Sjöhistoriska: It’s where the water flows…
STOCKHOLM – “Shattered by rain”, Marie sang during Roxette’s epic ballad “Crash! Boom! Bang!”, while the drops were dancing wildly in the glow of the stage lights. In fact, the heavy rain did not destroy anything that night.
Considering the intensity and long duration of the showers, it was not a matter of course that everything went smoothly at all. The weather was definitely the fifth player in the game, besides artists, audience, equipment and setting. Since three o’clock in the afternoon it had been pouring cats and dogs and the rainfall was not expected to decrease in the next couple of hours.
We, the fans, got pretty much entertained already while waiting on the concert ground, as a lot of things were going on on stage. Watching some staff members relentlessly trying to wipe the water off the entire stage while the rain kept falling down onto the front part of it heavily, we noticed how badly flooded the stage floor really was. After a while the crew and even representatives of the Roxette-Management came together up there, very obviously to discuss the situation. This shortly made us a bit nervous, but all they did in the end was replacing some gear further to the middle and rear part of the stage. Everybody involved in caring for the constructions, gear and instruments and in taking the right decisions deserves an extra applause for their work, and they were certainly my first kings and queens of rain that night.
One more time, Eskobar!
When the second kings of rain, the guys from Eskobar, entered the pond, also known as stage floor, an instant thought ran through my head: This is the last time I am seeing them live for a while. I quickly let the thought go in order to fully do what I wanted to do, that means to just celebrate this amazing band, sing along to their wonderful songs, dance, switch off my brain, watching Daniel, Frederik and Jocke playing, who seemed to have a lot of fun despite the unusual and certainly partly tricky circumstances, for example a slippery floor as well as wet instruments and electronic gear. A special surprise moment of their show was certainly the appearance of Dea as Daniel’s duet partner during “Someone New”. It sounded just beautiful and it was lovely to see that obviously the members of the two bands have found new buddies and friends in each other.
It’s just so heart-warming to realize to which impressive extent Eskobar has made new fans on this tour. Which is not surprising, of course, as it is undeniable that they are excellent musicians with an already vast catalog of great songs. I wrote it earlier already, in my report for the Zurich show, that it is the combination of excellent song-writing, Daniel’s fantastic voice and Frederik’s outstanding skills on several instruments which makes the perfect mix here.
Even if their music is very different to Roxette’s music, there are at least two aspects which I think the two bands have in common and thus fit together very well: First, the simplicity of the live shows. Of course Roxette, as a big and internationally famous band, has a stage production, but as (sometimes controversially) discussed many times before among Roxers, it is a comparatively lean and modest one. So, with both bands, it’s basically about the music, about presenting their great tunes, playing together and having a good time with the audience. The second aspect that they have in common is that both bands pretty much just do what they really want to do, especially nowadays. This authenticity comes across to the audience and certainly has a strong effect on an unconscious level. Quality and honesty always wins, I am convinced about that. As the package “Eskobar and Roxette” obviously works very well, I so much hope that Daniel, Frederik and Jocke can join Marie, Per and the band members as support act on the rest of their “XXX – The 30th Anniversary Tour”, if that is what they really want, too.
So there it was, this emotional moment towards the end of “On a Train”, their last song and when they left the stage. I felt happy, sad, thankful and helpless at the same time, even if I knew, also in those minutes, that we Roxers, we will all see them again. Until then, may the sweet anticipation and the music of their five, maybe soon six or even seven albums fill our fan-hearts.
What about the Roxette concert? Will they play the entire set or will they shorten it significantly, under these conditions? Will Per and Christoffer really run around the stage as usual on an flooded, probably slippery floor, or will they rather more or less keep the position at their microphone stands, for safety reasons? What about their guitars? I suppose they will get totally wet in case Per and Christoffer come to the front of the stage as often as they usually do. What about Marie? Will she be warm enough to feel comfortable in this far too cold summer night? These and similar questions and speculations arose among Roxers in the break between Eskobar and Roxette.
That night’s third bunch of kings and queens of rain could not have given clearer answers to these thoughts. Skipping “The Heart Shaped Sea”, as they often do it, Roxette played a full, highly energetic, wild, compelling show with no compromises and gave us the heavy Rox-load, as usual. Marie, Per and the entire band were in high spirits again, smiling, making fun, having fun. What in the world made us think they could let themselves restrict by such a thing like rain?? They rocked those waves as if there was no tomorrow, and yes, for some unknown reason I very much perceived them as a rock band, at least partly, more than I normally do, especially during “Crush On You”, which is anyway one of my absolute favorites in their concerts. Was it maybe the roughness of the weather which contributed to this sensation? I don’t know, but there was definitely an extra rock’n’roll edge to that show, for me.
Marie was brilliant, vocally, showed us her most beautiful smiles and was quite mobile despite the cold. Let me say a few words about Marie here, which of course only reflects my personal impression: Isn’t it amazing how her condition seems to have improved again during this European tour, in all respects which are noticeable from our very limited outside point of view? She simply does not stop to impress me on the highest level imaginable. Having seen her perform on my last few shows was pure pleasure for me. There were no worries on my side and not that strange kind of pitiful feeling which sometimes can arise, there was just joy. Of course she has better and worse days. It belongs to the entire story and situation. Everybody knows it, and to those who still don’t we can keep explaining it, in accordance with the highly simplified knowledge we have about it. In my humble opinion it is absolutely amazing, beyond belief, that Marie is doing all this, against her internal and also external odds. Every day, she proves that she is not only a fighter but also a free spirit and rebel, not caring too much about what might be the conventional belief of at least one part of the public.
The infernal guitar-duo Per and Christoffer exposed themselves and their instruments to the rainy conditions at the front part of the stage many times. As the athlete that he is, Per obviously adapted quickly to the slippery ground and kept moving in the way he usually does. One of the aspects about Per which fascinates me the most is his consistency. Of course for us dedicated Roxers who stand in the first rows at many concerts very subtle differences in the way he communicates with the audience or in his moves are noticeable from show to show, but generally speaking I guess it is safe to say that it seems that this man knows no such thing as form on the day. Especially his unique, distinctive voice which is so loved by us fans, seems to have always the very same quality. It can almost appear a bit superhuman, sometimes.
Certainly minor adjustments had to be made because of the rain, which I, personally, in the overall experience, don’t find very interesting to talk about. More interesting for me is the question on how unpleasant weather can affect the general vibe of a show. Probably you will never find that sort of totally cooking, wild party-mood at a concert with such rough weather conditions. But another kind of magic thing can happen in such cases and certainly it did happen that night: A wonderful connection between bands and audience can build up, as there is a feeling of “We’re all in the same boat”, an idiom which literally sounds kind of fitting in this case, and furthermore, as a consequence, also the feeling of “Hey, no matter what, let’s do this, let’s party!” There was for example the water that collected on top of the stage roof and repeatedly splashed down like a waterfall, either direction front part of the stage or direction first rows, depending on the winds. Unusual events are interesting and often bring an unexpected amount of great fun. Thank you, rain, our friend!
I am deeply impressed by the level of professionalism of all involved crew members, responsible people and of course of the brave artists on stage who were smiling and in best spirits all night long while the sky was crying an ocean. Every concert experience is special and unique, as you can never repeat things anyway in life, but with no doubt some concert experiences are a bit more special and unique than others, and this one certainly belongs to them.