Interview with Per Gessle in Halmstad NU

Per Brolléus did an interview with Per Gessle for Halmstad NU, Halmstad’s new local monthly newspaper.

Per Brolléus thinks Marie would have said Per is an idiot if he doesn’t do this. He asks PG what he thinks.

Yes, well, that’s exactly what she had said. Just like that. She had declared me an idiot forever.

The guys are about half an hour into the interview and PB says PG has “written a song text” through his answers to all his questions about the tour, about Lena, about why, about feelings, about whether he knows this works and about the rest of the year before Roxette leaves for South Africa and Australia in February-March next year.

There is one thing that Mr. Gessle no doubt wants to be very clear about – the endless love for Marie. If she is not in every single answer, she is still there as a kind of sounding board or a little bird that nods or shakes its head. She is constantly present, even though it has now almost been five years since she passed away in December 2019.

Either you do it or you don’t. There are no other options if it’s supposed to be Roxette, sound like Roxette and be called Roxette.

That there comes a tour doesn’t feel very strange to Per Brolléus who “grew up” with Per Gessle, Gyllene Tider and Roxette. Per Gessle gives people what people actually want – without sacrificing his own artistic ability or, for that matter, his status. And now people obviously want Roxette. But, this would never have been relevant if it wasn’t for the duet album that Per has recently made.

Lena had agreed to make a song with me and when we recorded it, she knocked me out. Completely. Damn, what a voice she has!!!

Although Lena Philipsson never got to play in the same division as Gessle in the ’80s and, for example, never got to go on Rock runt riket (the 1987 tour with Roxette, Ratata and Eva Dahlgren and a new talent called Orup as support act), but Per and Lena’s paths have crossed a number of times.

We come from the same era and I have written a few songs for her, including the lyrics to Kärleken är evig. And I know her as a damn good artist. But when we got into the studio… Well… Knockout. That voice!!!

After the knockout in the studio in Stockholm, Per invited Lena for dinner in Halmstad. There was food and wine and finally he asked the question: Do you want to go on tour with Roxette? And the answer from Lena? Per laughs and says:

She was shocked and got a few days to think it over. She probably  thought I was crazy. But…, it was not about Lena replacing Marie, i.e. trying to sound like Marie, but Lena being Lena and she would lend her artistic talent to the songs.

And she said YES, says Per in a long exhale.

She ticks all the boxes. She’s got it all, although of course she’s never done a world tour and stood in front of 10,000 wild fans in Sydney. But she has IT. Of course, I did a Roxette tour in Europe with Helena Josefsson, a fantastic singer who has been with me for ages. But she is made for that kind of setup as it was then. Stripped down arrangement with seated audience in an acoustic setup. Now it’s something else and Lena fits in there magically well.

The gang that Per takes with him is pretty much everyone who was there when it started in the late ’80s and onwards.

Jonas, Clarence and as many as possible from the old gang are there. Damn, Roxette should sound like Roxette should sound. And it should be as much Roxette as you can get.

We tested some songs, Lena and I. It sounded fantastic. An own voice, an own feeling.

And now Lena PH is having an international breakthrough at the age of 59. Per laughs and says:

Well, it’s absolutely wonderful.

Regarding the pilot tour he says:

Yes, I want to test the concept. I want to be 100% sure that it works before it becomes something much bigger.

So Australia and South Africa are just the beginning?

We’ll see. Offers are absolutely pouring in, but before I say yes, I really want to feel it first. When we released the news about the tour and about Roxette with Lena, the systems exploded, which is of course great fun.

He pauses for a few seconds, laughs at…

She gets paid quite well too.

Halmstad’s biggest star through the ages has a fully packed calendar: duet album, movie, musical, world tour.

I have videos to make for the songs from the duet album, then it will be exciting when the GT film premieres on 17th July. And then comes the musical at Malmö Opera, which premieres in September.

Per has no direct responsibility in the musical, calling himself a sounding board, but as a reporter Per Brolléus feels that he is not being completely honest here.

I’m involved in the song order and I’ve been down in Malmö and listened. Well, musicals are not my cup of tea, you know, when it gets so perfect. Because for good musicians it never becomes really good, you know what I mean?

Per Brolléus gets it. He was forced to go to some musical about Oklahoma as a child and has never gotten over that shock, so he understands it exactly.

As a last question, Per Brolléus asks Per Gessle, hand on heart, if there could be a test concert with Roxette at Tylösand this winter before they leave for the pilot tour.

It can happen. You never know.

But, honestly…!

Well, it’s quite good to test things before…

Halmstad NU can hereby reveal: there will be a test gig in Tylösand sometime in February 2025. Remember where you read it first.

