Have you ever had a “deja vu” feeling? That you see something you have experienced and enjoyed already in the past? And you really loved it back then? Well, I belive we are all in this deja vu phase once again. Roxette played Warsaw for the first time almost exactly 4 years ago and back then it was the 40th gig on then-growing Neverending Tour Part 1. Now they were back to my town with yet another – surprise, surprise – 40th concert in the 2014-2015 tour edition, at the very same venue, with a little more mature crowd and the band that got some new glossy shirts, but kept the same unforgettable smiles on their faces and rocking attitude few could only imagine.
Torwar takes up to around 6,000-7,000 people and it was surely more packed yesterday than 4 years ago, even considering a little or no-marketing campaign from Live Nation side. I guess it just means good products sell themselves 😉 Queuing started very early in the morning, with people arriving shortly after 6am, but in the end no one took a proper control of numbering system and we chose chaos instead – we like it like that here. In front of the venue both old, young, ladies with kids, disabled, hipsters with beards (me included!), death-metal fans were waiting nicely in the line, dressed in the old Roxette t-shirts or the one produced by Arek Rykaczewski for 60+ hardcore fans from Polish Roxette forum. Some of them were really eager to see Roxette so security needed to drag them out from the line. Shit happens. Gosia Puterman who stood behind “Polish hearts for Roxette” initiative was cutting out white and red hearts, informing people outside with use of a megaphone what they should do during the concert. We also wanted to help somehow that’s why we were handing out simple instructions when the flash mob should start. Impressive number of 2,000 hearts were cut with fans doing this days and nights. Amazing Roxette movement! Where will it lead next?
Roxette and the crew spent Midsommar in Sweden and they were supposed to fly to Warsaw on Sunday. But as there was a hacker attack on the Polish airline’s system Marie and few staff members were forced to change the flight to Monday. Per came to Warsaw at 5pm just few hours before the concert and headed straight to the arena. It was one of the earliest Roxette gigs starting just 20 minutes after 8pm. Just before Magnus Börjeson picked 14 bootleg DVDs done by bunch of dedicated Poles – Slawek Sztul, Blanka Pentela, Ela Krysinska with a little help from my side. Each band member got two boxes with video recordings of Warsaw 2011 and Gdansk 2012 concerts. It turned out Polish fans were going to surprise the band few more times during the evening…
In Roxette world dictionary I would call myself a midcore-fan as it was only my 8th Roxette concert ever. The last time I saw Roxette was Kaunas, Lithuania in November last year and hey, what a bloody change it was. For better. Marie secured in her chair in a top-top-top shape, enjoying every minute, clapping her hands. Per was jumping, sweating and speaking per-fect Polish “dzieki” (thanks). You could easily see if they could, they would probably jump off the stage to the crowd to feel the energy hidden there. You could read it off Marie’s eyes that night – stage is the place she wants to be, no matter what the haters say, no matter what you think or press writes. Skitsamma as Swedes say. She wants to be there and she wants to deliver the best she can – and with hand on my heart – she did all there was to put a spell on the crowd, to do the hocus-pocus even without “Almost unreal” in the setlist. One of my magical moments was the whole arena (or at least it felt like so) singing “Paint” part in Watercolours in the rain – such vulnerable voice mixed with a 6,000 fans’ singing is one of that precious moments everyone will remember.
But obviously it wouldn’t be a proper Polish concert, if there was no flash mob. U2, Depeche Mode, Madonna or Robbie Williams – they all had it and Roxette couldn’t have worse fans. Gosia Puterman came up with the idea to create a heart-shaped Polish flag – red in the standing pit, white on the tribunes. It was truely magical to see heart sea during “The Heart Shaped Sea” and “Listen to your heart” – as if Per Gessle’s lyrics came to life that evening. Warsaw harvest was truely successful and fruitful!
A lot of things landed on the stage that night – fluffy stuff including white stork, which is considered being Poland’s symbol and a sign of expecting a baby – we all know Roxette is working on a new album, don’t we? Hope it won’t be another 9 months till we hear it. Arek’s white-and-red paper-flower chains were picked up by Magnus and Clarence who tried to wear them for a moment just to bring a little Warsaw-Hawaii feel to the stage. Polish flag was traditionally thrown on the stage and Per took it in his handyman hand for a short blessing moment. A lot of patriotical moments if you ask me, but we actually like our national colours! But as it was dangerous for the band, everyting was taken off the stage. On the top of that Chris played “Pszczolka Maja” known so good from Czech original and some local versions in all former communist countries in the central Europe. Cool addition that made the crowd gone wild! “Dziekujemy” screams from the audience (thank you) at the end must have come up as a suprise to the band, but I belive they understood what we meant. Anyway we were and still are really thankful, trust us.
Am I happy with the concert? Hell I am! Would I change something? Obviously – more songs, but the setlist is a crowd-winner anyway with all big hits performed, sing-a-longs and overwhelming energy. Will there be more Roxette in the future? Yes, there is a bright future, world needs real entertainers who know their job, do this with heart against all odds. Fuck cancer, fuck hurting leg, fuck bad days, we are here for emotions and true beauty and that’s what Roxette easily deliver. I heard people saying that was the last Roxette concert in Poland. I did hear this back in 2011, also in 2012… That they cannot continue that forever and ever etc. Please, stop. Don’t try to convince yourself that’s the end – we have seen so maaaaany endings and even more beginnings. After all what we learned from Roxette is that all begins where it ends.
Per after the show:
WARSAW UPDATE: Speechless!!! What a crowd!!! Thanx for an everlasting memory, we had such a blast! Band in top model mood and Marie in terrific shape, who can ask for more? Love!!! /P.
Picture used in the article were taken by Przemek Starosta and Marcin Krzysztof.
Sleeping In My Car
The Big L.
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush On You
She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
The Heart Shaped Sea
Watercolours In The Rain / Paint
Fading Like A Flower
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed For Success
Joyride /w Pszczolka Maja
Listen To Your Heart
Szymon Starnawski Photography
Live Nation Poland
Pszczolka Maja/Joyride https://youtu.be/vzoztvtAYI4
It Must Have Been Love https://youtu.be/LIBb0piGP9U
Listen To Your Heart (bis) https://youtu.be/XjXvG-NX3jM
Spending My Time https://youtu.be/BZFsrZfqomM
Fading Like A Flower https://youtu.be/fIXvZU_TChI
Dressed For Success/Dangerous https://youtu.be/RCfj1JqU5F0
Sleeping In My Car https://youtu.be/D0IkE2e75Hc
The Big L. https://youtu.be/2YB51l0J7JE
The Look (bis) https://youtu.be/Koo3Ke3bleY