Per Gessle interview by GöteborgDirekt

Kai Martin from GöteborgDirekt did an interview with Per Gessle. He asks Mr. G when the idea for the gigs in Tylösand, then for the upcoming tour was born. Per says the idea came from the pandemic situation. Musicians and technicians had no job due to tough corona regulations. He tried to think positively, take advantage of the opportunity and do something special at Hotel Tylösand. The challenge of playing acoustically for a very small and seated audience was exciting for him. They had done Late Night Concert for TV4 without an audience at Cirkus in November 2020 so he knew he had a great band with good composition and high ambition.

The reaction and response from the audience was absolutely overwhelming, so I felt I couldn’t stop now. This is much fun anyway.

To Kai’s question regarding what it was like to meet the audience, even if they were seated Per replies:

Wonderful and very special for me because it was such a small format. There were about 475 people in the audience every night, everything felt close and intimate, sometimes we answered a question that was asked between the songs, sometimes someone came to the edge of the stage with a gift or flower. The surroundings by the beach in Tylösand are fabulous. Nine out of ten evenings we got to experience the world’s most beautiful sunsets. The band thought it was the coolest “tour” we did. Maybe they’re right?

GöteborgDirekt asks Per how much he has been longing for being on the road again. Per tells:

I’m an anxious soul. When I’m in the studio I’m longing for being ont he road and vice versa. But I really like playing my songs, I love touring. There is a pop romance around this that I never seem to stop being fascinated by. Just this summer, it was not so much a tour for me, I live four minutes from the stage…

Kai is curious how Per picks what songs to play, because he thinks Mr. G has an impressive song catalogue and he could actually play every day of the year without repeating himself. Per explains it started with him selecting 30-35 of his songs and recording acoustic versions alone in the studio to find the right key and feeling. He did it live to experience how it felt to play and sing them. Six, seven songs a day for a week. Then he presented about 25 songs for the band that they rehearsed together. From the beginning, the idea was that they would play 45 minutes + 15 minutes extra, but it ended with the concert being 110 minutes long.

Per also tells that you feel immediately at the rehearsals if a song can wear its new costume. Sometimes it fits, sometimes not. Some of the Gyllene Tider songs felt unexpectedly fresh acoustically, such as Kung av sand and Juni, juli, augusti. He wasn’t sure about it before, but all of a sudden, the lyrics got more into focus and it became a different kind of music that suited this setting.

Kai tells Per that it feels like PG’s curiosity he had as a kid for music still shines through in his creation and wants to know how Mr. G maintains it. Per wishes Kai was right, but sometimes he feels like he is losing interest in new pop music.

I have become like my parents in the 60’s and 70’s who always thought that all the pop I listened to sounded exactly the same. Now, finally, I understand them, hahaha! But it goes in waves for me. Sometimes I get extremely bored of my own record collection and all my old favourites and I’m desperately looking for something new to listen to. Sometimes I look for another type of music; Bill Evans, old country, Penguin Café Orchestra. Found them the other day and they are magically good sometimes.

When it comes to my own creation, I usually say that I write as little as I can! When I go into my “writing mode” I usually have a clear idea about what I want. I’ve just finished a new album in English (with the old “Rox gang”). The idea of this album is to become “the missing link between ‘Look Sharp!’ and ‘Joyride'”. And the record really sounds like that.

Kai refers to Gessles nio i topp (podcast of Per Gessle and Sven Lindström on Swedish Radio P4) and asks Mr. G how much of a pop nerd he is. Per replies:

When I look at myself, I’m 100 percent pop nerd. I’m a self-taught musician who has learned everything I can from the wonderful world of pop. That I would succeed with my own lyrics and music in the way that happened is still difficult to understand for me. But… the more time passes the more comfortable I become in my role as a musician and artist. I probably had not “dared” to do such an unplugged tour ten to fifteen years ago. Now it just feels obvious.

GöteborgDirekt is curious about Per’s creation process. PG tells:

I’m super focused and disciplined when I have a project going on. Then I work mentally around the clock. I go into my bubble and prefer to stay there until I’m done. I become very sad, antisocial and a very unnecessary person.

