Whatever works – but does it work? My take on Per Gessle’s Roxette tour

Per Gessle has started his European tour last Sunday, October 7th in Prague, Czech Republic in front of nearly 1,000 people. It’s the first time since 2009, where he hits the bumpy roads of Europe again and is going to visit 20 cities in the coming weeks.

This time he is no longer the man from Roxette as 9 years ago, the project is labelled “Per Gessle’s Roxette”. He admitted in our exclusive RoxetteBlog interview back in April that it’s a great name: “since it’s exactly what it is. This is my personal version of Roxette. I play Roxette-songs I’ve written, music that still is such a big slice of my life. In the perfect world Marie would have been by my side to sing and perform, but that won’t happen anymore. I have to live with that. You do too. The options I have are to perform the songs without her or not perform them at all. I chose the obvious one.

When I was compiling the potential setlist predictions back in June, I was thinking this is going to be something similar to the Party Crasher tour. Back then – meaning 2009 – we still didn’t know exactly what good and bad future would bring, but we were happy to get these very personal interpretations of Roxette’s vast catalogue from Gessle. This year I truly felt coming back to Roxette music with a mix of Nashville vibes and 2017 band (big hand to new additions to the band: Andreas, Ola and Malin My) would be a fantastic way to introduce these songs in a new & exciting way. Per already tested the ground during 2017 Scandinavian concerts – several Roxette tracks were played and got ovations from the crowd generating even more unforgettable sing-a-longs.

How the setlist looks like in the end? There are some surprises, which always is a surprising thing at the Per Gessle concert, wink-wink. We actually got a track that was never performed live before though recorded 28 years ago. The Sweet Hello, The Sad Goodbye was performed by Per on the lead and Malin My & Helena doing the chorus. Gessle has always been highlighting this as a forgotten gem among other pearls from the early 90s. For understandable reasons. It also a nice way to end up the concert, instead of a worn-out Church of your heart closer. Hope it stays in the setlist as long as possible.

You might have been expecting to hear more tracks from English solo albums as it’s a solo concert after all. Well, no, not really. There was nothing off The World According To Gessle, which left many unhappy about that decision. Still, I Want You To Know could’ve found its way as a modern country version. I have a party in my head and Doesn’t make sense re-appeared in the set, which already was kind of unexpected as the latter one was never a single and I have not predicted Son of a plumber would find its way among all those Roxette tracks. There were 2 songs off Small Town Talk, though the second single, Being With You, was left out for the reasons one could only wonder. It reminds me the time when Party Crasher’s Silly really was omitted due to “being impossible to perform live”. It must have been a different thing with an accoustic song this time. Small Town Talk is my absolute highlight of the evening in which Per Gessle pairs with the band’s own Christoffer Lundquist for an amazing duet. We need more of Chris’ singing at the concert! The Finest Prize is as powerful as it was last year with Helena Josefsson taking over the second verse, so scrapping the song in Leipzig is definitely a miss.

Was the Roxette part of the setlist unexpected? Well, im Westen nichts Neues (all quite on the western front). There was The Look to start with which is a wise move as it brings everyone in this very party mood that stays throughout the concert. Then Joyride for the end with 3 lonely fan-brang balloons flying over the audience. Did they change anything in the arrangements? Very little if you ask me, but I might be deaf as well. Adding pedal steal or violin here and there is a little bit too little to say it’s been a major change.

Per Gessle performed 10 songs on his own, where e.g. “Milk and toast and honey”, “It must have been love” or “I’m glad you called” were 50:50 duets with one-of-a-kind Helena Josefsson. She is one of the most talented persons Per has worked with anyway. She was switching constantly places – from being in the back next to Malin My to the front position between Per and Magnus. And she owned both positions superbly.

