one that was cancelled) in Cologne. Also this month the “The Look” remake was announced.

The (digital) new version of the super hit was released on 17th of July, right on time when Roxette was about to bring the tour to Sweden. The remake was recorded as part of Kappahl’s campaign and remixed by Addeboy vs Cliff. A video of the making of the song was also released. A 7″ vinyl was released later in August.

In August the tour ended in Drammen, Norway, with a very special concert with many fans from around the world. But we would not have time to get bored, since the dates for South Africa were announced. The PLECtionary was updated once again. As we mentioned before, Roxette Diaries movie was premiered on August 14th in Göteborg.

In September the promotion of Marie’s biographyKärleken till livet” started. The co-author Helena von Zweigbergk, visited the Göteborg book fair to talk about the book and give some signing sessions. An interview with Marie and articles about Marie and the book could be found on the major Swedish newspapers/magazines around the time the book was released (October 10th). Roxette played in a corporate concert in Warsaw, which despite the difficulties to get a ticket, some fans managed to attend. Also “Some Other Summer” by Sebastien Drums was released. This song is actually composed by Per, and the single released by Sebastien Drums is even sung by Per (and a few backing vocals by Marie). According to Per, the “original version” of “Some Other Summer” will be included in Roxette’s upcoming album.

More 2016 tour dates were announced in November. To our surprise… for Europe! Everybody was expecting South/North America, and maybe a handfull of shows in Europe. But so far we already counted 11 concerts, and rumours have it that there are more to come! According to the information available so far, the first concert we know of will be on June 3rd in Switzerland. The last one on the list is on September 11th, in Moscow. Tickets for all the shows are already on sale, so hurry up! Roxette gave the last concert of the year at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, a corporate concert for Tele2 (telecommunications operator) customers and other invited guests.

Marie gave a signing session in Stockholm on December 5th. On the same day, an interview with her and Helena was broadcast on TV4 Nyhetsmorgon. Many fans travelled to Stockholm for the chance to say hi to Marie and get the book  signed personally by her.

As I am finishing writing this article one thing (Aretha Franklin’s performance yesterday at Kennedy Center Honors, if you are interested) brought me to another (Aretha’s influence on Marie, which made me think of I Never Loved a Man) and I ended up listening to Roxette’s MTV Unplugged from 1993. Yes, recorded almost 23 years ago!

If one would ask me what would make the 30th anniversary of Roxette in 2016 very special my answer would be, loud and clear: an (or more) unplugged show.

Of course, looking very much forward to Roxette’s tour in Europe, something that came very much unexpected. And one can only feel thankful. That is the world I would choose for all what is happening. I am thankful it IS happening and I can experience it. With a small break in between in 2013, we have been able to see Roxette live almost every year since 2009.

What will happen in 2016? Here is a schedule of what we know so far:

  • January / February: Roxette to tour in South Africa
  • March: Roxette Diaries released on DVD.
  • June (?) – September (?): Tour in Europe is planned
  • Roxette turns 30!
  • Somewhen in 2016: a new album should be out soon. Per mentioned some days ago on FB that it’s almost done! (and Christoffer is very busy mixing!)

A big thanks once again to all of you reading us, sharing our articles (thanks Per!), joining our discussions on FB, for the hints, sharing your experiences in articles on our website.. thanks for your support! And from me big thanks to the RXB team, it wouldn’t be possible without you! We’ve had some issues this year with the servers (especially because the site doesn’t stop growing) so I’ve been kinda busy trying to solve that and some other tech-stuff in the background, so I feel so lucky to count on such a great team, thank you Patrícia, Kirsten, Tomasz and Sascha for the articles, brainstorming, ideas, laughs, meetings, experiences etc etc.

Happy new 2016 to you all!

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

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

roxette_diaries
Picture by Nico Radoi

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

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

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

11872008_10153229138764440_6141195069566446422_o-1
Photo by Paula Cafiero Högström

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

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

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

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

roxette_diaries1
Picture by Nico Radoi

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

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

roxette_diaries2
Picture by Nico Radoi

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

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

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

11896337_10153229138529440_8866066674774402342_o-1
Picture by Christina Tholander

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

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

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

per_roxette_diaries
Picture by Nico Radoi

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

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

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

Quotes from fans AFTER the film:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paula Cafiero Högström & Christina Tholander

Roxette Diaries premiere in August!

