Gig Review – Roxette Takes Beijing on a Dreamy Joyride

about 17 years ago, Roxette came to Beijing as one of the first major foreign acts allowed in.. I think they were actually the 3rd big act after Jean Michel Jarre and Wham. I grew up with the swedish duo’s tunes and the songs are forever stuck in my brain! The Look, Joyride, Must Have Been Love.. It’s my generation!
Well, Monday night, a much older and more experienced Roxette showed up in Beijing supporting their new album, Charm School. This was the not something i ever expected to happen considering what Marie Fredriksson had to go through in the early 2000s with the brain tumor. Still, her and partner in crime Per Gessle are soldiering in.

The Mastercard Center didn’t really start filling up until late on Monday, probably due to good old Beijing traffic. Getting there early gave me an opportunity to take an extended look at the set and the facilities of the venue which I’ll get to some other day. at 8:10, on the dot, the lights were turned off and we were all ready to be taken on a journey back to earlier years!

This hardened metal loving freak has a soft spot for pop music that is well done and who does it better than the swedes? Considering the size of the country, they’re doing pretty well in terms of being represented on the world’s musical charts. Monday was further proof of that! The band mixed things up throwing in classics along with new material. The oldies like Dangerous, Joyride, Crash Boom Bang had the crowd singing along for most of them. The new tunes are actually not bad as far as the genre goes: She’s got nothing on but the radio sounded amazing live, much better than on the recording. The audience, about 6000 strong, went nuts for Fading Like a Flower more so than other songs. It’s actually one of their tunes that i wasn’t familiar with at all. The band did a good 10 songs before getting off stage and coming back for one hell of a 4 song encore that included The Look and Listen to Your Heart.

A couple of notes:
– I love the sound over at the Mastercard Center. I’ve seen Wang Fei, Cranberries and now Roxette there. They’ve all sounded amazing
– It seemed like Per was handling more than his fair share of vocals with Marie doing more harmonies and choruses. She didn’t sound off but her voice might not have been there 100%
– The guitar player had the audience screaming when he launched into a guitar solo of Yue Liang Dai Bie Wo De Xin… Cheesy but effective
– I admire veteran bands.. Roxette did basically what they wanted with the audience in terms of getting them to clap and sing along, even to new songs they might have never heard.
– There wasn’t really much fanfare in terms of effects or a production, just the usual lights and lasers.
– Despite the heavy promotion, the arena was half full! not sure if it was price related or the fact that the show was on a Monday!

Overall, a fantastic show for me, I love to see seasoned veterans at their craft. The band sounded tight, looked good, had the right moves and did everything right. Sure, I like my sleazy dirty rock n roll but every so often, I don’t mind letting loose on some good old fashioned disposable pop. Seriously though, if you’re a Roxette fan, get the latest record.. it sounds pretty darn good to me.

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  1. March 16, 2012

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