What I have really mixed feeling about is actually leaving some of the most prominent tracks like “Spending my time”, “Queen of rain” or “Listen to your heart” to Helena herself. She’s a very talented singer – if I haven’t highlighted that already enough  – and I absolutely adore her in many songs during the concert (“I’m glad you called” acting-game for instance), but some of Roxette arrangements weren’t particularly friendly to her voice. I feel like “Fading like a flower” in a slower arrangements doesn’t do the justice to this somewhat wonderful power ballad. If you expect Per would do all songs himself, that’s not the case this time. He is really presenting new versions of Roxette songs now; this is how he now imagines the Roxette world where Marie cannot longer perform. Does it mean female voice is essential for those songs to survive? Would Per’s interpretation be worse than Helena’s versions? How would it sound if they had replaced this with a duet? There are so many questions and so little time. You need to hear this yourself to be able to judge.

In a certain way I feel like calling this a Per Gessle concert is misleading and I do not mean anything negative here (there’s too much of that childish shit over social media now). It just doesn’t really do the justice for the concert itself. For my part it was Per Gessle AND Helena Josefsson concert with Roxette songs in the focus. Helena plays the vital role to Per’s 2018 concert as the starting riff to The Look. I really miss his versions we’ve all known from 2009 as I preferred a male narrative, it gave a totally new dimension to the lyrics and the accoustic arrangements back then were to die for. If I was to compare “Listen to your heart” anno domini 2009 to 2018, I would definitely go for the Party crasher version. But hey, it seems like – for the reasons I can only guess – this is not what works for Per any longer.

Is there a space for a change? Limited. From the Leipzig gig it seems like the band plays 2 songs less – “Silver blue” and “The Finest Prize” were kicked off the field. We might hear “Sleeping in my car” or something already performed in the past like “7twenty7”, but obviously it’s always tricky to predict the future.

This new concert is definitely not something everyone can approve. Though I have a lot of mixed feelings about the arrangements and songs picked up to perform, the audience reaction was rather positive, which makes me think this can have a future as a long-going set of different performances in clubs all over the world.  Whatever works and it seems actually to work, no matter if you like it or not.

If you feel like reading more about the Prague concert, here’s the Patricia take on it.

(c) Tomasz Wysocki

BOXETTE: 7 things we hope could happen with this release

Over 4 years ago we have prepared a comprehensive summary of all Roxette concerts we know have been recorded professionally on tape. Some of these have only been shown live on TV, others were lucky enough to become official releases and there is even one or two that were streamed online in dark days of slow internet. And for the most of these cases they weren’t showcasing the whole concert.

There were quite few concerts released on VHS, some received laser-disc treatment (do you remember what that was?) and only selected saw the light of DVD revolution, not to mention Bluray nor streaming-days. Currently only Roxette’s “Travelling the world”, a release covering 2012 gigs, is available to mass audience, while some of you might still find MTV Unplugged circulating over the auction sites as a part of 2006 out-of-stock RoxBox.

For a very long time there have been discussions when we could expect re-release of major Roxette concerts and each time Per Gessle answered Warner and Team Rox are investigating what’s possible. This week Roxette Cafe, Facebook-based fan site, has found a plan to release a 4-DVD box called “Boxette” on the Slovenian site. The box includes:

  1. SWEDEN LIVE ’88 (filmed at Himmelstalundshallen in Norrköping, Sweden on 16 December 1988) & LOOK SHARP ’89 (filmed at two concerts at Borgholm Castle on the Baltic Sea island of Öland on 25/26 July 1989)
  2. LIVE-ISM ’91 (performance at Sydney Entertainment Centre in Australia on 13 December 1991)
  3. CRASH!BOOM!BANG!LIVE! ’95 (recorded on 14 January 1995 at Ellis Park Johannesburg, South Africa)
  4. ROOM SERVICE TOUR ’01 (recording from the Globen Arena Stockholm on 16 November 2001)

The 4 DVD collection will be housed in a hardcover book with a 24 page booklet with new interviews including one with Per Gessle. Though we have not received any press release from Roxette management team yet, Per already shared this on Roxette and Per Gessle Facebook profiles, making  it officially. Still it’s unsure if the provided information is full and final nor when this would be released.  And as Sandra Knospe noticed, the cover picture was taken almost exactly 29 years ago on the 12th of July 1989 – obviously without that pink Instagram filter 😉

Is that release a good news, you may ask? Idea-wise and from fans perspective – it’s excellent. I found its name funny in that very peculiar Gesslish style (RoxBox or It must have been lunch are another examples). Are there any risks? Potentially. It depends how much involvement and care Warner and Rox team have given to this project.

