[EDITOR'S NOTE: Make sure you click on the jump to read Paul's exclusive interview with Per and a particularly well-written comment from Tholmes1138. Note also the addition of a link to a reader's full account of the show.]
LONDON – After a long 17 year wait, Roxette finally brought their epic World Tour to the UK last night. Wembley Arena was packed to the rafters with about 12,000 fans who, in this reporters opinion, were full of energy and sang along to all of the songs.
The setlist was, as expected, identical to previous concerts in the re-launched tour (minus "Soul Deep" within "......Radio") and both Per and Marie were in top shape, so we won't cover much on the actual show. However, Chris did an amazing, frenzied version of "God Save The Queen" as the "Joyride" intro.
For a more complete report and review, Brandon Veevers, one of our readers who won a slot at the Meet & Greet, filed this report afterwards for a UK entertainment site.
The Meet and Greet, organised through this newspaper in conjunction with d&d Management and Live Nation, was a great success. The fans that were lucky enough to win our contest were each able to have one item signed by Marie and Per. One such item was a rare blue vinyl edition of Marie's "Ännu doftar kärlek." Marie was clearly very surprised when she saw this!
The Daily Roxette also managed to grab some time with Per for an interview and to answer some questions put to him by you, the readers of TDR!
Photos of the show and Meet & Greet to follow...
(Click read more for the exclusive pre-show interview with Per.)
TDR: Hi Per, and welcome back to London. What's it like to be back?
Per: Oh, it’s always great to be here. I come to London quite often for personal reasons. I have lots of friends here, love the galleries... the art world... plus the shopping is the best in the world together with New York City.
TDR: We got the readers of The Daily Roxette to email their burning questions about Roxette into us and we've got 20 of the best coming up later, but lets first get down to business. Charm School is getting a brand new re-release at the end of November. What's the reasoning behind releasing an album again so soon after the original release?
Per: EMI in Germany wanted something special for the Christmas season so I came up with this idea to “revisit” Charm School and include my original demos. I know that the Roxetteonistas all over the world love to hear them. I get so much feedback from Roxette Official on Facebook.
TDR: This tour has grown and grown since it was first announced this time last year. In terms of touring power, Roxette surely has never been bigger?
Per: Well, it looks like we could go on forever! The response have certainly been overwhelming. We’re gonna play for around 1.3 to 1.5 million people before it ends in October 2012... if it ends... so I guess you’re right. It will be the biggest Rox tour ever. Amazing, isn’t it! And sometimes we even get good reviews!!!
TDR: Ha ha!! How does that make you feel?!? Especially with Roxette being out of the limelight for 10 years. It seems like the world was ready to welcome you and Marie back!
Per: Yeah, we are really surprised. But we always knew that there are special powers in so many of our songs. Even in those years just after Marie got ill the Roxette airplay never really stopped. We’ve had so many hits all over the world for so many years. It’s the only fundamental platform that works if you want do this on this level. Not that many bands or artists have it. We’re very lucky.
TDR: There are many dates throughout 2012 that are still to be announced. Can you give any indication of when these dates will be released?
Per: As soon as possible. I’m sure most of them will be official before Christmas.
TDR: And will the dates include any countries, for instance the USA, that haven't been visited on this tour yet?
Per: Oh yea!
TDR: Who will replace Helena when she finishes the live shows at the end of the year? We're going to miss the crazy gold tights!
Per: Oh sweet Helena. We will certainly miss her. But we, of course, understand and respect her decision to take a break. The new girl will be Dea Norberg who is a great singer and person. She is, at the moment, in Las Vegas working with Cirque de Soleil. She’s having the lead part in their “Elvis”-extravaganza.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to view the video that launched her career. According to Dea herself, this video of her singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" took her from Sweden to Las Vegas (via Cirque de Soleil in Montreal).
TDR: 2012 does sound like its going to be a great year. The main recordings of Tourism II must be completed by now. Has the first single already been chosen?
Per: No, most of it is done but we still have two full weeks of recording left in the studio. Plus the mixing. We won’t decide on the single until the end of January.
TDR: On to the hot topic of a live DVD. Barcelona is rumoured to no longer be the concert that was going to be filmed for DVD. Is this the case?
Per: Oh, this have been changed so many times, I don’t even know the current state. I guess there will be a film crew in Spain. The documentary live DVD has been postponed a bit due to the neverending addition of concerts!
TDR: The inevitable question is, whilst Roxette is so big again at the moment, will we finally get to see a DVD release of any old Roxette live concert? You need to have words with EMI!
Per: Yea, or Universal! I’m sure it will happen before long.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Universai, subject to regulatory approval, has entered into an agreement to purchase EMI.]
TDR: Even though the end of the tour is still a year away, do you already have any plans for the future? Are we going to see a GT35 reunion in 2014?
Per: Who knows what the future will bring!
TDR: Let's move on now to the questions from fans...
1. From Mathew James, UK.
With the success of "It Must Have Been Love" in Pretty Woman, would you consider writing another song for a film soundtrack? Our reader has even suggested the new Bond film!
Per: Well, I’m open for anything. I’ve done an entire soundtrack to a film.
TDR: Which one?
Per: Sorry, can’t quite reveal that at this point, but it will be released internationally next year. It’s a very cool movie but not a mainstream one like Jimmy Bond.
2. From Tomasz Wysocki, Poland
What can you tell us about the rumoured upcoming documentary? Can you give us any information on what its about or when it will be released?
Per: Not really, like I said, it has been postponed a bit due to that the tour is getting longer and longer. It will be loads of everything of course; the history, the present, the future. The hairdo’s. Pelle’s beer belly. Stuff like that.
