ARNHEM (Updated) -
On Friday the 13th of November, the Daily Roxette joined Roxette at the Gelredome in Arnhem for a wonderful night. During the first half of the Night of the Proms, a Swedish symphony called ‘Midsommarvaka’ magically changed into the first string arrangements of ‘Wish I Could Fly’. After the stunning synergy between Roxette and Il Novecento, the presenter of the evening promised more Roxette during the second half. In the intermission, The Daily Roxette had an exclusive interview with the Man himself.
First of all, welcome back in Holland Per! How does it feel to be back so soon after the concert in Amsterdam earlier this year?
It was a different story. But it was great, of course, coming here with Marie, Jonas and everything else - it’s cool, yeah. And we look forward to having these seven nights in a row in Rotterdam. I remember playing in Ahoy before. It’s a great crowd.
So what are your feelings about the Proms, since it’s such a bizarre thing on its own?
It is. Very much so. It’s impossible to understand, unless you see it for yourself. You have to really be a part of it to understand it. It’s really hard to describe to friends at home what we are actually doing - it’s fun, it’s great! It’s also a great step. I think it’s a very clever move of Marie, instead of doing a full tour or a full concert. She’s not ready to do those things. With Night of the Proms you share the responsibility with other artists, and you're just doing your four or five songs. And we're doing lots of shows, so she's getting back into the concert mode.
LJUSDAL - First there was nothing, then there was "Wings over America." Now there's "Gessle over Europe"! The live CD/DVD combo awaited by many a fan. Was it worth the wait?
Yes. Yes it certainly was!
The CD is amazing, crystal clear sound, heavy bass and with a live feeling that puts you right back into the audience again. If you were there in the first place, that is… Kudos to Christoffer Lundqvist! The packaging is identical to the Roxette re-releases; a high glossy "eco" pack that looks like a small vinyl LP. Speaking of which, the album comes as a double LP with three bonus tracks as well, not reviewed here though.
The tracks on the album come from the best concerts available, and from what I can understand, some concerts were better than others. "Gessle over Europe" isn't mixed together to sound like one homogeneous concert so there are some fade ins and outs. This only affects the crowd noises though.
I won't review the concert again, so if you want to read about that, check that review out here.
In short: This album is a must have. I would recommend it to non-fans even. However, I have to mention some of the better tracks (and this is hard): "Doesn't Make Sense" is out of this world on this album, and so is "It Must Have Been Love" and "Listen to Your Heart." I can go on and on, but I'll limit myself to these three. What I keep wondering is if they've cut the last part out of "Listen to Your Heart" as I want to remember it from the concert that Per sings "you tell her goodbye…" yet another time.
Now, Capitol is marketing this as a CD with a bonus-DVD, while I think the audience may see it the other way around.
LJUSDAL (Updated) - 090909 the Beatles remasters were released (by EMI), both in stereo and in mono, now EMI is releasing Roxette's entire (well…) album catalog remastered, albeit only in stereo… "The Rox Archives." Which is more anticipated I cannot say, but from what I can gather both the Beatles's and Roxette's albums are released in this new "eco friendly" packaging. Which is a fancier name for a high gloss gatefold paper sleeve. The albums look very spiffy, with a collection name on the former jewel case spine; "ROX ARCHIVES VOL. X. FILE UNDER POP" written in the style of an old plastic strip type labeler - all labels of the releases follow this pattern. All the albums have the same back sleeve. Do the albums come with a booklet? Yes they do, and they are indeed redone, however, they are not better, in fact they are very plain with just the lyrics and the odd photo. These are not collector's items as Per stated, and mind you they are also not priced as new releases. So, to recap: very very nice looking sleeves, quite disappointing booklets. But the music, you ask? Hey, I'm getting there!