Here’s the list of 7 things we hope could happen with this release:

1. Sound

Everyone connected to the Internet at the end of 2001 remembers how exciting it was to wait for the second to last Roxette concert during the Room Service tour in Globen, Stockholm. It was about to be streamed all over the world free of charge to anyone that was willing to watch. Crazy jolly times! And how disappointed many of us were when we noticed (heard, to be more precise) that the whole concert had those awful metal noices in the background. Back in the day both Marie and Per said the quality of Stockholm gig would not be high enough for a DVD or home video. “Recording a concert for a DVD would mean cameramen running around on the stage. It would destroy the night,” said Per, Daily Roxette reported back in 2001. 18 years later it became an option as it seems for the reason one can only speculate. Better late than never, but we hope the sound would be remastered across all releases and if necessary replaced with soundboard recordings that we know exists for most of the concerts. Do I need to say that older concerts would also gain a lot with improved sound? After all, if Roxette studio albums got newly remastered back in 2009, why not Boxette-concerts?

2. Picture

Fans living in the 90s surely fondly remember times where VHS was the only way to watch something on demand – anywhere and anytime, though looking for a certain song was certainly an effort. But every time the concert was played, the quality got a little bit worse and after few years VHS recording looked like an out-dated movie taken from the vaults. Together with sound remastering, one can hope picture remastering was done as well. We obviously understand it takes time and money (and most of all – efforts) to do so, but as we have waited so long for that release, this would be a clear sign for everyone it was done properly with all the deserved respect to Roxette legacy and to 2018 audience needs. And hey, we’re hoping master tapes were found in the EMI/Warner archives as it would be the only way to get it right and in better quality. We’re already fed up watching VHS-rips of ’88 performances or a blurry internet connection version of 2001 Stockholm gig. Fingers crossed for 16:9 ratio as well if possible. And a colour version.

3. Bonus songs

Tracklisting provided by the Slovenian site gives us very little hope there would be something extra on this release, except for the 24-page booklet. No additional footage from the legendary Borgholm castle concert, where Listen to your heart video was shot. Nothing extra from the massive Jo-burg C!B!B! gig nor any omitted songs from the Sydney performance. We understand some songs could have been removed from the official releases due to lack of space on VHS or a certain formatting-demand from TV-channels around the world, but why not to look more deeply for forgotten treasures? Just have a look at the RoxBox case; it turned out that MTV has all the songs recorded beyond the TV broadcast that could’ve been released for the first time. Why not to have the same high expectation from this release? Dear Warner, I’m sure you can do it right.

Let’s have a closer look at the announced tracklist and what could’ve been improved:

DVD1
  • Sweden Live ’88 could be enhanced with “I Call Your Name”, “Chances”, “Goodbye to you”, “It must have been love” (pre-Pretty Woman Christmas version!) or “Sleeping Single”, that were performed during that concert.
  • Look Sharp ’89 – it seems like there are just 3 live songs we already know by heart (Dance Away – Cry – Paint) and 3 extra materials that serve as official videos for Dangeroud, Listen to your heart and Silver Blue.
    Sweden Live ’88 part:
  1. Dressed for Success
  2. The Look
  3. Cry
  4. Joy of a Toy
  5. Surrender
  6. Neverending Love
  7. Dance Away
  8. Dangerous
  9. Soul Deep
  10. Listen to Your Heart
  11. The Look
  12. Dressed For Success

    Look Sharp ’89 part:

