Unless you’re currently hiding under a rock (presumably gathering moss), you’ll no doubt be aware that Swedish supergroup Roxette is currently touring Australia, delivering their catalogue of hits to their always-responsive local audiences.
They kicked off their visit at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Tuesday night, so we sent along Daniel, our man on the ground in the Queensland capital and who was dressed… for success, to report back.
Since they taught us to listen to our hearts in the late 80s, and then let Richard and Julia know that it must have been love, Roxette (arguably Sweden’s most famous pop export not called ABBA) have carved out a pretty impressive career spanning four decades and a none-too-shabby 60 million album sales.
Neither the 90s grunge music wave nor a brain tumour for lead singer Marie have been able to dampen the band’s success; they’ve continued to record and tour internationally to crowds of adoring fans, all of whom remember a time when it was incredibly cool to love power ballads. I certainly do.
A surprisingly even mix of ladies and gents turned out in their thousands on Tuesday night in Brisbane for Roxette’s first Australian show on their current world tour.
It all kicked off in Auckland last week and will take in over 40 dates over the next six months. And for the most part, it was a glorious trip down memory lane.
Marie, though limited in movement due to the loss of sight in her right eye, has clearly never met a pair of leather pants she didn’t like. Per, ever the brains of the outfit, brought the funny and the stage presence that kept the many tipsy Gen Xers grooving with appropriate air grabbing gestures to boot.
Marie’s trademark power vocals remained generally in tact save for a few key moments when she opted out of her signature soaring key change. Often the crowd, in full splendid chorus, saved the day though this only added to the atmosphere of good old early nineties nostalgia.
Though the show kicked off with 1994 hit, ‘Sleeping In My Car‘, the first half of the set list comprised of relatively unknown album tracks and singles from more recent albums. Highlights, though, included an outstanding ‘True Blood’-style guitar solo to open ‘Crash! Boom! Bang!’, which my date instantly remarked gave a Byron Bay Bluesfest vibe.
‘How Do You Do?’ led the generally more well-known back half with everyone on their feet, though this was followed by an album track (‘7Twenty7’) off one of their least successful albums in Australia, which ultimately had everyone back in their seats.
This suggests they should perhaps research their audience on this world tour when putting set lists together. This reviewer’s all time favourite track, ‘Fading Like A Flower’, was absent altogether, which seems strange, given that it’s their fifth best charting tune in this country.
However, all little gripes aside, the night was always going to be about one moment in particular and boy did it deliver. The twelfth song of the night… ‘It Must Have Been Love‘. And I am crossing that straight off the bucket list. It wasn’t perfect but it was truly amazing. Goosebumps, hair standing up amazing.
It led the way for a near-flawless finale of mega hits – ‘Joyride’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Listen To Your Heart’ and a rousing rendition of 1989 smash ‘The Look’ to wrap things up and end the night on a massive high with all seven-ish thousand fans on their feet in full voice and rapturous applause.
While it wasn’t the very best concert I’ve ever been to, Roxette did leave me with an epic smile on my face, and after all, isn’t that the entire point?
Roxette’s Australian tour continues on Saturday night in Perth.
February 14 : Perth (Perth Arena)
February 17 : Adelaide (Entertainment Centre)
February 20 : Melbourne (Rod Laver Arena)
February 21 : Yarra Valley (Rochford Wines) * ADOTG
February 23 : Wollongong (WIN Entertainment Centre)
February 25 : Sydney (Opera House)
February 27 : Sydney (Qantas Credit Union Arena)
February 28 : Hunter Valley (Bimbadgen Wines) * ADOTG