(photo credit: Caroline Roosmark)
There truly are second acts in the entertainment world – just ask Marie
Fredriksson and Per Gessle, collectively known as Roxette.
late 1980s and the mid-1990s, the stylish Swedish pop-rock duo sold more than 75
million albums and scored four No.1 hits in the US, which included the
mainstream modern rock staples “The Look,” “Listen to Your Heart” and “It Must
Have Been Love.”
Their first album as a duo – Look Sharp!
– made them
stars in their home country, but it was a fluke that brought them international
stardom. In 1988 an American exchange student from Minneapolis heard “The Look”
in Sweden and brought a copy of Look Sharp! home for the holiday break. He gave
the album to a Minneapolis radio station and the song’s popularity began
spreading to other radio stations, resulting in “The Look” becoming a hit before
the album or the song had been commercially released or promoted in the US
Call them a spikier ABBA or a European Fleetwood Mac, but the
fact is that from that point on, they were huge, dominating MTV and the radio
charts until one day, for reasons that can only be explained by a radio
demographics expert in some Madison Avenue tower, they no longer did.
remember hearing Nirvana for the first time. I started playing in the 1970s, and
my first band was a punk band. So I just loved the grunge thing immediately. But
it was the end of an era [of polished pop],” Gessle told the BBC in
By the beginning of 2000, Frediksson and Gessle were distancing
themselves from the Roxette name and working on low-key solo projects. Then in
2002, Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Although she underwent
successful surgery and follow-up treatment on the road to a full recovery, it
marked the end of the road for Roxette.
Throughout the decade there were
occasional appearances together and anniversary compilation CDs, but it wasn’t
until 2009 when stirrings of a reunion began gathering steam.
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In May of
that year, an announcement was made that Roxette would reunite for the Night of
the Proms in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, and later that month,
Fredriksson appeared onstage at the end of a Gessle concert to sing “It Must
Have Been Love” and “The Look.”
2010 witnessed a few more shows in Europe
and Russia, which became the dress rehearsals for a full-fledged world tour that
began in this year in February and will mark its 62nd performance on October 22
at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Center.
Promoter Shuki Weiss, who’s bringing
the band here in conjunction with Live Nation, wanted to make sure the band was
still at the top of their game, and he wasn’t disappointed.
“A few moths
ago, I flew to France to see Roxette in concert, and what I saw was that the
band has only gotten better over the years. Their communication with the
audience was amazing, and their show was one of the best and most enjoyable
there is,” he said. “I had some doubts before about the vocal and physical
capacity of Marie following her battle with cancer, and to my great joy, I
witnessed her conquer the stage and audience, stronger than
Likewise, Live Nation Sweden chief Thomas Johansson told the music
industry magazine Pollstar that Roxette’s reunion has succeeded way beyond his
expectations, with estimates of more than one million fans attending their 2011
“If I had said we would do a million tickets when we first started
out, I’m not sure if people would have told me to go to the pub or to come out
of it,” Johansson told Pollstar, adding that the tour will continue into
Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia early next year.
seemed to have a premonition of the Roxette revival when he spoke to the BBC a
couple of years before it happened.
“When you’re working with pop music,
you have your heyday and then you wane out. And if you’re lucky, your songs
survive and then you come back into fashion again after 10 years or
so.”Roxette, October 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Tel Aviv Exhibition
Center, NIS 370. www.misterticket.co.il
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