Kai tells that they who were born in the late 50’s see their role models and idols go out of time. He is curious if it affects Per’s creativity and desire to play in any way, if Per is anxious to take advantage of his time. Mr. G tells you of course get affected by it, but when it comes to his own creativity, it’s mostly an ego thing.

I write and play primarily for my own sake. I actually know nothing else. That there has been an interested audience here and there on the planet for over 40 years is as surreal as Halmstadgruppen*.

[*Halmstadgruppen is a group of six artists that collectively followed and developed avant-garde modern art movements such as cubism, post-cubism, purist, futurist and surrealism in Halmstad. /PP]


Press photo used for GöteborgDirekt’s article by Anders Roos was taken at Hotel Tylösand on 3rd August 2021.

The songs fans ask Per Gessle to play on tour

Per Gessle asked his fans the other day on his social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to suggest songs they didn’t play at the summer sessions at Hotel Tylösand in July and August.

Of course, fans were happy to share their favourites and asked Per to include those in the setlist. If Mr. G wants to play all of them, he will have to extend the hours of playing a bit. And we wouldn’t mind! Haha.

One must love those comments that he could play any track from the Mazarin album. So true! Altogether there were 256 different songs asked for, counting only those that really weren’t played in summer. I’ve tried to eliminate duplications, i.e. if the same person asked for the same songs on more than one channel. So, here is the Top20 list of those hits.

Graph is based on the analysis of comments related to the topic. Pic of PG is taken by Patrícia Peres at the PG Unplugged sessions at Hotel Tylösand, 2021.

I find it interesting that there are some more mid- or uptempo songs missing in the Top20. In the sense that it’s going to be an unplugged tour, it’s understandable in a way, but if I think back to last summer, Juni, juli, augusti was such a fab surprise, how it sounded in an acoustic arrangement that it would be great to hear some more mid- or uptempo songs in a similar version.

In the Top5 we can find 2 Gyllene Tider songs (Chrissie, hur mår du?, Billy), 2 PG solos (Blå december, Viskar) and 1 Roxette ballad (Vulnerable) we’ve always been longing to hear live one day. Will we get lucky and hear it live this autumn? Let’s see what happens!

Among those songs that were played in summer, the most favourites – judging by the comments – seem to be Flickan i en Cole Porter-sång, Tycker om när du tar på mej, På promenad genom stan, Kung av sand and När alla vännerna gått hem. HERE you can check the setlist of each summer gig AND buy your ticket(s) for the autumn tour!

Per Gessle Unplugged Tour around Sweden in autumn!

According to today’s press release, Per Gessle, one of Sweden’s greatest artists and songwriters, will go on tour in Sweden in November and December 2021 with “Per Gessle Unplugged”. After sold-out concerts in Tylösand this summer, the whole country can now join Per Gessle in an acoustic and intimate live environment – where classic hits from his career as a solo artist, Gyllene Tider and Roxette are to be expected!

Per Gessle’s rich song catalogue is undoubtedly one of Sweden’s most successful and most appreciated treasures. Now Per goes on a journey with a band consisting of Roxette musicians Clarence Öfwerman, Christoffer Lundquist, Magnus Börjeson and singer Helena Josefsson. The tour extends over larger parts of Sweden starting in Linköping on 5th November.

Per says:

An acoustic “unplugged” tour is new to me! My band and I did 10 wonderful gigs this summer at Hotel Tylösand and it tuned us to have lust for more. Seated audience, personal and live “for real” where anything can happen.

Aftonbladet writes: “Per Gessle performs on an unusually small and acoustic scale, but the format suits him surprisingly well.”

Göteborgsposten writes: “Musically, Per Gessle has always been crazy not only about power pop and arena anthems but at least as much for this type of acoustic folk pop. It’s not hard to imagine that he had pleasant difficulties in selecting songs for the concert.”

