Roxette return as Glasgow join the Joyride

Roxette: Still got The Look.
Roxette: Still got The Look.

With The Corrs playing in the background, and half of my seat shared with the occupant of the next, the only way was up, (whole different pop star, right decade), at Glasgow's SECC last night as I waited for 80s super-Swedes, Roxette.

The band who dominated the late 80s and early 90s were returning to Scotland for the first time in over twenty years, and stomped into the arena, Dressed For Success with all the enthusiasm and wide grins of their era, where the terms 'blue steel' and 'fierce' were yet to be coined in relation to onstage poise. Launching themselves aboard the time machine, fans was instantly on their feet at the all-seated show, wide-armed and singing along to their heroes.

Clearly delighted at being back in action, and backed by a five-piece band which included their producer, Clarence Ofwerman, time has been kind to Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, who have maintained a youthful exterior. Gessle, in particular, resembles a very neatly ironed Cliff Richard, the comparison further cemented by his particular style of pelvic thrusts.

Tackling their set with all the energy they've reserved from their time away from the live circuit, fans showed equal enthusiasm, singing along in greater volume than the band on occasion, whether they were shimmying to Sleeping in My Car, or participating in the power ballad punches of Spending My Time.

After serious illness in 2002, Fredriksson has made a brave and full recovery, and fronted the band with the confidence of her youth. Her characteristic vocal, however, was not as strong as it used to be, with a backing vocalist, at times, supporting her thinner voice.

Keeping a more stagnant onstage profile, much of the band's energy came from Gessle and their lead guitarist, who played with the enthusiasm, and facial expressions, of a professional air guitarist. Resembling something somewhere between a Muppet and a shaggy dog trying to find the last Rolo in a big bag, he had the crowd in hysterics, and threw in a Scotland The Brave guitar solo to ensure he was awarded that coveted 'Man Of The Band' title.

A mid-set lull saw fans chattering through a stripped back Perfect Day, though this allowed Fredriksson forgetting the lyrics to go more unnoticed. Something that happened throughout the set, the star was prompted by either the crowd, or a very attentive Gessle on each occasion, until she was able to return to her place in the track.

The power ballad to compete with all other power ballads, It Must Have Been Love, soon had any crowd stragglers fully involved, leading with a clenched fist into the fist-pumping Opportunity Nox. Immersed in the care-free bound of Euro-pop, the band went all out, the show as much about their own enjoyment as the crowd.

Preferring the up-beat numbers, How Do You Do! was another crowd pleaser, leading to a lot of dance-offs amongst hyped-up couples. The gnarly delivery of Joyride, on the other hand, unleashed a whole lot of strutting on the SECC. Who needs shoulder pads when you're moving them that rapidly anyway?

With a hit-packed encore, The Look and Listen To Your Heart kept the 80s alive, although I was relieved to see 2012 still intact when the arena doors swung open in the aftermath.

Roxette are a double helping of cheese with Euro-pop and the 80s factored into their sound, though this is why their fans love them, and a very finely crafted artisan brand of cheese it is. A great show from multi-million album selling legends; personally, I may be just a little lactose intolerant.  

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