First, let me present to you some graphs of "Neverending Love." The top one is the 1986 release, the middle is from 1997 and the bottom is the new 2009 release. As you can see the sound has gotten more compact for every release. But is this a good thing? There's no right answer to that question, some songs are better more compressed and some aren't. In my opinion, pop music generally doesn't suffer from this, as long is it's not overly compressed and/or distorted. What gets lost is the dynamic range.
We're using "Neverending Love" as an example here and the song is much much louder on the new release, but I feel that the song sounds better than before so it's not just louder.
STOCKHOLM - Per has kindly delayed his trip to New York to meet with The Daily Roxette… Well, not really, it's actually his wife's stomach flu that keeps him from going, which is great (for us, not her!), since we can interview him instead! And this time around we've gotten the questions from the fans.
So Per, let's fire away: what can we expect from Roxette at the Proms? Did you find any new dimensions in the songs?
- First of all this is a great opportunity for Marie and myself to get back together again without trying to do a full-scale Roxette concert. At this point we'd like to take everything concerning Roxette step by step. Also, of course, it will be thrilling to perform some of our biggest songs (especially "Wish I Could Fly," "It Must Have Been Love" and "Listen to Your Heart") with a big orchestra & choir. Clarence's & Christoffer's arrangements are truly stunning. And the idea of having strings on "The Look" sounds very South Park to me. I love it.
Sounds nice. And how will you meet Marie's nowadays more limited mobility on stage?
- Well, like I said, we take everything step by step. Time will tell how much she wants to work the stage. I don't know yet. But I don't consider this to be a problem. Her voice and presence are still magical.
Any advice regarding fans' (un)realistic expectations?
- No. Enjoy the shows. We certainly will.
Is there a possibility to see all the Prom versions get released after the tour? - How about a full orchestral album, like Metallica's "S & M"?
- Hmpff… I'm sure there will be DVD:s released with our Prom-performances. Full orchestral album? Not on the agenda at the moment, no.
How will you spend your spare time on the road? Songwriting, business or simply relaxing?
- We're actually bringing a serious amount of equipment to Belgium & Holland to make some groundbreaking recordings in the hotel corridors… How about that?
(Updated) - Sony's incredibly popular singing game SingStar for PS3 got a Roxette Ballads song pack June 11. Now The Daily Roxette has received news that another song pack will be released in the near future - Roxette Rocks. Rocks will include the following tracks:
* The Look
* Dressed For Success
* Sleeping In My Car
* Wish I Could Fly
Sony has announced that the new song pack is already available.
Update: The song pack is now available and The Daily Roxette can tell you that "The Look" is the '95 version.
NEW YORK - The special broadcast of Nordic Rox on Sirius satellite radio last Sunday failed due to some glitch in the automated system. Per Gessle's concert from London was overlapped with other songs after two thirds of the concert, as well as drowning out parts of the interviews. Sirius apologizes and promises to fix it before the rebroadcast on Wednesday.
STOCKHOLM (Updated) - It took a few days for Per Gessle to resurface again after the Party Crasher tour concluded in Stockholm, but The Daily Roxette has finally managed to get ahold of Per and ask a few questions on everyone's mind:
After this astonishing tour Per, how does it feel?
Ahh, empty!!! It's been the greatest tour ever for me. So intimate, so close with a superb band and a delightful crew, the most pleasant hardcore fans you can ever imagine and a great catalogue of songs to dig into. I've had the time of my life!
Yes, you certainly seemed to have a lot of fun on this tour, and we know you say every tour is the best one so far, how is this one compared to the others?
This is it, man!! And I ain't lyin'!
From what I've heard this tour has been a killer, music-wise, when is the live album out?
Yes, there will most likely be a package with a CD and a DVD put together. The CD is recorded live all over Europe, the DVD is from Cirkus (day one) in Stockholm and the DVD will also include 100 of the most primitive and hilarious clips from the tour (you've probably seen a few on YouTube already). I'm such a generous guy! And, forchrissakes, there will be a double-LP!!! One comes to the point in one's career when it's time to release a live double-album. Like Kiss, David Bowie, and Peter Frampton. This is the point for me!
