KAZAN, RUSSIA - With the first concert of the tour now completed in Kazan, here is the full set list:
1. Dressed For Success
2. Sleeping In My Car
3. Opportunity Nox
4. The Big L.
5. Wish I Could Fly
6. Only When I Dream
7. She's Got Nothing On (But the Radio)
8. Perfect Day
9. Things Will Never Be the Same
10. It Must Have Been Love
12. Fading Like A Flower
13. Silver Blue
14. How Do You Do!
Band presentation (with Kalinka Malinka)
First Encore (Extras)
17. Watercolours In the Rain
18. Spending My Time
19. The Look
Second Encore (Extra extras), and Marie is now wearing the official sweater of Kazan hockey club Ak Bars.
20. Way Out
21. Listen To Your Heart
22. Church Of Your Heart
Additional reporting by Joyrider2000
Fans have been hopeful in recent years that with Marie's recovery from brain cancer, that Per and Marie would reactivate Roxette: take the stage again… perhaps tour… and if all that wasn't possible, at least get into a recording studio and release new material. We've known for months now that all of these wishes are coming true, and today marks another milestone in the duo's career with Roxette.
Per, Marie, and the band – along with a very small entourage – boarded what Per has dubbed the "Roxjet" late yesterday morning and flew to Kazan, Russia where, tonight, the first in a long series of concerts will take place in the large basketball arena there.
After a handful of successful concerts that Roxette performed this past summer (the results of which are an impressive addition to the deluxe edition of their new Charm School album), they've now set out on a full-fledged world tour that is expected to span at least five continents during the year (see below). By all accounts, both Per and Marie are returning to the world stage full of renewed enthusiasm. While Roxette toured the U.S. in 2000 (Greatest Hits) and Europe in 2001 (Room Service), their last real world tour took place in 1994-95 in conjunction with the “Crash! Boom! Bang!” album.
“If you’d asked me a couple of years ago, if there would ever be a new Roxette tour I would have very quickly said 'No!',” says Per. “Knowing what Marie had to go through in recovering from her severe illness, this is not only unbelievable, it seems almost magical to me. It will be wonderful to meet all our audience on Planet Earth again.”
Band member Christoffer Lundquist, speaking to The Daily Roxette after having arrived in Kazan, said “Roxette are back and it really feels like the world wants to hear Roxette again. Everyone really feels the difference compared to the last tour – 2001. There's so much more enthusiasm and demand and curiousity about Roxette and it really affects all of us. And of course the obvious… I mean Marie's amazing comeback. It's really a miraculous recovery. And also, her personal strength… the way she has been fighting for this and not giving up. The whole thing is mind-blowing to me.”
About the tour, he says “We're playing really, really great songs and singing and playing live… with as much energy as we can possibly muster!”
MORE GOOD NEWS TO COME!
Additional concert dates, beyond those that are confirmed and appear on our concert calendar, are expected… both within the current time frame, and beyond it. Per, in an interview with German radio station NDR 2 for which readers of TDR were invited to submit questions, revealed that plans are underway to extend the tour into the fall with about 25 more shows. While he mentioned that some would be in Germany, it is expected that other dates will include stops in some of the countries that seem to be obvious omissions from the tour including, perhaps, a North American segment. There has been speculation that that is why the Mexico City date was replaced with Montevideo, Uruguay.
HAPPENING IN KAZAN
TDR's reporter in Kazan, Svetlana Kulalaeva, has let us know that it should be possible to view the scheduled press conference over the internet (link below), and that the Mayor of Kazan (who by some accounts is a Roxette fan himself) is expected to officially welcome Per and Marie.
Additional reporting by Michi1506 in Germany. The photo of the Roxjet is an artist's rendition of the actual plane (which LiveNation has leased from a company in Finland — thus the "OH"), with the addition of a Roxette livery.