As we already wrote about it earlier, a Roxette movie is coming. According to Hallandsposten (1; 2), the Roxette Diaries behind-the-scenes documentary directed by Jonas Åkerlund will premiere in August at the Way Out West Festival. The festival is between 13th and 15th August 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

As you know, Jonas got exclusive access to a huge amount of private videos filmed backstage during Roxette’s world tours, in studios, during PR tours and at other places. He received the videos in April 2014 and now he created a story about Roxette. The first updates were about tapes from 1988-2001, but later Per said what you’ll see in the movie is from 1986-1995. Now Hallandsposten mentions 1988-2001 again, but he used our article as reference, so it’s probably 1986-1995 in the end. Let’s see what happens.

Watch the fantastic trailer on Mr. Åkerlund‘s website HERE!

Hopefully, the movie will be available soon to a wider audience, too.

roxette_diaries_premiere

P.S.: Thanx for reading us, Hallandsposten. 😉

Interview with Åsa Gessle in Hallandsposten

asa_gessle_in_hallandspostenThere is a long and very nice interview with Åsa Gessle in Hallandsposten today, both in printed format and on their website. You will also find some cool pics of Fru Nordin in there. Interview is done by Christian Albinsson, pics by Anders Andersson.

Åsa talks mainly about Hotel Tylösand, her role in the hotel’s life, her designer career, her relationship to Per, as well as her love towards Halmstad, life around Roxette and her filming on tours.

The article mentions Åsa and Per acquired Hotel Tylösand relatively cheaply in 1995 together with businessman Björn Nordstrand. Åsa says they re-invest a lot into the hotel each year. She finds it fun that the hotel is constantly growing and renewed, because she always had a dream to run a hotel, although she thought that it would rather be a small boutique hotel in the countryside than a large conference center.

Regarding Per, Åsa says he is more interested in the art hanging on the hotel’s walls and what kind of wines are served at the restaurants, design ideas, appearance etc. are more Åsa’s thing.

In the Hallandsposten interview she mentions there are plans to create a sun terrace on the roof top of the spa building. Mrs. Gessle says many of her favorite hotels abroad have such a sun terrace with a bar. She is very proud of her babies, Leif’s Bar & Grill and Bettans Bar and says she feels herself at home there.

She talks about how she ended up in Halmstad 33 years ago, in 1982, when she moved to there to open a clothes shop with her then-boyfriend. Their relationship came to an end and she was introduced to Per by a common friend of theirs, Lars Nordin.

I already knew who Per was, but Gyllene Tider were not exactly my idols, so to speak. I had also lived a few years abroad and had not really kept track of Per’s career.

As Åsa tells Hallandsposten, love came approximately a month later, when Per sent her a letter written in tongue-in-cheek style, which truly characterizes Per. He wrote about her dog and if she could kindly leave the dog at home if he had a chance to invite Åsa for dinner. Since then they are a couple. By the way, Fru Nordin says Per still likes writing handwritten letters.

As written in the Hallandsposten article, Åsa planned everything around the Roxette trips. She and Per were travelling together since 1989, stayed at many hotels and in the beginning they could see less of the cities they stayed in, but nowadays it’s quieter and they have time to stop and collect impressions.

Besides organizing the travelling and gathering inspiration from different hotels, Åsa has always had a camera with herself. The Jonas Åkerlund film (Roxette Diaries) we already wrote about will soon be completed, however, it’s still not decided where to broadcast it.

Hallandsposten writes about Halmstad life being perfect for Åsa, she loves living there, while Stockholm suits Per more. He has more social life in the Swedish capital.

I also like to go out and dance to dance bands, last time about a week ago in Västerhagen. I still have sore muscles. Dancing to dance bands is not something I do with Per. 🙂

We’re going home to Halmstad to gather strength. I love to go to Prince Bertil’s path, which I do almost every day. It’s awesome that new things are happening there all the time and the landscape changes along the way. My favorite spot is Tylöbäck where there is a kind of magical atmosphere, although I think one should clean up a little of all the old trees…

Another favorite spot is the garden where Åsa and Per like just to sit and enjoy peace, and to have breakfast in the special breakfast corner.

