Tuesday, February 21, 2012 2:35 PM
On the tram down to the Entertainment Centre it is not hard to pick who is on their way to see eighties pop sensations Roxette. They are the ones talking very loudly and singing bit's of Roxette hits with slightly slurry voices that suggest there has been a few pre-show vodka cruisers already.
And you know what? They should be celebrating. Roxette were a terrific pop band. They released a sack full of excellent pop songs and were absolutely massive in Australia in the 1980's and 90's. When this reunion tour was announced people were losing their minds with excitement. The last time they toured Australia was 1995 and boy howdy people were ready for one more Joyride.
Opening tonight were 1927 another 80's band that have been getting back together now and again. Now clearly this audience are fans of 1927. They know the words and they sing along with the songs that must be the hits. They play well and they have a good rapport with the audience. But personally I never got 1927. It wasn't that I actively disliked them, they just didn't make any impact on me at all. All these years later they remain my Achilles heel when it comes to music trivia. Nothing changed for me tonight but everybody else had a great time, singing along with the songs that I assume were the hits.
After a short break it the near capacity crowd goes crazy as Roxette take the stage. Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson both look great and they kick straight into Dressed For Success from their 1989 album Look Sharp
. The GA section on the floor is dancing and bouncing up and down and singing along. When European pop groups get it right the outshine everything else in the charts, and whilst Roxette were never quite Abba, these songs do shimmer and shine with sugary pop goodness. Tonight is a family assortment of pop confection. They do Sleeping In My Car, The Big L
and Wish I Could Fly
all in row. Inevitably there are some songs from their brand new album Charm School
, but turns out the new songs are pretty cool and they only do the two Only When I Dream
and She's Got Nothing On (But The Radio)
both solid Roxette-ish Europop. Nice treat for the older fans with Perfect Day
and Things Will Never Be The Same
from the Joyride album. Neither were singles but everybody knows them well. It Must Have Been Love
sees hundreds of phones come out to capture one of the great 90s power ballads from the Pretty Woman
soundtrack. Marie's voice is really powerful but several people afterwards had noticed she wasn't moving around much.
For those who haven't been keeping up with her story in 2002 Fredriksson collapsed at her home and was rushed to hospital where it was discovered she has a brain tumour which was successfully removed. After months of Chemotherapy she temporarily had some trouble reading, writing and counting and withdrew from public life for several years. She has continued to record solo albums but only returned to live performing in 2010 and she is still quite fragile. Mostly the audience wouldn't have had a clue that she was anything less than 100% and what a voice.
Per Gessle on the other hand is all over the stage, bouncing and running and having a ball. He's 52 years old but still has a teenagers spring in his step. After two more rarities for the die-hards (Opportunity Nox & 7Twenty7) we are treated to a veritable jukebox of hits to finish the set. Fading Like A Flower
, a stripped back Crash! Boom! Bang!
, and a medley of two of my favourites, How Do You Do?
. They finish off the set with Joyride
with a wall of guitars (but sadly no whistling). Everyone in the audience is exhausted but there's more to come.
They return to the stage for Watercolours In The Rain, Spending My Time
and a killer version of The Look.
Second encore was Listen to Your Heart
(from Look Sharp
and Church of Your Heart
(from the Joyride
album), which seems an odd choice to end on but both songs are received with massive ovations from the audience.
It's always a danger to go and see reformed band that were popular a long time ago. Will they be able to recreate the magic, will they do the songs I love? With Roxette the answer was a resounding YES! It was one hell of a Joyride.
(Words by Ian Bell)
Dressed For Success
Sleeping in My Car
The Big L
Wish I Could Fly
Only When I Dream
She's Got Nothing On (But the Radio)
Things Will Never Be The Same
It Must Have Been Love
Fading Like A Flower
Crash! Boom! Bang!
How Do You Do?
Watercolours in the Rain
Spending My Time
Listen To Your Heart
Church of Your Heart
Check out all the photos here