STOCKHOLM - As per usual Per Gessle stays up all night with a bottle of wine selecting nothing but the best songs for his audience to hear before the night's concert. The Roxette World Tour 2011, which starts on Monday, is no different. The Daily Roxette is proud to present the Official pre-show mixed tape 2011 by DJ Mr. Gee: (and for those of you who are fortunate enough to have Spotify, here's the list!)
Do anything you wanna do - Eddie & the Hot Rods
Birds And The Bees - Unkle Bob
My girl - Madness
Rose garden - Lynn Anderson
The model - Kraftwerk
FT. MCMURRAY - Radioman and long time Roxette supporter Ian Seggie of Ft. McMurray, Canada has spoken to EMI Canada. According to Ian's sources Roxette will be making an appearance in Canada later this year, so far unclear as of when, but places like Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver have been named. Combining this with Per's hints in German interviews that the tour will be prolonged after August, maybe even into 2012, this surely sounds like good news.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As the holiday season winds down, The Daily Roxette's News Editor Thomas Evensson was recently afforded the opportunity to sit down for a chat with Per Gessle. As you'll see, with a new single and album out in the very near future – not to mention a World Tour – they had no shortage of things to talk about! —LEO
STOCKHOLM - With a few logs burning in the fireplace, Per offers a glass of glögg (mulled wine) as we sit down in a couple of comfortable chairs by the fireplace. On the table, there's a plate of pepparkakor (traditional Swedish Christmas ginger cookies).
The Daily Roxette: So Per… a new album, a brand spanking fresh single, an upcoming world tour. The fans say ‘woohoo’, what say you?
Per Gessle: I say ‘Yee-Haa!’. We're very pleased with the new album. We decided early on to try to make a classic Roxette record and I think we succeeded. Also, since Marie is very motivated and up for any challenge these days, a full scale Roxette tour feels just right.
We certainly long for these upcoming shows!! You know me, I love playing music with these people. And to have the benefit of the Rox crowds all over the planet you can't help but to shout ‘Yee-Haa!’
TDR: Roxette has been on a long, long road from its first attempts of a comeback starting with “One Wish” back in 2006 to this most recent decision to once again step back into the limelight. We saw the TV-shows Per, we saw Night Of The Proms, we saw last summer's concerts, but we also noticed the breaks. How did you and Marie finally find this path back?
PG: You have to remember that when Marie fell ill she only had about a five percent chance of surviving. Only one-out-of-twenty survive what she’s gone through! When you think about that it's almost a miracle that we're sitting here discussing a new Rox album and a new Rox tour. You have to keep that in mind. I certainly do. So every step of the way since 2002 has been dictated by what Marie wanted and what she was able to do. Slowly but surely she has built up enough self-confidence and motivation to start thinking in larger terms: concerts, media, blah blah blah… I can see how she improves with every thing she does. After a couple of days in the studio she started to deliver magic like in the past. It’s the same on stage. I'm sure you noticed that if you saw, for instance, Night of the Proms show #2 compared to show #35!!! It feels so good! [One can see Per is very happy about this as his face radiates when speaking about Marie.]
TDR: Yes, it is incredible to see the progress in her performance and she obviously enjoys the love she receives from the fans. Yet most of the promo stuff is being done by you. In the old times, the focus was more on Marie, now you're the face in front of the cameras. Do you think your solo career has given you more self-esteem? What will the consequences for the public image of Roxette be next year?
PG: Well, I don’t agree. I’ve always been the one doing by far the most promo jobs. Basically because Marie always hated it. I didn’t have a problem with it in the past and I still don’t. But it’s pretty natural for the media to focus on Marie since she’s the lead singer and therefore the main character in the band. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future but I’m pretty sure Marie won’t do that many interviews since she’s really tired of talking about her illness. And that’s what most media people want to discuss. Not my brilliant chord progressions. [He winks.]
