Porto Alegre loves Roxette, and Roxette returns the affection

PORTO ALEGRE – When Roxette was last on a full-scale world tour, Per singled out Porto Alegre as one of his favorite concerts. After what this reporter observed and experienced last night, it´s not difficult to understand why, as last night´s concert here at Pepsi On Stage was truly remarkable as well.

When the girl from the opening act, Claus & Vanessa, mentioned Roxette at the end of their performance, the crowd started shouting “Roxette… Roxette…” and that chant went on for a very, very long time before it finally died out as people decided to save their vocal chords for when Roxette actually took the stage.

And when that happened – when on the darkend stage the band,  and then Per and Marie took their places – the roar from the crowd was thunderous… due in part. we súspect, to the acoustics of the venue.  Directly facing the stage, there was a bannner hanging from the mezzanine in front of the Super Trouper follow spotlights that read “Porto Alegre (heart) Roxette.”  The crowd, mostly standing on the main floor, and packed all the way to the back as this was a sold-out performance, showed with their enthusiastic screams that this was true. It sounded like Times Square at midnight on New Year´s Eve. 

Marie turned in another incredible perfomance with her “Perfect Day” solo. When Per returns after wiping some of the sweat off his face backstage while Marie was singing, he acknowledges her sold perfomance to the crowd and calls her “Miss Marie.”

This reporter has never seen the fans in the rows closest to center stage more organized. The first evidence of this was during “The Big L.,” when dozens of red hearts appeared over their heads, held up on sticks, and continued throughout the concert. There were silver stars on these long sticks for “Stars,” several dozen roses thown up and onto the stage for “Fading Like a “Flower,”  multi-color confetti tosed in the air for “Dangerous,” and ballons (of course) accompanied by soap bubbles for “Joyride.”  All this activity was organized by fans involved with the long-running site, which functions as the de facto fan club in Brazil. 

On each side of the stage, a large video screen helped the audience get a close-up view of what was going on onstage.  In addtion, there were also flatscreen monitors on the walls of the mezzanine near the concession stands and in the back of the main floor as well. The one cameraman did an amazing job of following the action. For example, following Marie when she crossed the stage to be with backup singer Helena Josefsson during “727,” and focusing on Christoffer Lundquist and Clarence Öfwerman during their various solos.

Towards the end of “Fading Like A Flower,” Marie bends down to pick up one of the roses that had been tossed onto the stage at the beginning of the song, and holds it by her side unnoticed. Then, as the song reaches it´s final moments – like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat – she holds the rose aloft above her head while and sings the final lyrics.  It was a magical moment indeed.

The performance of “Stars” has, as Per thought it would in our interview with him, become much more polished now that the entire band has become familiar with this arrangement.  It is a crowd pleaser,  and the audience sang along the entire trime. In between this and the next song, Per tells the crowd “It´s kinda sweaty tonight,” as he wipes the sweat from his brow. He adds, “You sound terrific by the way,” and the crowd cheers the compliment.

When Per introduces the band members, he always ends with Christoffer, who´s been having fun coming up with something unique to play for each show that will appeal to the local crowd. Perhaps nowhere else in Brazil are the residents as proud of their state as those who live in Rio Grande do Sul. So unlike other perfomances, it didn´t take the crowd very long at all to recognize that Christoffer had begun to play the state song. That recognition was met with a huge roar of approval…  and suddenly, everyone was singing this anthem out loud,  Per had a huge smile on his face, and seemed delighted with the whole thing.

In fact, one thing this reporter noted about this entire show was how genuinely happy both Per and Marie appeared to be last night.  Per looked especially relaxed, smiling more often than previously, and looking at times like being on stage in front of a crowd was all new to him… and he was going to enjoy every minute of it.

Of note during the encores… The audience sings along for the entire duration of “Spending My Time.” Hands with fingers pointed pump the air in unison during “The Look,” almost as if a music video director/choreographer had rehearsed this particular gesture with the audience in advance.  During “Listen to Your Heart,” Per and Helena join Christoffer during the guitar solo part. Marie is really solid, and nails the freestyle ending. 

All in all, the concert was a huge success.  When the band took it´s final bows, it was pretty easy to see that everyone in the band felt this way as well. 

Fancam | “It Must Have Been Love” (fancam) | “Fading Like a Flower” (fancam)


SET LIST (with some additional reporter’s notes)
1. “Dressed for Success”
2. “Sleeping In My Car”
3. “The Big L.”
4. “Wish I Could Fly”
5. “Only When I Dream”
6. “She’s Got Nothing On (But the Radio)”
7. “Perfect Day” [Marie’s solo on this tour]
8. “Things Will Never Be the Same” [Per is again brilliant on acoustic guitar]
9. “It Must Have Been Love”
10. “Opportunity Nox”
11. “7twenty7”
12. “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)”
13. “Stars”
14. “How Do You Do!” [ends with an immediate seque-type transition to next song]
15. “Dangerous”
Band presentation
16. “Joyride”

17. “Watercolours in the Rain”
18. “Spending my Time”
19. “The Look”

Second Encore
20. “Way Out”
21. “Listen to Your Heart”
22. “Church of Your Heart” [Audience loves it when Per starts playing harmonica]

The tour continues on April 14 when Roxette plays the Credicard Hall in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This article was written for an earlier version of The Daily Roxette.
Technical errors may occur.

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April 13th, 2011

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