Per Gessle Unplugged – Hotel Tylösand – #1 – 7th July 2021

The premiere gig – which sold out in no time – of Per Gessle’s Unplugged sessions at Hotel Tylösand happened last night and it was a wonderful evening. The stage was set for the concert during the day and we realized it’s Åsa who designed it all and was there in person to arrange the decoration. It was very detailed with the lights and all gadgets and furniture. The real effect of the lights could be seen after the sun went down, but it looked very cool in the bright daylight too.

It was nice to see well-known faces from the crew who made all things work for the evening. It was new that Mats MP Persson was responsible for the sound during the event. And he did a fantastic job!

The weather was perfect for an openair concert. We could enter the concert area – both the terrace spots and the Solgården places at 19:00. In Solgården we got picnic bags, so one could eat and drink before (and during) the concert. This was a different experience vs. previous concerts where the only thing you can (and want to) focus on is what’s happening on stage. For those who go to concerts to enjoy live music and are not used to other surrounding noises (eating, drinking, talking during songs, waiters taking the empty glasses and bottles away etc.), it might be harder to exclude these sounds.

Before the concert started at appr. 20:45, BoJo came up the stage and shared some safety information and asked everyone to stay seated during the whole gig and promised to come back on stage and stop the happening if he sees anyone standing up or dancing. He also told not to forget to buy PG T-shirts at the stand.

I have to mention that all PG guitar pick collectors will be sad, because there are no plectrums played at these gigs. It’s fingerpicking! And it sounds fab!

Fortunately, Per was talking a lot in between the songs. He had some paper sheets in front of him and flicked through them during the concert. No story could stay untold. So instead of the 1-hour-long concert many expected based on the Hallandsposten interview, it became a 1.5-hour-long gig.

Per greeted the audience and said they thought to play songs he has written during the past 43 years. Kung av sand was a strong starter.

Before På promenad genom stan Mr. G said he hasn’t played unplugged in front of an audience since 1993, when Roxette did the MTV Unplugged, so it’s special for him now. Magnus added it’s super exclusive. Per told it’s fun to play the songs acoustically, because that’s how most often the songs are written. He also talked a bit about how he and a friend of his started as a troubadours employed by the city council.

When PG moved from Söndrum to Halmstad city in the beginning of the 80’s, one of the first songs he wrote there was Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång.

Before Småstadsprat he told the Nashville story, that in 2016 he went there to record with the musicians sitting around him. He emphasized „almost with all of them”. Here he waved at Magnus, because he is the only one from the gang who wasn’t there. Per told he is friends with Roy Orbison’s son who is called Roy Orbison and Roy suggested to use his father’s guitar during the Nashville sessions. So they did.

Mr. G told that after 17 years it was time for him to record his next Swedish solo album in 2002, which later became Mazarin. For the recordings he went down to Christoffer’s studio that has many vintage gadgets. Then he joked he heard a story that Marie once booked a hairdresser appointment for Chris in secret. Then they played one of the nicest songs from Mazarin, Tycker om när du tar på mej.

Before another GT song, Det hjärta som brinner was played, Per noticed that it’s very rare they can see the audience they are playing for, because of the spotlights. Which is a pity, because „you are so good-looking”.

Micke N-S brought the ukulele for Per and Mr. G told people often ask what’s the coolest place to play. He says he played Wembley and the Sydney Opera House, but the absolute coolest is to play the ukulele at Ullevi. Tuffa tider came next, of course.

Honung och guld is one of Per’s favourite GT songs, so it had to be played too. Which guitar he should play was told him via his earplug he said.

Here came the story of It Must Have Been Love, how it started as a Christmas song and ended up in a movie. The song had its effect on many of us. It brought us into tears, for obvious reasons.

Before Om du bara vill Per told how he started to work with Helena. He was looking for a female vocalist for his upcoming solo album and Christoffer organized an audition with several singers. The first voice he played for Per was absolutely magical, so Per immediately decided it should be that singer. Helena told how lucky she is. Per tells Helena was to sing on two songs, but her vocals ended up on ten.

After this song, Per introduced the band one by one. First Christoffer, then Clarence, then Magnus and last but not least, Helena.

Another Mazarin song came, Här kommer alla känslorna and then Per told he thought to finish with a song he wrote for Gyllene Tider, it was Min hälsning. When the word „finish” left his mouth, everyone was loud, being against they finish the concert already. Haha. It was cool.

After the song they went off stage, but the audience was so loud, wanting them back that after a few minutes they just couldn’t resist coming back for an encore.

They went on with Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke.

The next song was heartbreaking again. Per told they all worked with Roxette for so many years and during the past 1.5 years they lost two of their very best friends. They dedicated Listen To Your Heart to Marie and Pelle, because it was one of their favourite Roxette songs.

The next one Per thought they should skip, but Magnus insisted on playing it. And how good he did that! Haha. Sommartider was one of the absolute highlights. The order on the setlist is a bit strange, having a rollercoaster of emotions after LTYH. Anyway, the whole crowd was most active during this song. It sounded fab in this acoustic arrangement and involved all the people in the audience.

Before the last song, Per thanked everyone for coming and they played När alla vännerna gått hem. After that he wished a wonderful summer and thanked once again. The whole band took a bow several times and they went off stage waving goodbye, but the audience didn’t want to stop clapping and asking for more. It doesn’t really happen that after the show is over, Per & Co. come back on stage, so it was a huge surprise that they came back this time. Everyone in the crowd was extremely happy for that.

The very last song really wasn’t planned, it wasn’t written on the setlist either. Per was very happy about the crowd reaction. Someone shouted they should play En händig man and Per repeated what he heard, BUT, the closing song was Vid hennes sida. Per told it’s a song that ended up on GT’s maybe last album – he emphasized the word „maybe”. This was a real spontaneous action and it fit so well! This could happen more often, if you ask me. Fab way to end an awesome evening!

Setlist

1. Kung av sand
2. På promenad genom stan
3. Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång
4. Småstadsprat
5. Tycker om när du tar på mej
6. Det hjärta som brinner
7. Tuffa tider
8. Honung och guld
9. It Must Have Been Love
10. Om du bara vill

Band introduction

11. Här kommer alla känslorna
12. Min hälsning

Encore 1
13. Jag skulle vilja tänka en underbar tanke
14. Listen To Your Heart (dedicated to Marie Fredriksson & Pelle Alsing)
15. Sommartider
16. När alla vännerna gått hem

Encore 2 (spontaneous)
17. Vid hennes sida

Photos in the article are taken by Patrícia Peres.

 

Per about the concert on his Facebook page:

Wow! Vilken fantastisk kväll vädermakterna bjöd på igår i Tylösand. En sådan finns bara i Sverige. Otroligt kul att få spela igen med mitt vassa band och fantastiskt såklart att få möta VÄRLDENS BÄSTA PUBLIK igen! Tack för all hjälp med att göra vår nervösa premiär till en skön och lätt promenad längs stranden. New balls tonight, folks!

On Roxette’s Facebook page:

Amazing opening night last night. Thanx everyone who came by from abroad. I know it’s been tricky for you. You mean a lot to us! Love always!