I’ve been lucky enough to see Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Europe, Marillion and many other bands whose musicianship and vocal talent is perfection. Sometimes I wish that I hadn’t.
I was on holiday with my parents in Richmond, North Yorkshire at the end of the 80s. I must have been about 12 and I had discovered radio. My parents had rented a little cottage just off the main square and every morning over breakfast the radio would be on. As they do, the radio station played many of the same songs from the current chart every day. One of them was The Look by Roxette. I loved it and the follow up, Dressed for Success. My friend at school had the album and another bought me the Joyride album when it came out a few years later. Then several years later I borrowed the third album from someone after a party. They’re a band I’ve always been into, even in their later, shamelessly even more poppy stages, and I’ve always wanted to see them.
I thought they’d split up until I saw them advertised at the NEC arena on my way into see Rammstein for the second time. I really wanted to go, but I didn’t get around to it until they announced their 30th Anniversary tour in 2014. I decided I was going and I’m glad I did.
I checked the set list before I went and I couldn’t have asked for it to be much better. Nearly all the hits (Almost Unreal was missing for some reason) and plenty from Joyride and Crash Boom Bang, so I was in for a treat!
The support band weren’t up to much, but did have a wonderfully clear sound. Roxette didn’t. With the exception of Per Gessle the band were appalling and I’m sorry to say that included Maria who sat for the entire gig. It appears she couldn’t stand, but I have no idea why and Per didn’t explain it. The instruments didn’t gel and the lead guitarist was all over the place. Roxette have some fantastic guitar solos and piano parts, but it all sounded a mess. The solo and big fat guitars of Listen to Your Heart, were just murdered. Perhaps I have just been spoilt by other bands.
Per however sang brilliantly and was the complete pop/rock star. Maria had moments of excellence, especially at the end of Crash Boom Bang, but there was no consistency and it was clearly a struggle for her. Maybe sitting down restricted her range.
All that said, I had an amazing time singing along to every song I knew (which was all of them). It’s done now, I’ve achieved another goal, but I won’t be going again.