  13. Dance Away – LIVE
  14. Dangerous – VIDEO
  15. Cry – LIVE
  16. Paint – LIVE
  17. Silver Blue – VIDEO
  18. Listen To Your Heart – VIDEO
  19. The Look (remix) – VIDEO
DVD2
  • LIVE-ISM ’91 recorded in Sydney misses 6 songs from the setlist, obviously following the VHS release. Why these 6 songs didn’t make the final release in 1992 – gods only know, but it means we have been living without Sydney versions of Listen To Your Heart (seriously?) Fading Like a Flower (?!), Sleeping Single (again!), Spending My Time (what the?), Paint and Dance Away for the past 26 years. And do we really need to see “How do you do” video here, hm? I would not mind removing it.
  1. Hotblooded
  2. Dangerous
  3. The Big L
  4. Watercolours in the Rain
  5. Church of Your Heart
  6. Knockin’ on Every Door
  7. Things Will Never Be the Same
  8. Dressed for Success
  9. Soul Deep
  10. The Look
  11. It Must Have Been Love
  12. (Do you get) Excited?
  13. Joyride
  14. Perfect Day
  15. How Do You Do!
DVD3
  • CRASH!BOOM!BANG!LIVE! ’95 – 5 songs were removed from the final cut including “Go to sleep”, “So you wanna be rock’n’roll star”, “Fading like a flower” (is there a FLAF curse that three official releases – Live-ism, MTV Unplugged and C!B!B! in a row erased that songs off the setlist?!), “I love the sound of crashing guitars” and“Hotblooded”.
  1. Sleeping in My Car
  2. Fireworks
  3. Almost Unreal
  4. Dangerous
  5. Crash! Boom! Bang!
  6. Listen to Your Heart
  7. The First Girl on the Moon
  8. Harleys & Indians
  9. Lies
  10. The Rain
  11. Run to You
  12. It Must Have Been Love
  13. Dressed for Success
  14. The Big L
  15. Spending My Time
  16. The Look
  17. Love Is All
  18. Joyride
DVD4
  • ROOM SERVICE TOUR ’01 – the second ever concert – just after 2006 RoxBox MTV Unplugged – to be released entirely. Not much to comment yet, as long as we get the better quality to what we have seen so far. My expectation here is not very high; still wondering what made this release possible after 18 long years?
  1. Crush on You
  2. Dressed for Success
  3. Listen to Your Heart
  4. Waiting for the Rain
  5. Real Sugar
  6. It Must Have Been Love
  7. The Centre of the Heart
  8. Stars
  9. You Don’t Understand Me
  10. Fading Like a Flower
  11. Spending My Time
  12. Dangerous
  13. Sleeping in My Car
  14. Milk and Toast and Honey
  15. Wish I Could Fly
  16. The Big L.
  17. Joyride
  18. Little Girl
  19. Crash!Boom!Bang!
  20. Anyone
  21. Hotblooded
  22. The Look
  23. Queen of Rain
  24. Church of Your Heart

4. Quality

I belive I mentioned several times: we are in 2018. It means few things – political-wise it feels like we have moved quite significantly back in time, but for the most of world – except the flat-earthers out there – technology has proved to be moving forward very fast. DVD became famous in the early 00’s as you could put much more material, increase the quality of video to even 5GB compared to 700-MB CD size. Since then we have seen double-sided DVDs (remember RoxBox?). The only concert Rox & team released on Bluray (size from 25 to even 180GB, faster data transfer, better picture resolution of 1920x1080p, better sound options) was “Travelling the world”. Why not to get the same for these legendary concerts? If not for us fans, then these concerts simple deserve being served to general audience in much better quality. If you are interested in knowing more about the quality of DVD versus Bluray, there is a great Wikipedia article summing things up.

5. Extra material

We all know – the concert is one thing. But after watching Roxette Diairies and hearing about forthcoming Look Sharp! 30th anniversary release, we are sure there is so much more video material existing, recorded by Per and Åsa themselves covering backstages, soundchecks, travels and free time during the Roxette touring hey days. A short documentary special on each concert (or tour) could be provided with this behind-the-camera feeling. It was wonderful to watch the documentary on “Travelling the world” or two other docs “The Making of Joyride” or “Really Roxette” on previous DVDs. These homevideos deserve to be part of Roxette concert history. Will there be a better occassion to share them than this?

6. Streaming

We’re living in interesting times where it’s not about owning the stuff any longer, but about having access to it. So why not to try and pitch one of the global streaming platforms and make these concerts available for some time for those who would watch but are no longer collecting DVDs, Blurays or might even have no device to play it? HBO, Amazon, Netflix are looking for different stuff and maybe they could feel the Roxette niche is worth investing in. It’s worth a try. If not paid platforms, why not previously mentioned ad-supported YouTube?