All interview text is written by Per Brolléus for Halmstad NU in Swedish. Here it is a translation by RoxBlog.

Thanks for the hint regarding the article, Oliver Zimmermann!

Interview with Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson in Aftonbladet

Aftonbladet joined Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson on their promo day and Anna & Hans Shimoda did an interview with them about their upcoming adventures. HERE you can read the original article in Swedish.

The other week the news hit like a bomb; Per Gessle, 65, brings new life to Roxette with Lena Philipsson, 58, at the microphone. The tour starts in Cape Town in South Africa on 25th February and Aftonbladet is the only newspaper to have met both an excited Per Gessle and a somewhat surprised Lena Philipsson.

Per says smiling:

It happened when we made the duet “Sällskapssjuk” for my new album that I thought that “Lena is not that bad”.

Brain tumor

Pop icon Gessle has long considered what to do with Roxette’s impressive song catalogue. Classics such as Fading Like A Flower, The Look, It Must Have Been Love and Joyride had to be put in the dustbin when Per Gessle’s friend and bandmate Marie Fredriksson passed away in 2019 in the aftermath of the brain tumor she was diagnosed with in 2002.

Per says:

In recent years, I’ve been thinking about whether I should do anything at all with Roxette. I’ve been thinking about how to best manage the legacy and Roxette’s song catalogue live. There were two ways, not to do anything with it at all or to try to find a way that fits as well as possible. It was not an easy decision.

Gessle continues:

When I worked with Lena, I felt that she is very talented as a frontwoman, she has a lot of experience, comes from the same era as me and is a fantastic singer. We also have a history together, I was involved in writing her breakthrough song “Kärleken är evig”.

I gathered all my courage and asked her, thinking that she would probably fall off her chair, and she almost did.

‘Only way to do it’

Stepping into Marie Fredriksson’s shoes is of course not easy, but Per points out that it is about managing Roxette’s music.

The only way for Lena to do it is to do it her own way.

Lena Philipsson is sitting on the couch next to Per Gessle and looks sometimes at Per, sometimes at the floor.

When I was asked to do “Sällskapssjuk”, I of course said yes and Per wondered if I would sing it in Stockholm or if I would come down to Halmstad. I went down to be in Pers hoods. A few days later, a message arrived in which Per wrote that he wanted to meet and that he would ask a crazy question.

Aftonbladet is curious about what Lena thought then.

I felt that “Yes, it worked”. But I thought that maybe there could be another song together or a tour, but I didn’t expect this.

She continues:

I was about to fall off my chair, but I immediately started thinking about what the fans would think about it and how it might turn out. I’m good at identifying the problems, but of course I feel incredibly honoured.

Will it sound familiar?

I feel like I’m an invited guest here, I’ll let Per decide. I won’t get into the artistic side that much. But my feeling is that I want to sing the Roxette songs as they should be.

Per turns to Lena:

Stick to your own way.

Lena says:

Yes, I do have my voice, but I don’t feel that I should do my thing and screw up everything. I want it to feel like the original.

Have a favourite song

Lena Philipsson says there is one Roxette song she is particularly looking forward to singing – a favourite:

There are so many good songs, but I have to say “Dressed For Success”, it’s so much Roxette for me and it’s really Marie’s song.

Lena Philipsson points out that she is not afraid of being compared to Marie Fredriksson.

No, then I would never have said yes. The comparison will of course be made anyway. But I have to dare to take it, otherwise I would have had to say no. I care about doing a good job and want the Roxette fans to feel satisfied.

The tour takes place in South Africa and Australia, but if all goes well, it could be any size, according to Gessle.

What we are doing now as a pilot thing. We will see how it feels and if it turns out as I believe and hope, there are no limits to what we can do.

Interview by Anna & Hans Shimoda, photos by Andreas Bardell for Aftonbladet

Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson release a single and embark on a tour together

Per Gessle and Lena Philipsson release the title track on Per’s upcoming album on 3rd May. And there is more to come…

It all began with Per starting to write and record a new album in Swedish. His first in eight years of new material. Early on, the idea crystallized to focus on duets, to sing together with some of Per’s absolute favourites.

A first taste came in February when Beredd with Molly Hammar was released and now it’s time for the second single, Sällskapssjuk. This time together with Lena Philipsson. The album, which is also called Sällskapssjuk, will be released this fall.

Per and Lena’s paths already crossed in the mid ’80s when Per, among other things, wrote the lyrics to Lena’s breakthrough song Kärleken är evig. Now it’s time again.

Sällskapssjuk suited Lena like a glove, and during the recording in Halmstad both thought it would be fun to work even more together. A thought was born.

In 2016 Roxette did what we believed was to be the last ever concerts. Now, the duo’s frontman, songwriter and founder Per Gessle picks up the torch and takes this bundle of worldwide hits on the road again.