TDR: That’s hard to understand, those D-E-A progressions… out of this world! And now that the new single “She’s Got Nothing On (But the Radio)” is out any day, which of your own footsteps are you tracing (if any)? Did you have a certain sound in your mind when you planned this album?
[Per takes a sip of his glögg and thinks.]
PG: Yea, like I said we wanted the songs to get the classic Roxette treatment. However, we didn't use Jonas [Isacsson] or Pelle [Alsing] on the record. We started out with Jens [Jansson] on drums, which felt great. But after the summer break we decided to focus on programming when it came to the backing tracks. We tried to get Anders [Herrlin] onboard to guide us through the manuals but he was so busy with his movies – he’s doing plenty of soundtracks – so he couldn't come by. Next time, maybe?
TDR: Yes by all means, bring in ‘The Herrlin’ next time around!
PG: Also, most of the guitar parts are played by Chris [Lundquist]. He can play things I hear in my head but can't play myself. Story of my life…
TDR: But you have a party in your head, Chris probably doesn’t? Talking about Chris, can we expect another head-banging guitar solo by the born-again hippie this time?
PG: Lots of them, I hope. Chris is one of the world’s best players. He’s got that unique talent combining an out-of-this-world musicality with an equally out-of-this-world emotional antenna. That’s very, very rare. Most musicians of Chris’ caliber are just technical virtuosos… brilliant but boring. Chris has that gut feeling, that very generous pop heart that is extremely rewarding to hear beating. When he’s groovin’ together with Clarence [Öfwerman], we’re talking Super League.
[Per switches topics and begins to talk about the – in TDR’s opinion – rocky, sleeve design… how both he and Marie loves Pär Wickholm’s work.]
PG: He’s got a certain attitude which is attractive. I love, for instance, his ‘Party Crasher’ sleeve so we told him to do something special, a collage, starting out with approximately 200 pics he received from Marie and I. He did a great job as expected. He's a charmer.
TDR: Yes, the Gessle over Europe sleeve is a masterpiece! Speaking of albums, who came up with the title Charm School? Any subliminal meaning?
PG: Well, one of the main songs was called “Charm School.” It was a killer track, possibly strong enough to be the core of the album. But like in most love stories things sometimes go wrong. The production went crazy and ugly. We re-recorded it but lost interest after a couple of days, so it had to go through a very painful and slow death. However, I'm sure it will pop up somewhere else.” [Per gives a mischievous smile.] “Some songs seem to have nine lives, you know…
TDR: We do know! There must be dozens of songs that fans have heard of that just disappeared. What is the old saying? ‘Good demos never die; they just go to the drawer and mature?’ Maybe you’ll release it as a B-side? We're happy about everything that turns a CD-single into maxi singles! Have other singles been chosen already?
PG: No, not yet. We’re still trying to convince an upcoming partner in the U.S. that we exist so we’re waiting for more feedback.
TDR: How were you inspired, if that’s the right word, for writing material for this album?
PG: Basically I wrote for Marie. Starting at square one, I think we tried every song with her as the lead singer. But some songs she didn’t feel comfortable with, so I sang those instead. Or we scrapped them. It’s pretty easy going. For me, the whole idea with Roxette is to use Marie's voice as much as possible otherwise it will only become another Per Gessle project. [Per is excited now.] And I love the fact that she's ‘taking over’ the songs, making them her own. For instance, there's a ballad, “No One Makes It On Her Own,” which suddenly gets a whole new meaning and touches you on a totally different level than it did when it was sung by me (on the demo). She’s got that rare power. A great gift.
TDR: Amazing! Did you try to get influenced by contemporary music in order to achieve maximum chart success?
PG: No, not at all. We never discuss chart success or "we have to have a single" anymore. We're way past that. We're very aware that contemporary radio such as Radio One in the UK or P3 in Sweden won't touch our new material since we're old enough to be the programmers' parents.