It’s nice to have a little routine. Per always drinks filter coffee at certain times, like an old lady, ha ha.

In the interview Åsa talks about her designer career. It started in 2007 when there was a housing exhibition in Halmstad and Lars Nordin asked her if she would decorate one of the apartments. First she said no, because they were in the middle of a tour, but she now mentions the real reason was that she thought it was a little scary. She accepted the challenge in the end and she used By Rydéns lamps in that apartment, so she got in good contact with them. Now she is designing lamps for them. The theme is love and peace and the peace mark is a central element of the design. There are 1 or 2 lamps each season designed by Åsa, who has learned it step by step that it is important to believe in and challenge yourself.

For Åsa, it is obvious that love makes us better people, and her message is that we should be kinder to each other and be happy for each other’s success.

Roxette Diaries – a movie coming soon!

You might remember that a bit more than a year ago, April 2014 Per posted updates (1; 2) about a cooperation with Jonas Åkerlund involving old video tapes related to Roxette. This was what he wrote back then:

MONDAY UPDATE w/ EXCITING NEWS: Going through loads of old Hi-8 and DV videotapes (mainly shot by Åsa) from 1988-2001 with Jonas Åkerlund and his gang.
Backstage, in the studio, video shootings, photo shoots – you name it. Have an idea to make a proper film out of it. What do you think? Cool or what? /P.

It seems the project is now very close to take form of a movie. Cool or what?

A trailer has been shared by the movie’s editor, Emma Backman. (Update: the trailer has been set (back?) to private. Probably, it was too early to publish it.) The film is directed by the most awesome Jonas Åkerlund and this fact itself guarantees a most amazing result. But that you’ll see already from the trailer.

The film will include tons of forgotten home videos and real behind the scenes of video clip shootings, photo and studio sessions, interviews, concerts, etc. More than you could ever think about! As Per says, all videos are from the years 1986-1995, so the quality of them is not compatible with the 21st century. But who cares, really? It’s so fantastic to have that many funny and magical moments documented in the past and now we will have access to them. Speechless is the word!

This is what Per says about the project:

Everything (and more) happened to Roxette between 1986 and 1995. This was the era where a videocamera wasn’t something you saw every day. The technical quality you would get was so-so but today I’m really happy we covered hundreds of hours of film from these magic years.

The ambition was to shoot everything. Studio-sessions, back-stage-parties, rehearsals. My wife, Åsa, was the commander-in-chief when it came to capture promo- and TV-shows as well as the extensive touring all over the world.

All in all I gave about 180 Hi-8/VHS-tapes to director Jonas Åkerlund and asked him if he and his team could do something special with it. Maybe create a movie that captured the spirit of Roxette in the early days as well as being honest, silly and fun to watch. Hey, I think they succeeded. Enjoy the Roxette Diaries.

Huge thanks to Åsa for filming so much over the years and that she still hasn’t got tired of it, using the camera for shooting more and more magic! We highly appreciate it!

As you can see, Jonas got appr. 180 tapes, a huge amount of material to go through. I’m sure there would have been many volunteers to help Mr. Åkerlund. The first updates were about tapes from 1988-2001, but now Per says what you’ll see in the movie is from 1986-1995. Does it mean it’s just a first part and later on there will be a vol. 2 with 1996-2001 videos? Then a 3rd part? Who’s in for a neverending movie?

Release date is unknown yet, but the film is coming soon! Whose soon? Hopefully, not Per’s. 😉

Roxette_Diaries_trailer_stills_rs

Stills are from the trailer. (Update: the trailer is set to private now, probably, because it was too early to publish it. Business as usual. 😉 )

Thanx to Roxette Diaries for googling “Roxette Diaries” and finding the trailer!

Update: So it’s Per’s soon. 🙂

ROXETTE DIARIES. Yep, it’s done. Waiting for subtitles. Release date? Soon! Cheers, P.