Roxette rocks Rio!

RIO DE JANERIO – Roxette rocked the Citibank Hall in Rio de Janerio this evening, playing to a full house of somewhere near 10,000 people.

The venue is in a rather unique, almost strange location, taking up the entire basement level inside the Villa Parque shopping mall in an area on the north side of Rio called Barra da Tijuca. The main “standing room” floor, divided into two sections (with a higher ticket price for the front section), was built on a slope with large, deep steps, and was not completly flat as in the more club-like venues. This allowed even those in the back to still have decent sightlines to the stage. On either side of the main floor, there were VIP boxes where some guests were drinking champagne, and there was also seating in the balcony. 

The crew was still busy making final adjustments to equipment and lights at 10 pm when Roxette was scheduled to take the stage. Things got started about 15 minutes later. 

Marie delivered an especially good performance on “Wish I Could Fly,” but the cue to the follow spot operator seemed to be slightly off, with Marie ending up in the dark a little too soon.

The back and forth duet between Per and Marie on “Only When I Dream” made this reporter think that there really isn´t enough said about Per´s vocal abilities, as the focus of most reviews in the press is so often on Marie.  Per really does have a great voice, and his part in this song tonight was a perfect example.

This article continues! Click on “Read more” under the video to read the complete review.

Spending My Time” (fancam) | “The Look” (fancam) | “How Do You Do/Dangerous” (fancam) | “Dressed for Success” (fancam) | “It Must Have Been Love” (fancam) | Marie leaving for the concert (fancam)

“She´s Got Nothing On (But the Radio)” ends with Christoffer Lundquist playing the last notes in an exagerrated way while on the other side of the stage, Magnus has some fun making silly faces to the fans in the first few rows in front of him.

“Perfect Day” was indeed perfect, with Marie´s voice in top form. Once again however, the spotlight on Marie was cut off a few seconds too early.

It should be mentioned that the lighting designer has done a really superb job on this show. With no other real stagecraft used for this tour (i.e., there´s no pryotechnics, no on-stage video screen, no ramped stage), the theatrical lighting is left to carry the weight of making the show seem like a “big deal” real rock concert, and that task is accomplished at each performance. The show really does look great!

Per introduces “It Must Have Been Love” by explaining that “the next song started as a Christmas song. It ended up in Hollywood.” This crowd sang really well… not only with strong voices in perfect pitch, but with a great deal of enthusiasm.  Even a nearby vendor couldn´t help but sing along as he poured a can of beer into a plastic glass. At the song´s conclusion, as the audience has already started to applaud and cheer, Maries adds a final “It must have been… love.”

Somewhere along the way, a fan has thrown a Brazilian flag up onto the stage and Per holds it up to wild cheers, then gives it to Marie who puts it on her shoulder for a short time. Now it´s been draped over a piece of equipment, where it remains on display for the rest of the show.

The band had fun playing “Opportunity Nox,” with Helena Josefsson at one point crossing over close to Magnus Börjeson, and later Magnus leaving his position to go all the way over across the stage to share Helena´s microphone. 

Per asks the crowd, “Are you still hanging in there?”  Of course they roar what could only be interpreted as “yes,” and Per and the band take off with “7twenty7”.  There was a time years ago when many of Roxette´s fans were (well, at least some of the more vocal ones) were clamoring for the group to bring back the sound of real guitars.  Well, without question, this is the “rockiest” Roxette has ever been, and you can hear that clearly in this song. Between Per, Clarence and Magnus, there´s a lot of musical energy coming from those guitars on stage.  A photographer from the local media that TDR had met prior to the show, said to this reporter afterwards, “Wow… I had no idea they would sound so much like a rock band, and not just a pop band.”  Per said “Obrigado” (thank you) after the all the applause and shouting at the end of the song, and of course the crowd loved that he spoke a bit of Portugese. 

Marie´s rendition of “Fading Like a Flower” was again amazing, ending with a crystal clear, spot on “I´m fading like a rose…”

“Stars” appeared on the set list again, and everyone has learned their part well enough on this now so that it comes across with a lot of power and energy.  Per had told TDR that this song would become “a monster,” and true to his word, it´s reached that status now. And even though it´s loud and splashy, the arrangement is still full of nuances and tight harmonies.