3. From Jiří Vlček, Czech Republic
What can you tell us about the sound of the new album?
Per: Well, we wanted it sound a bit like the Son of a Plumber album since that production fits a live band really well. You have to decide for yourself next year if we succeeded in our brave mission.
4. From Tomasz Druciarek
You have previously done tracks in other languages, is there any likelihood that you may do this again in the future?
Per: No, I think we’ll stick to English and Swedish. Maybe with the odd French dirty word.
5. From Ronald Wienand, South Africa
What can you tell us about the secret project you have mentioned in recent interviews?
Per: Well, it’s not really a secret anymore. I’ve done the soundtrack to a movie.
6. From Hernan Biava, Argentina
Apart from during Marie’s illness, has there ever been a time throughout both your careers with Roxette, that either of you have ever considered quitting?
Per: I don’t know about Marie but I will never quit. It doesn’t fit with my personality. On the contrary, I seem to work more and more the older I get. Since Marie got ill in 2002 I’ve released seven albums and I don’t even dare to count the number of live shows I’ve taken part of.
7. From Paul Edman, Sweden
Will we ever hear the whole demo of “Cilla 16 söt som socker”?
Per: Hope not. But then again, who knows. Maybe there will be a new GT-box in the future which desperately yearns for this song!
8. From Gábor Kaleti, Hungary
As far as we are aware, there are currently five Roxette tribute acts in the world. Have you ever heard any, and what do you think of them?
Per: Yea, I have heard a few. I think they sound great. Both Marie and myself are very flattered.
9. From Cristian Solera
You like to keep in touch with your fans through social network sites and new technology, but how do you think these would have defined Roxette and your careers if these had existed in the 80s and 90s?
Per: I’m sorry, but I don’t really understand this question. I’m slow today, haven’t had any coffee yet!
10. From Ricardo Sobreira, Brazil AND Yiannis Kaldanis
Has Marie contributed any music or lyrics for the forthcoming album or is she writing anything that you are aware of?
Per: I don’t know if she’s writing anymore. Maybe in Swedish. In Rox she’s pretty much left the writing up to me.
11. From Jaap de Vos, Netherlands
Do you receive many offers from other artists to work on collaborations, or is there another artist that you would like to work with?
Per: It happens from time to time through various publishing companies etc. But I never really have the time to jump on that wagon. I might do it in the future though. Could be fun. Or not.
12. From Dan Kroll, USA
Following on from “Heart of Gold,” “Hanging on the Telephone” and “I Never Loved a Man” etcetera, do you have any plans to do future cover versions during a live show?
Per: Well, we played “(I’m not your) Steppin’ Stone” last year but it felt more like PG Solo than Roxette. Right now we’re concentrating on what we’ve got and will most likely include some T2 songs in the spring. And maybe some other Rox favourites. It’s really up to Marie how she feels singing and remembering them.
13. From Rhiannon Grey, age 14 from UK
Is there any ambition or anything you would still like to achieve with Roxette in the future? My ambition is to be a famous rock star like you and Marie!
Per: Well, we are very lucky indeed to have this enormous following all over the world and we’re extremely grateful for that. It’s something you can never take for granted. Also, since Marie got ill I’ve learned to take it as it comes with Roxette. We don’t have any serious ambitions to conquer the American charts or anything like that anymore. We take it step-by-step and try to follow our gut feeling and enjoy ourselves... plus entertain our fans as much as we can. And good luck with your career. It’s a great job!
14. From Lina Johansson
Which song is most fun to perform in concert?
Per: Believe it or not but I enjoy all of them. If the sound is OK on stage, it’s an extra kick ass feeling to do 7Twenty7 and Opp Nox.
15. From Chrissie, Germany
You have been performing for 25 years as Roxette, do you find it easier now to perform or was it much easier at the start? Has much changed in this time?
Per: It’s much, much easier now. I’m older. I’m wiser. I’m in better shape physically and mentally. And I have the best band in the world standing by. I love to play with this bunch!!!
16. From Stevo Petkovic, Sydney
We don’t often hear from Marie in interviews nowadays, but can you tell us which songs she wanted to perform on this tour? What is her favourite song from Charm School?
Per: Marie doesn’t want to talk to media anymore for well-known reasons. She loves “No One Makes It On Her Own” and “Speak to Me” from Charm School. She wants us to play every single song we ever recorded, trust me. But we can’t since she’s having such a hard time remembering the lyrics. Her memory is not what it used to be. It’s something we have learned to live with.
17. From Lucy, UK
How do you feel when you see younger people at your current concerts, especially those that would be too young to remember Roxette’s heyday?
Per: It is, of course, very flattering. There seems to be a timeless appeal in what we do which is really cool.
18. From Kirsten Ohlwein, Germany
Are you aware of the similarities between Coldplay’s recent single “Paradise” and “Wish I Could Fly,” and what is your opinion on the similarity?
Per: It’s not that similar to my ears! I’m easy.
19. From Rob Steffania, Australia
Have you ever looked back at a song, some time later, and wished you had used different lyrics or arranged something differently?
Per: Yea, all the time. Especially with the productions. The songs can be arranged in so many different ways. Some productions don’t age that well.
20. From Lana Sachse from USA
Would you like to do an acoustic session again similar to that of MTV Unplugged or your Abbey Road session?
Per: Oh, we love those sessions. We’ve done a few recordings like that on T2.
TDR: Well, that's it for our questions this time around. Don’t leave it so long before you come back to the UK again please! Enjoy the show!
Per: Will do. And we’ll be back next year! Promise.