Roxette is back! And back with much more bite than anyone expected after a break of several years and the serious health issues of singer Marie Fredriksson . For those who aren’t aware, Marie was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002. Following a successful operation, she took some time out from the limelight and hectic touring schedules of Roxette to regain her health and recover. Judging by her performance last night, she has done a remarkable job and has continued to work, despite her setback. While her condition has, as you would expect, slowed her down somewhat, she has not allowed it to become a barrier to her passion for performing.  And the energy of guitarist, Per Gessle, more than makes up for it. The chemistry between these two seems to have grown stronger over the years, probably reinforced by the difficulties they faced and it shines through on stage, inviting the audience to be a part of it.

There was no mucking around when the band walked on stage. Marie, dressed all in black, making just as svelte a figure as she did seventeen years ago. From the moment they kicked off their show with their mega hit ‘Dressed for Success’, you felt that they were making a bold announcement to the world and I believe, in a way, they were.  

Per announced that they would be introducing us to some new songs, from their most recent album, ‘Charm School’ but assured everyone that they would be hearing all their old favourites and, of course, there were many of them to choose from.  While the new songs, ‘Only When I Dream’ and ‘She’s Got Nothing On (But the Radio)’ were well received, it was definitely the hits that the crowd had come to hear and they weren’t disappointed. The band managed to squeeze in most of them! All those ballads that Roxette do so well like the beautiful ‘It Must Have Been Love’, made famous by the movie ‘Pretty Woman’, ‘Fading Like a Flower’ and ‘Perfect Day’ to name just a few.

And there was a hardly a song that the crowd wasn’t familiar with. On several occasions, the crowd took over the vocals,  word for word. It might have been a while between tours but it seems that no one has forgotten those beloved songs and the chance to sing along again was too much to resist.

But it’s not just ballads that Roxette are famous for. ‘Crash! Boom! Bang’, ‘How Do You Do’ and ‘Dangerous’ were all crowd favourites and set the mood for the closing song, introduced by an extended ‘Waltzing Matilda’ guitar solo by guitarist Christoffer Lindquist who strutted his stuff from one end of the stage to the other, before the band launched into the title track from their very popular ‘Joyride’ album, as inflated beach balls bounced into the audience.

When the band left the stage, the crowd at the Entertainment Centre wasn’t ready to let them go and after a few minutes of loud chanting and foot stomping from the fans, Roxette re- emerged to thrill the audience some more, starting off with the gentle ballad, ‘Spending My Time’ before turning up the volume and the speed with one of their biggest hits ‘The Look’.

Once more leaving the stage, they were lured back yet again by still more chanting from a crowd that was still not about to go home without hearing at least one more song. And their demands were met when the band returned with ‘Listen to Your Heart’. The finale, much to the delight of this writer, was a rather moving acoustic version of the very catchy tune from the Joyride album, ‘Church of Your Heart’, which seemed to sum up the supportive and enduring relationship between the two lead singers that allowed them to bounce back so successfully in the face of adversity to once more take their fans on a Joyride through the magic of their music.

by Sharyn Hamey

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