It’s almost five years ago since Roxette lost Marie Fredriksson to cancer. A devastating loss that left both family, friends and fans in grief.

Their legacy of songs has continued to thrive, being constantly streamed, played and enjoyed by old and new supporters around the world.

2025 will see a live revival of this massive catalogue, all penned by Per Gessle, when he takes the Roxette band back on stage to do what he loves the most; perform his songs live in front of a dedicated audience.

Per and the Roxette band will be joined on stage by Swedish singer and megastar Ms Lena Philipsson.

Per says:

This is all about my Roxette songs, this huge bundle of music and lyrics I’ve been writing for well over three decades. I’m not starting a new duo. Marie will always be irreplaceable. However, I’m really lucky to have found an amazing voice and a brilliant performer in Lena Philipsson.

I co-wrote Lena’s first major hit back in 1986 and she’s one of the brightest shining stars Sweden has ever known. I’m extremely proud she wants to join me in my trek to keep the Roxette legacy alive.

Lena says:

I’m both excited and thrilled about embarking on this tour. I really look forward to working with Per – he is a phenomenal songwriter and a neverending musical force.

The Roxette band will consist of Christoffer Lundquist, Magnus Börjeson, Magnus “Norpan” Eriksson, Dea Norberg as well as original Roxette icons Clarence Öfwerman and Jonas Isacsson. Nine years since the last tour, “Roxette in Concert” will kick off in Cape Town, South Africa.

Tour dates – 2025

February 26       Cape Town, Grand Arena GrandWest, South Africa
February 28       Pretoria, SunBet Arena Time Square, South Africa

March 5              Perth, Kings Park, Australia
March 7              Melbourne, Margaret Court Arena, Australia
March 8              Sydney, ICC Sydney Theatre, Australia
March 9              Wollongong, WIN Entertainment Centre, Australia
March 11            Adelaide, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Australia
March 13            Hobart, Mystate Bank Arena, Tasmania
March 15            Hunter Valley, Bimbadgen, Australia
March 16            Mount Cotton, Sirromet Wines, Australia

Photo by Fredrik Etoall

Gyllene Tider – Hux Flux – Vasa – 19th August 2023 – #20

Hux Flux, det är över nu. The very last gig on the tour happened in Vasa, Finland last night.

Schedule

17:00 Doors open
17:45 KAJ
19:00 Fredrik Furu
20:15 Sanna Nielsen
22:15 Gyllene Tider

The stage looked the same as in Ekenäs the day before. Screens on the sides and backdrop with the tour visual. Vasa is also a bilingual city and Swedish is the first language of one third of its population. So it made sense to talk in Swedish between the songs. The amount of talks was approximately the same as on the first Finnish gig, but here Per told the audience that this is their last show on their summer tour. We screamed, but at the same time we were sad, because it’s the last one, so we mimed we were crying and Anders reacted the same way from the stage when he looked at us.

Per said they would do everything to make it the best show. And they put all their energy into it, really. They enjoyed themselves a lot and loved playing for one last time on this tour.

The ginger tea mix tasted a bit like grape and tequila last night, Per said. Micke said tequila, yes, it’s the last gig, after all. Haha.

Åsa came and sat down in front of us on the security fence’s step and stayed there and took pictures and videos of the stage during almost the whole show. It’s always lovely to see her also enjoying the concerts.

The setlist was the same as the day before. The songs that worked best with the Vasa crowd were Kung av sand and Sommartider. Loud sing-along!

At the end of the show, not only Per was throwing his remaining picks from the mic stand and Micke Syd his drumsticks, but even Göran threw his hat to the crowd. Very cool!

It was lovely to see after the concert, that Malin-My, Göran and Micke went to the technicians to hug them and thank them for the tour.

This gang never sounded as good live as on this tour. It was amazing to see the band enjoying themselves on stage and giving full power each night and hear the crowds cheering for them, singing and clapping along every night.

With this, the Hux Flux tour is over. Sad, but true. On a personal side note, I’d like to thank you all for following these write-ups here, for coming to say hi when you saw me on tour and for all your kind words regarding RoxBlog. Appreciate it.

Now only one question remains: when is GT’s 9th summer tour and 6th comeback tour??? Haha. I held up a sign at the end that said thanks for the 5th comeback tour and I’m looking forward to the 6th. The guys and girls on stage were laughing and showed thumbs up. Then after the show we talked to Micke and he said „you wish!”. Yes, I wish. But not only me. So many of us want to hear GT live again. We give you some more years to come back again, guys! Bring the girls too!