7. Future releases

And does this Boxette mean no other release will ever officially see the daylight? What about magical Zurich ’91 or South American concerts recorded for TV purposes in both ’92 and ’95? Why not to include MTV Unplugged and all videos every made into that box? If Roxette days are over, group’s history needs to be wrapped up in a very decent form covering all video efforts ever made. And more.

But let’s see what the future brings. Hoping only the good.

Here we go again: 2018 solo tour setlist predictions

Only 4 months are left to – what is currently planned – the premiere night of Per Gessle’s solo tour in Prague, Czech Republic on the 7th of October. The upcoming tournée will take the man from Roxette across 12 countries & 21 European cities in just 40 days. For the second time ever Gessle takes himself and European fans on the English language adventure through music, lyrics and memories he has been part of for the last 30 years.

Last year over 1,000 of you, dear RoxetteBlog readers voted for your favourite songs of Gessle, Gyllene Tider and Roxette in the series of 10 polls just before the solo Swedish tour took off. We are still hoping some of your suggestions might help Mr G to prepare a setlist as the band will surely start rehearsing during late summer. So here comes a little summary of what we know, what we think we know and what we don’t know (and we might never know).

As Roxette sadly became the past, Per declares his plans to concentrate mostly on the vast Roxette catalogue during his European tour in the exclusive RoxetteBlog interviewIn the perfect world Marie would have been by my side to sing and perform but that won’t happen anymore. I have to live with that. You do too. The options I have are to perform the songs without her or not perform them at all. I chose the obvious one (…) Most of the songs will most certainly be Roxette-songs. I’ll probably sneak in a couple from the new solo album as well. Time will tell.

Do we have any hints of what Roxette gems can be performed during the tour? In the generic TV commercial produced for promotional purposes you can easily see and hear 3 Roxette songs from Halmstad’s 2017 concert as follow: The Look, Joyride, It must have been love. These hits are likely to get the same treatment as last year as it’s going to be the same band that goes on European roads with Per. It must have been love with Helena on the lead might be a hard to swallow for some, but well, we’re in 2018.  Dressed for success and Listen to your heart were also performed on a brief occassion during 2017 gigs, so these are another safe bets.  Looking also at some historical data, during the Party Crasher Tour the band performed 13 Roxette songs, beside 5 megahits mentioned previously, tracks such as Wish I Could Fly / She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore / 7Twenty7 / Opportunity Nox / Church Of Your Heart / Dangerous / Sleeping In My Car / Queen Of Rain. Country arrangements, anyone?

Would there be enough space on this year’s setlist to put songs less known which we haven’t heard in a while? I belive mosts fans support the idea of hearing compositions Per has created and sang himself originally on the official releases which haven’t heard live at all. One of the Swedish auction site Tradera user put a poster on sale that seems to be the official one for the Swedish leg of 2018 tour. What can come as a little surprise is the fact it includes tracks’ names that haven’t been performed by Gessle solo so far which are: Spending my time / How do you do / Fading like a flower / June Afternoon / Crash! Boom! Bang! / Vulnerable / Real sugar. Back in 2009 Vulnerable was said to be “impossible” to perform live. Have 9 years changed anything in that matter? Is it a random choice from the concert agency? Or maybe the poster is just fake? But hey, June Afternoon or Real Sugar are brilliant choices anyway.

On the top of that there is a Spotify Roxette playlist recently created by The Man himself which includes – beside obvious – incredible pearls (if you seriously consider theses songs could be performed live): “Paint”, “Jefferson”, “A Thing About You”, “Some other summer” or “Secrets that she keeps”. Unfortunately, we know such teasing on social media rarely leads to anything surprising in the end. In the last year’s poll you voted for She doesn’t live here anymore as the most desired Roxette songs that needs to be performed live. “a safe risk” with most popular Roxette songs? Time will tell, to quote our Guru.