Per continues:

We will play songs from my entire career; Gyllene Tider, Roxette and as a solo artist. Old favourites are mixed with new ones. My ambition is that there will be fantastic evenings that light up the autumn darkness. See you around beautiful Sweden.

Dates:

5th November (Friday) – Linköping, Konsert & Kongress – TICKETS
6th November (Saturday) – Norrköping, Louis de Geer – TICKETS
14th November (Sunday) – Gävle, Konserthuset – TICKETS
19th November (Friday) – Stockholm, Filadelfia – TICKETS
20th November (Saturday) – Uppsala, Konsert & Kongress – TICKETS
22nd November (Monday) – Göteborg, Lorensbergsteatern – TICKETS
23rd November (Tuesday) – Göteborg, Lorensbergsteatern – TICKETS (EXTRA DATE)
28th November (Sunday) – Halmstad, Teatern – TICKETS
29th November (Monday) – Halmstad, Teatern – TICKETS (EXTRA DATE)
8th December (Wednesday) – Karlstad, CCC – TICKETS
9th December (Thursday) – Örebro, Konserthuset – TICKETS
10th December (Friday) – Örebro, Konserthuset – TICKETS (EXTRA DATE)
12th December (Sunday) – Malmö, Slagthuset – TICKETS
14th December (Tuesday) – Jönköping, Konserthuset – TICKETS
15th December (Wednesday) – Kalmar, Kalmarsalen – TICKETS

Tickets for the Per Gessle Unplugged Tour go on sale on Thursday, 2nd September at 9.00 am CET via Livenation.se.

Watch the promo video for the tour HERE!

Press photo by Anders Roos was taken at Hotel Tylösand on 3rd August 2021.

Update on 2nd September 2021: Due to high demand, 3 extra concerts are added: 23 Nov – Göteborg, Lorensbergsteatern, 29 Nov – Halmstad, Teatern, 10 Dec – Örebro, Konserthuset. Tickets are already on sale. The list is updated above.

Per Gessle Unplugged – Hotel Tylösand – #10 – 3rd August 2021

We have reached the final destination. Per Gessle Unplugged – Hotel Tylösand – final gig. The weather was nice all day: a bit windy, but sunny. Before the entrance there was a 5-10-minute-long heavy shower, which was followed by a beautiful rainbow above the hotel. From then on, it was sunny again.

The mood was great on and off stage again. The crowd was rather clapping along, but towards the end, the sing-along got stronger too. I think at this show Tycker om när du tar på mej, It Must Have Been Love and Sommartider were the best songs.

After the band presentation, Per told it’s the last gig they play at Hotel Tylösand and thanked to the hotel staff, as well as General Manager Elisabeth Haglund (who by the way always personally greeted the arriving guests in Solgården before each gig) and Food & Beverage Manager Jonas Karlén. He thanked to the band and the crew, as well as BoJo and Åsa who was responsible for the stage design. He thanked MP for the sound. He of course thanked the crowd too. Then he switched to English and said he knows there are so many people coming to the shows from abroad. He greeted the international fans: „Hello everyone! Thank you!” and got a loud cheering from the audience.

After Min hälsning the gang went off stage, but the crowd wanted them back and so in a couple of minutes they popped up on stage again for the first encore.

After När alla vännerna gått hem the band got flowers as a thank you for this unplugged series. We held up some TACK signs at this point. They were printed on leopard background, because we hoped for PG to appear in his leopard shirt again, but this time it was only his shoes with the leopard design. Anyway, when the crowd got the TACK signs before the gig, they were happy to cooperate in this little flashmob. Actually, the plan was to hold these paper sheets up after the very last song, but after we saw the flowers, we thought that would be the right time, so giving a green light to all behind us, we held them up. Both Per and the band appreciated it. Then they decided not to go off stage, they stayed there, put the flowers down to the stage floor and chairs and played the second encore.

