It seems like just yesterday that Roxette made their way around the world on their 2011/2012 world tour, dubbed the Neverending Tour, but to the delight of the millions of fans around the world, the Swedish power pair and their exuberant band have decided to make the rounds again, this time to celebrate the iconic twosomes 30th Anniversary.
Roxette have made a very powerful journey back to the forefront of pop music over these past few years. The band’s time in the sun is far from setting and they have proven this by an incredible start to their latest world tour, titled XXX: The 30th Anniversary Tour which has been touching down throughout Australasia over the past couple of weeks.
The tour started toward the end of last year in Russia, with a break over the Christmas period. The shows restarted at the beginning of February in Auckland, New Zealand, a location that the band had never played despite being close to playing back in 2012 but had to cancel at the last minute due to Per becoming ill. The New Year brought with it a much more developed and technical stage design than we have seen from the band for some time as well as a revamped set list that includes a handful of surprises for the bands more avid followers, the Roxers.
The band have been in Australia for the past couple of weeks, stopping at most major cities around the country including the Opera House in Sydney and a pair of winery shows as part of the annual A Day On The Green concert series and we went along to the bands performance in the stunning surroundings of Bimbadgen Winery in NSW’s Hunter Valley to see the band as they bid farewell to Australian fans during their final concert down under.
As the sun set over the valley, the playlist faded, the strum of an electric guitar reverberated and as the crowd sipped on glasses of wine and enjoyed the picturesque backdrop of the Hunter Valleys beautiful Bimbadgen Winery and its rolling hills, Marie Fredriksson, Per Gessle and their energetic band poised themselves for a hit filled joyride through one of the most iconic catalogues in pop music as they emerged to greet their fans at a little after 8pm, wasting no time at all as they lept straight into the set with the storming Sleeping In My Car and The Big L.
Throughout the set the band were encouraging the crowd to get involved in the action whether it be clapping along to performances of Dressed For Success and The Look or helping sing some of the bands most famous singles like It Must Have Been Love and their exceptional delivery of Spending My Time with Marie directing her microphone out to the crowd as the fans sang back two of the band signature hits.
Though Marie appeared frail as she was helped to and from her seat by their trusty tour manager, the iconic front-woman with her famous peroxided hair was on top form as he tore through some of the biggest and more successful ballads and pop hits from the 80’s and 90’s while band member Per led the charge when it came to storytelling and chatting with the audience, drawing laughs from the crowd when pointing out bass player Magnus Börjeson’s many talents including being a computer wizard and his noteworthy dance moves.
While the band made playing some of their most vibrant up-tempo nuggets like the colourful Joyride, the infectious Dangerous and The Look appear to a breeze, it was the power ballads that really shone within the set list as Marie dominated the stage with charisma and vulnerability. It Must Have Been Love and an early offering of Spending My Time provided fans with an opportunity to sing to the band as the whole crowd rose to their feet to sing the iconic heartbreaking chorus’ of the hits while Crash! Boom! Bang!, Fading Like A Flower and the bands encore performance of Listen To Your Heart injected a further dose of perfection to an already exquisite, hit-filled set.
Marie’s performance of Watercolours in the Rain with backing vocalist Dea on piano was a highlight in the middle of the set while a closing chorus of Paint from 1988’s Look Sharp offered the more dedicated Roxette fans another nostalgic rarity.
How Do You Do was electric as lyrics were cast on the giant screen set up behind the band and this time around the track was detached from Dangerous as we heard on the previous world tour and offered the crowed a reminder of the duo’s importance and place in pop music’s history books.
The Roxette band is certainly one of the very best in the business and thankfully it has remained unchanged for some time. Dea was superb with her backing vocal delivery and acted as a supportive pillar to Marie through some of the more challenging numbers; the bands long-time producer Clarence Öfwerman propelled the hits with his piano and keyboard skills; Pelle Alsing was a absolute machine on drums; funny man Magnus Börjeson was chirpy and looked every bit, as Per put it, the ‘Swedish Volvo driving Viking’ as he mastered his bass guitar duties and the legendary Professor Christoffer Lundquist tore through some of the nights most impressive guitar moments as he led the way on his instrument.
The strength and unity of the band is so evidently strong with band members helping Marie through several numbers when she appeared to struggle but this is Marie Fredriksson were talking about here; she may stumble from time to time on the lyrics but she’s right back up on that horse and belting out the classics as soon as she has found her way and all the while with a smile on her face and adoration for her fans and her band gleaming from her eyes.
Over the years I have been to close about 15 of the bands performances and have held out for hearing some of the lesser played numbers from within the bands catalogue and on this tour, my hopes for hearing one in particular was met when the band introduced Crush On You to the tours set list following strong encouragement in the months leading up to the tour by the bands fan-base. The inclusion went down a real treat to the Roxers in the crowd who have long considered the track to be the highlight of the 1999 techno-pop studio release, Have A Nice Day and as Per churned out the number with lyrical precision, Marie belted out the infectious chorus of the song with confidence and attitude.
Greeting each song with a cheer as they held a glass (or bottle in most cases) of wine in one hand and camera phone in the other so that they could capture a moment of pop bliss to share with friends after the show, some fans had come for the nostalgia; some had come for an introduction to a legendary pop act and others had come to see their idols dominate the stage and everyone left with a memory that will last a lifetime!
Yet again Roxette came and they truly conquered!
Sleeping in My Car
The Big L.
Spending My Time
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Crush on You
She’s Got Nothing On (But the Radio)
Watercolours in the Rain / Paint
Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)
How Do You Do!
It Must Have Been Love
Dressed for Success
Listen to Your Heart
Check out our photos from the day below (all photos by Robert Lee for RenownedForSound.com)