Will Blu-Ray be an option?
I don't know. I'm glad if it's in color! And in stereo!
Color… gee let's hope! Also, Chris mentioned some tracks to be broadcast on Nordic Rox? Tell us more…
Yes, there will be loads of unreleased versions on Nordic Rox. I'm going to NYC next week to sort things out.
How did it feel to perform the famous Rox tunes without Marie? You are after all the "Man from Roxette?"
It felt great. I knew I could handle them. At the same time I wanted them to be different from the Rox-versions. My ambition has never been to "replace" Marie. I just wanted to play and sing these songs because they are dear to me. After all, I wrote them.
Why so few songs from "Crasher," it was the Party Crasher Tour after all?
Well, the PC-album is pretty tough to play live. Unless, of course, you want to bring the click-trax and computers in. Which I didn't want at all this time around. I wanted the set to be guitar-based, straight forward power-pop with great vocal harmonies and silly power-chords here and there. The PC-album is totally different.
That's understandable enough. Now, the band you toured with this time is basically a constellation of Roxette, was that a coincidence?
This band is a splendid mix of Roxette and the "En händig man" people. I love them all dearly. On the stage, in the dressing room, in the bar. Can't wait to hit the road with them again.
LONDON (Updated) - No longer just the dream of die-hard fans around the world who will surely feel their prayers for Marie's recovery were answered: Roxette are back!
The Daily Roxette has learned that Marie Fredriksson will be joining Per Gessle on stage at the “Party Crasher” concert in Amsterdam on Wednesday. For several days now, fans have told TDR that people affiliated with the tour have told them to expect a “surprise” at that concert. Since Per has already said he expected Marie might join him on stage for one or two of his tour dates, fans who heard about this upcoming surprise immediately surmised that it meant that Marie would be making an appearance. This indeed will be the case.
There, in Amsterdam, in front of one of the largest expected audiences on this tour… fans in attendance will be able to witness first-hand the long awaited, highly anticipated return of Roxette to the stage when Per proudly announces he has a special guest.
But the real evidence of Roxette's return is that tomorrow afternoon shortly after 5 pm, at an official Night of the Proms press conference in Belgium, they will announce that Marie has recovered from the illness that forced them to cancel their scheduled appearance in 2002. Seven years later, Roxette will finally make good on that previous commitment and perform at this year’s series of concerts to be held in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands beginning at the end of October and running through December.
Per told The Daily Roxette yesterday that "Party Crasher" ia now slated for release in the UK. The label releasing the album is not EMI/Capitol, but Sony! Release date is set for June 15. Per, who along with his management has been working on getting such a record deal for some time, is obviously quite happy about it, saying "Miracles do happen!" The Party Crasher tour hits London this Monday, May 4.
Meanwhile, TDR correspondent Steffen Hung conducted an interview with Per on behalf of HitParade.ch (and sister site HitParad.se) at the venue in Zurich, Switzerland the other night. (Also available in German.) Per says he's "just having a blast" and that "this is one of the most rewarding tours I've done," despite the fact that "it's the only tour where I'm losing money."
Per also talks about his future plans, and once again says he "thinks there will be more Roxette." "I think we can still do some more records and events together. I look forward to that if it happens."
(Updated) - Per and the gang are having a blast rehearsing. "7Twenty7 has never been this loud!" Check out gessle.com for more photos.
Per is also asking for songs to play:
Hey you gals & guys out there. I'm in the middle of rehearsals and having a blast trying out songs I haven't played live before!! Just for the fun of it, would you mind requesting a couple of tracks you want us to perform? 3 per person would be great! I won't promise we'll play your favorites but you'll never know. The band is certainly in a good mood and we all look forward to this trip!!!!Thanks so much for your participation.Lots of luv from Mr Gee & The Heavy Metal Kids