The anecdotes and stories were much fun at the show, but there was another fun thing that topped it all at the last gig. After Per introduced Honung och guld with the Tom Petty story and they started playing it, suddenly the sound and the lights went off. There must have been some problems with the electricity, maybe a cable was pulled out of a plug by accident or a wrong button was hit, but Per certainly didn’t realize it – because of the in-ear system –, since he was still singing the song. Some of us were singing along, but since Honung och guld is not the strongest sing-along song, the crowd wasn’t too loud. Actually, from the band Christoffer seemed to realize it first that something was not OK. Then I could see Per reading the prompter, Micke N-S probably wrote a message that there is no sound. Haha. Then they stopped playing and Per spoke into the mic while smiling, but we couldn’t hear what he was saying. The crowd was cheering and clapping, Per sipped into his ginger tea and we all waited for a solution. Per was laughing and they were joking with Chris. Then some bulbs started shining again, but the band was still in darkness. Christoffer started playing Ljudet av ett annat hjärta and the crowd joined in with the lalalalalala melody. It was awesome! Then some more lights came back, then the sound too and they started playing Honung och guld again. After a while, all lights came back. When they finished the song, they got a veeery long applause and cheering from the audience. Per laughed and asked if we want more. The cheering went on until Per showed thumbs up and they played Om du bara vill as the closing song.

Is that possible that this 10-gig-long journey has just ended??? Time flies indeed when you are having fun… Approximately 2 months ago we had no expectations for any live music events at all, then Per suddenly announced in a video message that he would play at Hotel Tylösand this summer. It would have been 4 concerts, but they were sold out so fast that became 8 and then 10. Due to the pandemic, it was unfortunately very chaotic for fans outside Sweden to plan travelling and quite impossible for all fans outside the EU. Thankfully, the regulations partly changed from July 1st for EU citizens, but still it was quite difficult to organize everything on this short notice. Anyway, many international fans popped up at the shows to represent the hardcore fan base. It was great to meet again. Next time hopefully all will have the chance to travel and see Per & Co. play live, because that is really one of the best things in life and I consider myself very fortunate that I had the chance to attend several gigs on this tour, which wasn’t really a tour. Why do all good things come to an end?

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. Juni, juli, augusti
9. Pappa
10. It Must Have Been Love
11. Ömhet

Band introduction

12. Här kommer alla känslorna
13. Min hälsning

Encore 1
14. Vandrar i ett sommarregn
15. Listen To Your Heart (dedicated to Marie Fredriksson & Pelle Alsing)
16. Sommartider
17. När alla vännerna gått hem

Encore 2
18. Vid hennes sida
19. Honung och guld
20. Om du bara vill

Photos in the article are taken by Patrícia Peres.

Per after the concert:

Wow!!! What a trip this has been! TEN UNPLUGGED GIGS under the belt. Such a blessing to be part of this! Thanks everyone once more for joining the acoustic joyride at Hotel Tylösand. I’m so happy to recieve so much love + positive feedback from soooo many people. It’s crazy. And it’s such a treat to be able to perform songs I don’t “normally” do, songs that matter to me, tiny lighthouses in my journey as a songwriter and artist. More to come, folks. That’s a promise! Cheers, P.

Per Gessle Unplugged – Hotel Tylösand – #9 – 2nd August 2021

In the morning we woke up to heavy rain, but fortunately, already in the late morning the sun seemed to be stronger than the bad weather. Later both BoJo and Åsa were cleaning the stage and the decoration set from water. It was a little windy, but compared to the previous show it was nothing, so despite the cold temperature, it was perfect concert weather.

We met Per before the gig and asked if they added any new songs to the setlist. He said it didn’t change and we also asked him not to cut any songs. He told they plan to play the whole set this time. In the beginning they were supposed to play 45 minutes at the shows, but now it’s 1 hour 45 minutes. He thought when you do a format like this, it gets boring after 45 minutes. We tried to convince him that it’s absolutely not the case, but he said he is confused. Haha.

Jonas Åkerlund and his wife, Bea were also among the guests last night and Marie Dimberg attended the gig this time again.