Let’s not forget the fact the previous tour was also partially about solo material which actually received a very positive feedback from the audience back then. 11 songs performed during the Party Crasher Tour were a mix of Son of a plumber classics (Drowning In Wonderful Thoughts About Her / I Have A Party In My Head (I Hope It Never Ends) / Late, Later On / C’mon /  Are You On Old Hippie, Sir? / Hey Mr. Dj (Won’t You Play Another Love Song), highlights from The World According to Gessle (Stupid / Do You Wanna Be My Baby?) and very little off Party Crasher (The Party Pleaser / Doesn’t Make Sense). Yet another time we were said Silly Really doesn’t really translate well into a live song, so let it be. There was also a little surprise at the end – The Monkee’s (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone cover, also briefly performed by Roxette in 2010.

Looking at various interviews Gessle hopes “Small Town Talk” album (English version of last year’s Swedish solo projects) will get a little bit of exposure during the concert. If so, then the title song (Nick Lowe as a special guest in London?), “The Finest Prize” (Första pris last year was great live) or “There’s a place” (Min plats) could be live options off that album. Let’s face it, anything above 3-4 new songs will be a shocker. I’m hoping Per Gessle’s Roxette tour name anyway gives Per  a little bit of space and freedom to include his favourite English solo songs from the last 21 years. They are worth to be sang, they cannot be forgotten.

Just a quick reminder how you voted for your favourites off English solo albums last year: 1997 The World According to Gessle: Son of a Plumber: 009 – Party Crasher: 

Summing up, my prediction would be a setlist of 24 songs as it always makes a perfect 90-100-minute concert in the Gessle’s world. 16 songs would come out of Roxette and 8 would be solo tracks. But the more, the better.

What songs would you like to hear this year? See you around in Europe!

Exclusive interview with Per Gessle: ”Boogie shoes are allowed!”

We are all very excited about Per’s upcoming tour and also the new album. Both we at RoxBlog and fans are very curious about some details, so we put together a few questions and sent them to Mr. G after the news came out.

RXB: – Hi Per! The question was never IF, but WHEN you would hit the road again. We’ve been wondering if it’s high time for another Gyllene Tider celebration, but you first teased and now suprised us with a European tour called ”Per Gessle’s Roxette”. Would you mind telling us more about how the idea was born?

PG: – Hello! Yes, the idea came up during the rehearsals for the summer tour last year. The band sounded very special and it just occurred to me that it would be interesting to play Roxette songs with these amazing players and their instruments. I suddenly had violin, pedal steel, dobro and several  wonderful voices available. I hope my gut feeling was correct. I’ll know when we get together after the summer.

RXB: – In 2009 you were called ”the man from Roxette” in all materials, now it’s more direct, potentially better marketing-wise ”Per Gessle’s Roxette”. Some fans think it sounds quite controversial, like you would set up your own ”Roxette tribute band”. Have you hesitated choosing that name?

PG: – No, I think it’s a great name since it’s exactly what it is. This is my personal version of Roxette. I play Roxette-songs I’ve written, music that still is such a big slice of my life. In the perfect world Marie would have been by my side to sing and perform  but that won’t happen anymore. I have to live with that. You do too. The options I have are to perform the songs without her or not perform them at all. I chose the obvious one.

RXB: – In the press release it’s mentioned that this tour’s idea was ”blessed” by Marie. Have you been in discussion with her about your plans regarding this tour?

PG: – Of course.

RXB: – It’s no secret 2009 was a success music-wise with fans being positively suprised by the setlist, band and the whole atmosphere, but it was more challenging in financial terms. You even mentioned in one of the interviews that you were forced to finance the tour yourself. Has this experience influenced planning of this tour in any way?

PG: – No, I’m a musician, songwriter and an artist. My mission is to play, write and perform. Sometimes you make records that sell well and get lots of airplay and streams and you make money. Sometimes your music doesn’t work commercially.  Same with tours. You win some, you lose some. That’s the name of the game. That’s how the music biz works.

RXB: – What can a fan expect? Would that be 100% of Roxette (we still hope for your live take on ”Vulnerable” and ”A Thing About You”) or will it be more balanced setlist with songs also from your long English solo career including ”The World According to Gessle”, ”Party Crasher”, ”Son of a Plumber” and ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – I don’t know at this point but most of the songs will most certainly be Roxette-songs. I’ll probably sneak in a couple from the new solo album as well. Time will tell.

RXB: – How would the concerts in 2018 differ from the tour in 2009 – except of you being 25-year-old this time (18 back then)?

