Roxette at 3Arena, Dublin, 1 June 2015
A darkened stage… a curtain is drawn, two figures emerge, one shakily leaning on the other. Marie Fredriksson, the lead female singer with Roxette makes her way to a seat in the middle of the stage accompanied by a stage hand who offers support. Followed in quick succession by Per Gessle, the other half of the eighties pop rock duo, and the rest of the musical entourage.
Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002, as a result of this and her subsequent treatment, her balance is impaired and she performs the entire concert from her seat. While Gessle and the rest of the group energetically entertain the masses around her.
It’s a concert of two halves; the first a rather timid affair. It opens with Sleeping in My Car and The Big L moving swiftly through some of their lesser known tracks such as Spending My Time, The Heart Shaped Sea and Crash! Boom! Bang! the title track from their 1994 album.
The second half is a nostalgic cheese-fest where even the coolest kid on the block is carried away by songs first heard on the radio twenty years ago. Power ballad follows upbeat pop song follows power ballad, and the audience laps up every minute of it.
From the pared down introduction and beautiful vocal of It Must Have Been Love to the encore of Listen to Your Heart and The Look, the night brought this reviewer right back to angst ridden teenage heartache and evenings spent singing and dancing around a bedroom listening to the Top 20!
Gessle is in great voice, looks ten years younger than his 56 years and adores being in front of this appreciative crowd. Fredriksson is sensational; her voice has a gorgeous timbre switching between her delicate head voice and her lower belt voice. Too often throughout the evening her voice is lost in the mix and simply cannot be heard, with her upper belt seemingly having disappeared. During her solo moments, there are elements of dodgy intonation which may indicate why her voice is a bit lower in the mix. But make no mistake, she is a sensation, and you cannot possibly take your eyes off of her. Her tiny frame swells and fills the stage as she commands the audience’s attention.
The duo take a final bow alone as Gessle becomes Fredriksson’s support and the two slowly exit the stage, a nearly thirty year partnership that’s seen its share of trials but shows no sign of slowing down.