Review: Roxette at The O2
Roxette at The O2 Dublin on July 9th 2012
This years purchase of a DeLorean to travel back in time repeatedly to see bands from the past, seems to have been my most inspired buy so far. I have been around Dublin and Ireland to catch the likes of Happy Monday, Steps, Backstreet Boys, Blink 182, Presidents of the USA, John Oates and at the tail of last year Duran Duran. Well and truly, 2012 has continually transported me back to my youth where 80s’ synth, chart pop and pop-punk, all played an equal part in sculpting the man who writes this piece.
Tonight I continued this trend by catching Roxette in The O2. Marie and Per played to an almost sold out venue and this might seem an unlikely achievement if you know that in 2002, Marie was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in the back of her head. She had difficulties reading, writing and counting, and is now blind in her right eye. How inspirational it is then to see her on stage, bashing out the hits with their freshly assembled band to an adoring crowd.
Marie keeps her movements limited and lets her band provide the energetic entertainment, opening with Dressed For Success and rattling through a combination of old and new including their latest single She’s Got Nothing On (But The Radio) and a cracking rendition of Spending My Time where the crowd echoes it back to Marie, word for word on the first verse. It Must Have Been Love is given a lovely acoustic intro where the entire arena is in full voice, forcing the hairs on your arm to stand on end before restarting the song in full band mode.
Tonight is an almost effortless display of gentle musical endeavor, with the volume at a lower level than recent gigs I’ve seen. Preferring to caress your ears with eighties goodness, than blast the crowd out of it. It is however the closing songs from the main set and the encore that step the show up a marked point. Fading Like A Flower helps the crowd find its voice, while How Do You Do into Dangerous providing a potent combo that got this mature crowd to their feet and dancing. Per introduces us to the bad including their blue Swede sex machine and lead guitar bashes out some Dirty Old Town which is akin to starting an ole – ole as the crowd takes over and sings the words back. Finishing their main set with Joyride was a perfect track to end with, but there was at least two smash hits everyone still needed to hear.
Announcing they couldn’t leave us without playing these, they crank the show up massively with Listen To Your Heart followed by The Look. The entire crowd on their feet dancing and singing in unison. One more song would play us out as Marie showed again her vocals are as strong as ever, finishing on Church Of Your Heart. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable gig from a band who played a huge part of my listening habits, both in my youth and occasionally on my current playlists. A pleasure to see live and an inspiration that despite her problems, Marie can still perform with the best of them – ten years after a cancer diagnosis. Rock on Roxette,The O2 will be here for you next time you visit, hopefully completely full next time.
Roxette at The O2 Photo Gallery
Photos by Aled Owen-Thomas