The main reason for doing a new album after all these years is because we can!!! I still love to write songs, Marie loves to sing them. So I guess in a way Charm School is made to please ourselves. But, of course, we know we have a huge fan base all over the world, our music has touched zillions of people in the past, and still does, so the new stuff is made with love for them as well. We know that a lot of folks are looking forward to this record and have waited for a Rox return for many years. It's a blessing to have those ties with people and we'll never forget that.
[Per is as always underestimating himself. This reporter thinks "Radio" sounds pretty young and ready for the charts of this planet.]
TDR: Was there no pressure from the record company to follow a certain route?
PG: You’re joking! We never play our music for the record company until the project’s closed. We used to do that in the early days… we had to because we spent so much of their money in the studio. I’ve been writing songs professionally for more than 30 years, if they don’t trust me and my ambitions they signed the wrong guy. And I've never really disappointed them, have I?
TDR: Well there was this hrrrm Heartland album… just kidding!
She’s got nothing on (but the radio)
What she got she got to give it to somebody
What she got she got to give it to someone
It’s not a case of growin’ up or lots of money
It’s just the fundamental twist of the sun
What she got she got to let somebody find it (- “Really?”)
What she got is not for her to keep alone (- “Oh!”)
Nobody’s got a clue if there is such a reason (- “Yea?”)
Why she wanna play it o-on her own
She’s got nothing on but the radio
She’s a passion play
And like the break of day
She takes my breath away
What she got she got to give to some contender
What she got is just like gold dust on a shelf
And no one’s got a clue what’s on her brave agenda
Why she wanna keep it keep it to herself
She’s got nothing on but the radio
It’s a passion play
And like the break of day
She takes my breath away
Who did the painting on my wall?
Who left a poem down the hall?
Oh I don’t understand at all, he-he-hey
- - -
© gessle / jimmy fun music / august 2009
THE NORTH POLE - Is Santa Claus an Eskimo masochist? The q is relevant since it’s sooooo cold in Sweden right now we poor Swedes can hardly breathe. All guitars are out of tune, thank God for the blankets we found in a closet at the Tits & Ass Studio the other day.
Anyway, we just want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. 2010 has certainly been a fab year for us. We managed to finish the Charm School-album. I finally got my favorite pasta-dish right. Marie learned how to ski. I cracked the Top 10 on the go-kart track. Marie found her Trash & Vaudeville-pants from 1989 at the dry-cleaners. We did seven super shows in Europe. And there is more to come next year you know that. Plenty.
The new single will officially hit Planet Earth January 7 but knowing you guys you’re probably already tired of it by then… Charm School begins Feb 10.
So… thanks for all your support, we need that from time to time. Yea, we do appreciate your unconditional love now and forever (sounds like a song…).
See y’all somewhere around the globe next year. We promise to do our best to bring a smile to your faces. Have a great X and a most charming new year. Don’t drink and drive.
Love from Per & Marie
NYC - Per Gessle was spotted at the Apollo in Harlem, New York City last night at a concert by Sir Paul Macca McCartney. The concert celebrated 20 million Sirius XM subscribers. Per was in good company; Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Jerry Seinfeld, Keith Richards, Steve Buscemi etc. The list is endless. Per says Macca opened with "Magical Mystery Tour" and comments "hard to beat!"
MOSCOW - Roxette has been in Moscow, Russia doing TV for new year's eve. Unfortunately there will be no "She's Got Nothing On (But the Radio)" as Roxette recorded "The Look" and "Sleeping in My Car", and probably not live. Per comments to TDR that it was "great fun with great people" and adds on Twitter that Roxette will see its Russian fans again in March.
On February 11 the unlikely becomes reality. After 25 years as a world-famous act with 70 million albums sold, one of Sweden’s biggest pop groups steps back into the spotlight, a decade after their last studio album “Room Service”.
They do it with “Charm School”, a new album with twelve songs in a style that’s best described as “updated classic Roxette”, from the initial power pop fireworks of “Way Out” to the bittersweet closer “Sitting On Top Of The World”.