Hamburg: Roxette (Director’s Cut)
Third concert of this tour, second concert attended by The Daily Roxette. One may think we’ve seen it all in Leipzig already but you better be ready for a surprise.
Everyone of us has a favourite movie, or even a few of them. You probably have a copy of it on DVD or BluRay at home, in case you feel like watching it again. Alright! Then, some time after the release, there’s suddenly a different version of your movie out: The Director’s Cut. Well, while the standard version had been slipstreamed in order to attract a bigger audience and to maximize the profit, the Director’s Cut is what the director (you guessed it, right?) of the movie initially intended to tell. It contains deleted scenes, different plots, even different endings. The Director’s Cut mostly comes in a shiny box, looking nice in your living room. And yes, it costs a bit more. Anyway. Why do I tell you this? Because it hit me like a flash when I saw the concert in Hamburg: This ongoing tour is the Director’s Cut of Roxette in the form it exists now. You still recognize the original, you know the melodies but everything else has been altered. New singers (we’ve talked about it), new arrangements, new instruments, songs that had never or rarely been played live before and a totally new self-esteem. Let’s go through this step by step.
Laeisz-Halle in Hamburg is now 110 years old and actually home to Hamburger Symphoniker, a classical orchestra. What you couldn’t see when you were at the Hamburg concert is the huge organ that was hidden by the stage. Roxette’s stage by the way is a modern set of lighting elements and video screens. Nothing that pokes into your eye but it fits the performance. To be honest, I’ve seen two concerts now and I still don’t know what the different stage scenes look like. Simply because there is so much going on on the stage itself. As you may expect for such a music hall, the concert was seated. At least for the first ten seconds because right after the music started, everyone jumped up. It all begins with The Look. A song the audience usually knows and recognizes and some begin to think that usually that’s the biggest hit so it should be at the finale and since it’s not, what else will be there?? While this confusion persists, it gets a bit calmer on stage, two ballads are played to make you feel safe again. By the way, I won’t detail the setlist here, it has been published in different places and will probably change sooner or later anyway, so you better not get used to it. Once you are a bit relaxed you’re being dragged through a couple of uptempo songs that make you forget that this man up there on stage could be your father (agewise I mean, forget all other options!). Then you get a mix of ballads and uptempo. Rollercoaster is what it describes best. It never gets boring, especially because the songs are performed in surprising ways. Violins and electrical guitars fit well together, you wouldn’t have thought that. Ola (who according to Per plays everything that has strings, including shoes) is changing his instrument constantly, so does Christoffer. Doesn’t Make Sense for instance literally rocks the house, you fear the windows shatter when Chris starts shaking erratically and turns into a rockstar, challenging the material to the limits while The Gals repeat the chorus again and again (and sometimes run out of new innovative choreographies while Christoffer seems to be stuck in a different dimension of this universe). But what really really shook the audience this time was the new rendition of Fading Like A Flower. How to say it? You better sit now. Get yourself some green tea. Tell me when you’re ready.
Fine. Here’s the news: Fading Like A Flower as it was performed in Hamburg (and hopefully will be from now on) is by far the best live version any form of Roxette has ever played. It’s my personal opinion, you may try to argue with me but I’m right.
During all the other tours I honestly had the feeling that when you’ve seen one concert then you basically know the whole tour. Yes, some songs got exchanged here and there, okay. Yet this year every single concert seems to have a different spirit, sometimes it’s warm, sometimes energetic. It’s because what the audience gets to hear is based on the mood of the band. Yes, they are professionals, they would play a perfect concert in front of an empty hall with no fans at all. This is not what I mean. The band, the singers, Per, they all interact with each other and the audience and it’s different every time again. This is how a certain positive vibe is being created that finds its output in the songs that are played. And because it’s all handmade music (remember, no click tracks) it all gets created as the result of what is happening in and around everyone involved. Too much spirituality, you say? You’re right. But if you have seen more than one concert, please tell me in the comments here or on Facebook if you share my impression.
Back to the Director’s Cut. You have to imagine this show as a presentation of Per’s life achievement. A lot of famous Roxette songs, some solo songs, even SOAP is there. I’m not sure if everyone in the audience is totally familiar with all the less famous songs but it doesn’t seem to matter. They have fun. Easy, all the tunes are quite likable, you know this. By the way, in a perfect world you would be able to buy a compilation of the songs being played later at the merchandise stand as a souvenir and pathfinder for Per’s huge back catalogue that is still to discover. You’re welcome, Roxette management. Between the songs, Per explains how the songs came alive, or rather he cracks some jokes with Magnus who now is not only bass player, synth player, singer but also standup comedian. When the songs are being played then, it looks like Per is moving more into the background than before, as if he’s supervising how his band performs his pieces. You can see that he cringes sometimes when a technical hickup occurs or someone plays a bit out of tune. Other times he stands at the side of the stage, back to the audience, to listen to Ola’s solos. You should watch this.
You find three videos of the Hamburg show on our Facebook page, they give you a pretty good impression of the performances and also the reaction of the audience. Oh, and you will notice that the red balloons are back. Also, Sven Lindström, Per’s friend and book writer, was in the audience.
Please enjoy the photos of the show underneath.