Marie & Per’s Flying Circus in Poland – a rather unusual concert review

  • Roxette in Gdansk, 2012

GDANSK – It must be funny for the Poles to listen to Swedish people talking. The Swedish “Please” sounds like they praise Poland’s capital (“Warsaw good”) [varsågod] while the Swedish “Thank you” [tack] has the same sound as the Polish “yes”. And when you start about “The Night Of The Proms”, people stare at you and ask what kind of ships that were. Well, anyway…

So, where to start? First of all, the concert in Gdansk/Sopot was the first one since a long time that this reporter entered as part of the normal queue. No photo pass this time, no press entrance, no waiting backstage, no Meet & Greet, you almost feel like you go undercover. And yes, you see things you normally (well, what is normal in a TDR member’s life??) wouldn’t see. There’s the guard who instructs people not to take cameras into the venue. Later, we will find out that at least half of the audience has successfully ignored him. There is this group of 5-6 people sitting on the floor in pole position (you’re getting the joke, right?) directly at the entrance playing one Roxette song after another on the guitar. Shortly before the gates open, one of the guys suddenly jumps up, runs to his car in order to hide his instrument and is back in less than a minute. Then, there are all those fans with their self made fan shirts. Fun to see! What else? You see the usual faces at the very start of the early entrance queue. First the Germans (…how?), then the Polish fan club, not as many as in Warsaw the summer before, well, it’s the middle of the week and having a job is still an excuse that counts. Some Polish girls pass around their mobile phones, they are proud to have met the band at the airport just a few moments ago. And they will go back there right after the concert, just to take the same photos, only with everyone involved being slightly more tired. Somewhen, the gates are opening.

Let’s skip those two hours that include passing three security checks without actually getting checked, watching the concert hall filling up slowly, surviving (and I really mean it!) that awful support act and watching Roxette’s most famous best boy, Micke N-S, preparing the last details on the stage. By the way, if you have ever wondered what’s in these black bottles Per drinks during the concert: it’s water. Plain and simple. It’s really worth watching Micke doing his job, he works precisely as clockwork. He takes the black covers off the instruments, folds them carefully and still you have the feeling he’s not wasting any second. Then he comes back with a cell phone in his hands and the people know what this means: the daily panorama. To be seen on Roxette’s official Facebook page. Come on, tell me any band whose stage technician makes the audience cheer that easily. If the unlucky support act had gotten 10 % of this attention, he (she?) would stop crying instantly.

The soundtrack personally assembled by Gessle that has been playing meanwhile fades out, my favoríte x-mas dwarf appears out of nothing and positions himself directly opposite to me (for those new to this wonderful magazine, there is a prequel to this part of the story) and while I’m still wondering if this is pure coincidence, the show begins.

For the first time ever, I hear “Dressed for Success” live!  Don’t get me wrong, Roxette has played this as an opener since the very beginning of this tour and this is certainly not my first concert. But it’s a little bit different when you normally have 4 pounds of camera stuff hanging around your neck, fighting with the local paparazzi for the best place in front of the stage, running from one edge to another, trying to capture one of Per’s wild moves or an especially emotional face of Marie. You simply don’t hear the music; it’s a job. They give you as long as three songs to fill your camera with the photos you need. For your information, there is a reason why there is a small gap in the show after the third song. It’s the time when they kick us photographers out of the press pit (and if you’re unlucky – out of the venue). Dear reader, you have inside knowledge now. Impress your friends at the next concert!

Roxette is one of those acts that stand out of today’s music industry. They play live. The songs sound different than on your CD at home. Be glad that for a lot of money, they don’t play the same track you know already only louder. The arrangements differ, sometimes even from show to show. Per and Marie, even Magnus, Christoffer, Clarence, Pelle and Dea actually do sing for you! Live! For you! They not just move their lips. Can be that at some point, some lyrics get lost. No matter, it will be your turn to help them out. I’m not even sure if they do that missing lyrics trick on purpose just to challenge you a bit. Anyway, it will make you feel being part of the show. Per is coming to the very front of the stage, conducting first the left, then the right half of the venue. Marie stands there and smiles back at you. That’s what we want to see. We don’t need rope stunts, fireworks, dancing girls. No, Roxette fans got style! They know what a good performance really consists of: good, honest entertainment, nice surprises and great music. Enjoy each single song, the band very obviously does too! They will tell you a little bit about the one and only Swedish sex machine on stage. They will jump around like kids getting an ice cream. They will make you bang your head to one of Christoffer’s infamous guitar solos. They will make you wave your hands to slow songs and stomp your feet to uptempo songs.  It’s a show, but it’s a show just for you. It’s pretty rare these days, so take your chance!

Just go there and enjoy “Marie & Per’s Flying Circus”. It’s unforeseeable, it’s funny and it’s unique.  

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

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July 31st, 2012

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