Setlist

1. Gyllene Tider igen
2. Juni, juli, augusti
3. Det hjärta som brinner
4. Skicka ett vykort, älskling
5. Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig
6. Flickorna på TV2
7. (Hon vill ha) Puls
8. En sten vid en sjö i en skog
9. Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång

Band presentation

10. Kung av sand
11. Ljudet av ett annat hjärta
12. Ska vi älska, så ska vi älska till Buddy Holly
13. (Kom så ska vi) Leva livet / (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän / Tylö Sun medley

Encore

14. Gå & fiska!
15. När vi två blir en
16. Sommartider
17. När alla vännerna gått hem

All photos in the article by Patrícia Peres

Per after the show:

Amazing finale of the Hux Flux tour in Vaasa!!!! Love this place! Thx all you 200.000 ppl showing up making this tour yet another Gyllene summer. Love to you all. We had a blast! Stay safe and sound, y’all!

Gyllene Tider – Hux Flux – Fredrikstad – 12th August 2023 – #18

After finishing the 1-month-long Swedish leg of the Hux Flux tour and having a week off, Gyllene Tider visited Norway last night. The gang performed in Fredrikstad, a city not too far from the Norwegian-Swedish border. It was 4 years ago the band played there last time and of course, they wanted to top that 2019 summer night.

In Fredrikstad there were two support acts before GT. Minor Majority (Norwegian band) played from 18:00 and Uno Svenningsson from 19:15. This was Uno’s first time in Norway. Dea and Malin-My didn’t join him on stage for Under ytan, but to make it special, Uno sang part of the lyrics in Norwegian. On this tour, it was the last time Uno and his band warmed up the crowd. They did a fab job concert by concert. His songs are very catchy, the lyrics are easy to learn, so after a couple of concerts we could even sing along. Uno and his band made us look forward to their session each time. It’s always great to have a good support act. It makes it easier for us to wait for the main performers while having fun. Thanks for all the cool evenings, guys!

Gyllene Tider came on stage at 20:30. It was so amazing to see them again after a week of break! They also all seemed to be very happy to be on stage again. They left both Chrissie and Billy home in Sweden, but otherwise they played all other hits and the crowd sang along to the ones they knew the lyrics to.

In Norway, the talks between the songs were the same as previously. As you know, Norwegians understand Swedish very well and vice versa, so the guys of course talked in Swedish.

When it came to the ginger tea talk, Per said it tasted a bit like cucumber and lakrits. Micke asked him if it tasted good and PG replied „not really”. Micke said he even added a little Aquavit to the mix. Haha.

What’s with the in-ear systems these days? Hm. Earlier on tour we could see Per having problems with his in-ear, the fixing of it, now it was Anders who had some issues with it. After Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig he went to the side and technician Peter Fredriksson checked it, but it seemed that it wasn’t enough. Before Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång Anders walked to the side again and Peter quickly changed the whole system while Per was talking. It distracted everyone a bit, but once PG saw they could start the song, they started and Anders rushed back to his spot on stage. I can’t say the problem was gone for good, because when Tylö Sun came, Anders went to the side again, maybe to tell Peter to prepare another system for the encore break. Then it might got really fixed, because after that we didn’t see any further problems.

Micke dedicated Min tjej och jag to Erling Haaland, Norwegian football player, if I understood the name right.

It’s been a while since the last time we could see flying bras at a GT show, but Norway didn’t disappoint. Haha. Two bras were aimed at the stage, but they didn’t reach their final destination. Both landed in the area in front of the stage.

Anders Roos was there on spot, taking a lot of photos from several angles during the whole gig. Jan-Owe Wikström was also present. They are working hard on their upcoming GT book.

Next stop is Finland on Friday and Saturday for the very last two shows!

Setlist

1. Gyllene Tider igen
2. Juni, juli, augusti
3. Det hjärta som brinner
4. Skicka ett vykort, älskling
5. Gammal kärlek rostar aldrig
6. Flickorna på TV2
7. Vandrar i ett sommarregn
8. (Hon vill ha) Puls
9. En sten vid en sjö i en skog
10. Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång
11. Tuffa tider

Band presentation

12. Min tjej och jag
13. Kung av sand
14. Ljudet av ett annat hjärta
15. Ska vi älska, så ska vi älska till Buddy Holly
16. (Kom så ska vi) Leva livet / (Dansar inte lika bra som) Sjömän / Tylö Sun medley

Encore 1

17. Det är över nu
18. Gå & fiska!

Encore 2

19. När vi två blir en
20. Sommartider
21. När alla vännerna gått hem

All photos in the article by Patrícia Peres

Per after the show:

Underbar kväll i Fredrikstad, Norge. Tack för all skönsång + positiv energi!!! LOVE TO YOU ALL!