After switching on the lights on stage with Åsa, BoJo shared the safety info before the concert started and the funny thing was that a not too thirsty guy shouted after the instructions that he had only one question: where BoJo had his tattoo done. Oh my…

The band entered the stage at 20:50 and they seemed to be in a very good mood. Their performance was amazing and the crowd was also in the mood to sing along, so many songs had quite loud reactions. Besides the of-course-always-very-loud Sommartider, Här kommer alla känslorna was also a strong crowd-pleaser.

The stories between the songs got some tiny little new elements. E.g. when Per asked Chris to talk about Gubbens hus, Christoffer told it’s like a palace building with 70 rooms – Per’s facial expression said it all and everyone was laughing – Chris went on: there are animals around the house, e.g. leopards (Per was wearing the leopard shirt last night), but the fauna is rich also inside the house. Once there was a mouse looking out of Clarence’s cosmetic bag. Then he added the story of showing Per around for the first time and meeting a mouse then too. After this anecdote, a woman was walking in front of the stage and put a piece of paper with a message on stage. Per was looking at what was happening, but the paper was put in front of Helena. She picked it up, read it, but left it on the stage floor. We’ll never get know what was written on it. Haha.

During Tycker om när du tar på mej, when Helena stood up and started singing, some seagulls also felt like joining in. Actually, the melody of their „singing” quite fitted this part of the song.

Before Det hjärta som brinner now Per asked Christoffer to start counting in, not to make the mess they did at the previous 2 gigs.

Chris interrupted Per when before Pappa he was talking about his father and grandfather who were plumbers and the times he spent in Frösakull. Chris said not many know that Gyllene Tider’s probably most beloved songs, När vi två blir en was first written as När vi två blir en rörläggare (= When the two of us become a plumber). Per laughed, everyone laughed. Chris said ”now you know”. Mr. G said he was completely lost, the last thing he remembered he told was Doktorsvägen. He was distracted, but then he could finish the story he wanted to tell, related to the song. It was funny.

When Micke N-S brought a new mug for Per, Chris asked what’s in there. Per told it’s ginger tea and asked Chris if he wants to taste it. Christoffer said yes, but Per said ”you won’t”. Mr. G was fighting with a capo at this point and he mentioned it’s never him who is doing that when he is on tour, but now it’s a low budget thing. He succeded with putting the capo on before IMHBL.

Before Ömhet, when Per was talking about how he started working with Helena, he told the story of having 3 singers auditioned by Christoffer and when he heard the first singer, he didn’t want to hear the other two, the first one was just perfect. Chris joked that the other two were Agnetha and Frida (from ABBA).

When Min hälsning came on the setlist, Per said they thought to finish with this song despite the fact that it’s only Monday. Last night’s crowd also didn’t want the concert to end at that point. He added that he wrote this song for Gyllene Tider’s very first LP (1979), but they never recorded it, because it’s probably too nice and GT was a tough band already in 1979. Rock hard guys, Harplinge gangsters. Everyone laughed.

When the band went off stage, the crowd didn’t stop clapping for a couple of minutes and so the gang of course came back on stage to play more.

When they came back for the second encore, a girl also put a paper on stage. Per picked it up, read the message on it and thanked for it. This message will also remain a secret forever.

The setlist got back to its 20-song length, it was the same as at gigs #4, #6 and #7.

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. Juni, juli, augusti
9. Pappa
10. It Must Have Been Love
11. Ömhet

Band introduction

12. Här kommer alla känslorna
13. Min hälsning

Encore 1
14. Vandrar i ett sommarregn
15. Listen To Your Heart (dedicated to Marie Fredriksson & Pelle Alsing)
16. Sommartider
17. När alla vännerna gått hem

Encore 2
18. Vid hennes sida
19. Honung och guld
20. Om du bara vill

Photos in the article are taken by Patrícia Peres.

Per after the concert:

Yep, nailed it. Super crowd + weather + ambitious band. Fab evening. Thanx everyone!

On his Facebook:

AMAZING last night!! Thanx everyone for singing along + making gig #9 stay with us in our hearts forever. Tonight we’ll wrap things up. It has been such a treat to do these unplugged shows with the fab band + crew + all of you guys. Have to do it again for sure. Some day not too far away. Cheers, P.