An estimate of 15,000 attended Swedish band Roxette’s first concert to Romania, in Bucharest, on May 30, exactly on the lead singer’s birthday. Almost no song passed without the crowd singing along to the well-known lyrics and the almost two-hour long show culminating in two encores.
One of the highlights of the evening was the guitarist’s intricate performance of one of the best known traditional Romanian songs, Ciuleandra, most famously performed by Romanian folkloric legend Maria Tanase. Apart from that, a quite emotional moment was the crowd singing “Happy Birthday” to an overwhelmed Marie Fredriksson, who recently recovered from serious health issues – but proved to be in tip-top shape through this concert, and her voice – as smooth as ever, with the occasional power vocals emerging when least expected.
The biggest success of the evening was, doubtlessly, “It Mush Have Been Love”, presented as a “trip to Hollywood” (an allusion to Pretty Woman, the film to which the song was part of the soundtrack) by guitarist, co-singer and songwriter Per Gessle. All voices united as one to perform the chorus line of the song. “Sleeping in My Car”, “Wish I Could Fly”, “How Do You Do”, “Dangerous”, “Joyride” were also among the most popular songs on the band’s playlist, joined by tunes from the new album, Charm School.
The two encores completed the list of the band’s most resonant songs to Romania, with “Watercolors in the rain”, “Spending my time”, “The look”, “Listen to your heart” and “Church of my heart”. The only one that seemed to be flagrantly omitted from this list of hits was “Crash, Boom, Bang”.
All in all, the audience was delirious, yet well-balanced in reactions, as the average age of the attendees was well over 30, since Roxette were one of the most played bands in postcommunist Romania. The Swedes seemed to be pleasantly surprised with the warm welcome they received and promised to return to Romania as soon as possible.