Roxette, The O2, review: Frederiksson still hits the big notes

Now confined to a stool on stage, her voice was occasionally strained

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

There are any number of '80 bands who make a living from neatly-packaged nostalgia tours. But not many could sell-out the O2 on their own on a Monday night.

That Roxette can is a remarkable thing. After all, this is not a band which pioneered electronica, symbolised a social conscience, paved the way for Years & Years or any of the other things some of their contemporaries are said to have done.

Yet more than any other European band of that era, Roxette - comprising the duo of Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson - bridged the pop craft of their compatriots Abba with the rockier sensibilities of American counterparts Heart and even Madonna.

Their American success is easy to forget - four number ones between 1989 and 1990. Yet they became, unfairly, regarded as a pastiche almost as quickly.

As the band's triumphs tailed away Frederiksson was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2002. Now confined to a stool on stage, her voice was occasionally strained yet she still hits the big notes that were Roxette's signature on numbers like 'It Must Have Been Love' and 'Listen to Your Heart'

The crowd, some holding aloft actual '80s-era lighters, as opposed to backlit mobiles, lapped up 'Spending My Time' and went mad for 'The Look' and 'Dressed for Success'.

Frederiksson's current physical vulnerability is a genuinely moving counterpoint to the charge of soullessness which often dogged Roxette's critical reception in the past. It might not be too late for a proper reappraisal.

Comments