PG: – Hahaha, I don’t know yet. Different players, different point of views.

RXB: – How final is the current tour plan? Are there any further dates in additional countries in the can?

PG: – Could be more gigs poppin’ up.

RXB: – Do you consider taking this tour outside Europe – to South America or Australia maybe?

PG: – Maybe. I’d love to play South America, Asia, Oz, South Africa, New Z, Canada and the US as well. Time will tell.

RXB: – What was your role in deciding where to play or was it all in the hands of touring agencies?

PG: – The tour is put together by Live Nation. They’re doing a great job. We all strive for the same thing; to play where it’s possible.

RXB: – Many concerts are seated. Was that your clear intention with this tour? Does it mean we get more ballads this time?

PG: – No, it’s because my audience is getting older and many of them prefer seats. If you want I’m sure you can stand up. Boogie shoes are allowed!

RXB: – In 2009 you said the ”Party Crasher Tour” was the best gift for yourself on your 50th birthday. Is the 2018 tour another self-made present for your next birthday?

PG: – No, I don’t think in those terms. Quotes like that just pop out of my mouth when I talk to the media.

RXB: – Do you consider ”Per Gessle’s Roxette” being a one-off project or something you could do in the coming years more often?

PG: – I will continue to play my Roxette-songs as long as  I can. It’s who I am and where I want to be.

RXB: – In autumn you are not only touring Europe, you also release your first English solo album in 10 years called ”Small Town Talk”. First you planned to have an English song on each of the 2 ”En vacker…” albums. Was it during the recordings when it came to your mind to rather release a ”complete” English version some time later?

PG: – I got really positive reactions from BMG Europe re the Swedish albums so I decided to go for an English version as well. The hardest part was to translate the lyrics since they’re quite personal and almost impossible for me to re-write. I got help from Sharon Vaughn out of Nashville to make new interpretations on a few of the tracks. She’s amazing and has been a big help.

RXB: – The first thing we realized when the tracklist for ”En vacker dag” was available was that the English duet was missing. Will that missing song with Jessica Sweetman see the light of day on ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – We know already that you do a duet with Nick Lowe on the forthcoming album. Helena Josefsson is of course in the picture as well. You posted a selfie with Linnea Henriksson the other day. Does it mean there will be an English version of ”Känns som första gången”?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – Which songs from the 2 Swedish albums will land on the English one?

PG: – Time will tell.

RXB: – It’s your sister on the cover of ”En vacker natt” and your mother on the sleeve of ”En vacker dag”. Will you have the same family vibe for ”Small Town Talk”?

PG: – No. STT will have little old me on the cover.

RXB: – Oh, and before we forget – any plans to release the 2017 ”En vacker kväll” tour on DVD / Blu-ray in the nearest future?

PG: – Yep, there will be an amazing DVD from the Halmstad-gig very soon. It looks and sounds great.

RXB: – And what about releasing past Roxette gigs we mentioned here several times?

PG: – Yes, there will be old Rox live shows out this year as well. No rest for the wicked.

RXB: – Thank you very much for your time and see you on tour!

PG: – Cheers.

Expectations vs reality – Gessle on tour A.D. 2017

So now we know. Nearly a month ago we were predicting what could be performed live by Mr Gessle, we summed up our Roxette Blog’s 10-part poll quest for the ultimate setlist and now we are more informed than ever before. Per and his en-vcker-kväll-band performed 4 concerts already – one intimate (in-your-living-room style) and three that gathered around 8-9,000 people each. What is worth highlighting and cannot be considered as a joke anymore, there has been several situations when the rain stopped, when Per went on stage. Ingen sommar utan Gessle after all and good weather can be considered as something guaranteed during this tour or you get your money back. Please reach Live Nation for more info.

The next stop on the 22-date tour is Dalhalla, the 13th of July, so it’s the right time to use this break as a moment for some thoughts regarding the concert itself. I won’t comment much on the technical or visual sides as I haven’t been able to attend any of these gigs yet, so I will only concentrate on the current setlist.

So what really has been played on the 23-song concert so far?

Read moreExpectations vs reality – Gessle on tour A.D. 2017