Unlike the performance in São Paulo, where the in-house video crew, supplying the feed to the large video screens on both sides of the stage, used overlapping images from two cameras to create a split-screen effect that looked amateurish, the crew in Rio steered away from special effects and concentrated on nicely timed cuts from one camera to another. It was so well done, that it seemed there had been a tech rehearsal (which of course, there had not). During “How Do You Do?”, when the house lights were up to encourage the audience to sing along, the director had one of the cameramen pan along almost the entire front row of fans.  

During the introduction of the band, everyone took their turn in the spotlight. Magnus, who our readers may understand by now has a great sense of humor, struck a “guitar hero” pose after a little back-and-forth banter with Per.  Christoffer pleased the crowd by playing a heavy version of “Garota de Ipanema” (The Girl from Ipanema), the famous bossa nova tune written by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

“Joyride” seemed rockier than ever, and with fans releasing balloons in the air, it´s perhaps the must fun song in the entire show.  Per in one spot tonight played the role of choir director, moving his hand up and down an invisible music staff to lead the audience in singing along.

There was an anxious moment during the first encore set, just before the band was to play “Spending My Time”.  Marie looked out at the audience, waved her hand in front of her face, and complained “It´s hot in here.”  Then she turned to Per and he understood she needed help. He mouthed the opening lyrics to her and that was all the assistance she needed. The song began and Marie was perfect from beginning to end.  Some of the audience started to clap along to the rhythm, and that quickly caught on and lasted for a little while.  The audience sing-along sounded louder than at other South American shows this reviewer has attended, and Per himself said “Unbeliveable!” when it ended.

And if “Joyride” was fun for the audience, the band had a lot of fun playing “The Look,” starting at the very beginning when Christoffer toyed with the audience while playing the opening notes.  Marie crossed the stage several times to play to both sides of the house, and at one point Christoffer and Helena had what almost seemed like a jumping contest, standing next to each other and taking turns jumping into the air.  Everyone in the band was going full-throttle and looked like they truely were enjoying themselves. It was great fun to watch, and the audience loved it! 

Pelle Alsing was all smiles as he sat down at the drum kit to start the second encore with “Way Out”.  Most of the audience seemed to be unfamiliar with the song (as evidenced by the lack of people singing along), but they sure did know the next one!  From the very first note of “Listen to Your Heart,” everyone in the audience, even those in the VIP boxes and balcony, were up on their feet and singing along, with some couples on towards the sides even finding the space to dance together.  Lots and lots of couples all around where this reporter was standing used the song as an excuse to make out, which we had seen on only a limited basis before… well, it is Rio after all.

But about two-thirds into the song, there was a major technical malfuntion with the audio.  A loud but short crackling sound was heard throughout the hall, and just after that, you could see Marie was in trouble. She pulled one of her earpieces out, looked over at the audio booth just off stage right, and signaled to them that she could not hear.   The crackling sound was heard once again, but the band continued playing and Marie, who obviously knows this song well, continued to sing, and sing perfectly… even without the earpieces!

At one point during the song, Per crossed over to to where Christoffer was standing, and rested his arm on his shoulder for a few moments.  Many fans here in South America that The Daily Roxette has spoken with over the last two weeks who have seen the members of Roxette both on and off stage have remarked about how they all seem to truly like each other, and how to a certain extent, they seem like one big family.  There is a chemistry between Per and Marie, of course… the fact that they are friends in “real life” as well is evident. But this friendship between everyone else as well that we´ve seen displayed in Per´s for a long time now in Per´s backstage videos… it carries over onto the stage, and the show clearly benefits from that.

As mentioned, Marie didn´t let the audio problem faze her, and she continued on singing with full confidence.  She even signaled for the audience to quiet down by holding her finger to her mouth, and closed the song in her classic signature style.

“Thank you Rio,” Per shouts… and the show closes with “Church of Your Heart”.


The opening act was a group named Rajar

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” 
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!” [Fans apparently can´t wait, and release balloons early.]
15. “Dangerous”
Band presentation
16. “Joyride” [More ballons… most of them are blue and yellow, the colors of the Swedish flag.]

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”

Interestingly, there was a big black Cadillac parked right outside the Caesar Park hotel in Ipanema most of the day today. It was a vintage, classic model, complete with white sidewall tires. The license plates were from Belo Horizonte, the next stop on the tour. Roxette will play the Chevrolet Hall there tomorrow night (Sunday, April 17).


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

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  ★ Publishing date:

April 17th, 2011

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