Roxette at Manchester Arena, 4th July 2012

Before anyone starts, Roxette really do rock! They are most definately at the poppier (is that a real word?) end of the spectrum but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they fit right in with the bands we at Rock-Zone UK love to tell you about. Even more incredible to me is that, apart from a sell-out show in London last year, this is the first tour of the UK for 18 years.

Think you only know a few of their songs? Think again. Roxette are definately up there with Abba and Volvo in terms of Swedish exports and they had a string of massive hits world wide including The Look, Joyride, It Must Have Been Love and a whole load more. Per tells us very early in the set that they will play “yours and our favourite Roxette songs” just before they rip through their extensive back catalogue, you forget how many hits they had…just over 30!

The band launched into the set (with the thumping “Dressed for Success”) and their beaming smiles were matched by the very loving crowd. The Manchester fans took the ooportunity to sing along to all the favourites. These smiles just grew broader as the fans sang along with every word from Marie and Per. Even more fantastic was the fact that although it was a seated show the crowd were on their feet from the first notes. The sound quality was amazing and was perfectly suited to the perfectly crafted pop-rock of the opening three songs. Sure, the power ballads that made them world stars were to follow but their more uptempo songs always did it for me.

Hit after hit came our way and you wouldn’t believe some of these songs are 25 years old, especially as both Marie and Per seem to have discovered the secret of eternal youth. Perhaps the secret lies in the writing and performing of such catchy and memorable songs but also in the fact that they don’t just play note for note replicas of the original recordings – “Joyride”, for example, is played with just an acoustic guitar, making it a very personal rendition.    

Even the encore kept the crowd in rapturous delight (with conga lines of revellers dancing through the seats!)They don’t disappoint when they return and play us out with another classic sing along ballad “Listen to your Heart” and the more energetic “The Look” and by this time the crowd had risen to its feet and the arena felt even more alive (with conga lines of revellers dancing through the seats!) with beach balls being thrown into the crowd and bouncing around the floor area. 

Roxette’s music is definitely of its time and it was great to see them back doing exactly what they do best which is even more fantastic when you consider how Marie has fought through such a difficult and scary time 10 years ago.

Review and photography by David Wilson

Special thanks go to Fiona Swanson and Live Nation

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