The first music I loved was my parents’ music – The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, all that.
The first music I loved that was my own was, embarrassingly enough, Stock Aitken Waterman pap.
In my late teens came Nirvana, Blur, et al.
Between step two and step three, there was…
The first band I loved (except those in step one) whose music I still own.
My transitional band… and Per Gessle was also my transitional crush, the first guy I liked who wasn’t 100% Non-Threatening Boy1
I tried to see them twice in my early teens. The first time was when they were playing in Sheffield, about a 90 minute drive away. A reputable (no, really) ticket dealer in my home town was selling tickets that included cheap bus travel to the gig, which was on a school night.
Would my parents let me go?
They would not.
The second time, a year or so later, they were playing closer to home, and on a weekend. But my French exchange partner would be staying with us on that date. I asked my parents if I could go if Cecile came too (I even said I would pay for both tickets from my allowance), and they said only if she said she liked the band…
and I had to ask her if she liked the band without telling her why I was asking…
I asked her (over the phone, with my Dad supervising) if she liked Roxette.
She did not.
Little did I know on that disappointing night that I would finally get to see them 20+ years later…
…and that it would be (with apologies to readers who were offered a ticket but couldn’t make it) 100% AWESOMESAUCE!
Seriously, I had soooooooo much fun last night! The band had so much energy, and the crowd was just amazing: from the moment we walked in, everyone was positively beaming at each other. There wasn’t a shred of cynicism, or of the undercurrent of potential alcohol/drug/testosterone-fuelled aggression usually present at big stadium gigs. Everyone danced, everyone sang, people talked to each other (the groups on either side of me and my friends loved my app so much they all downloaded it too and joined in). People were even singing (and grinning) on the SkyTrain on the way home.
In short, there was a lot of love in the room.2
A friend from work was also there, with a different group of friends, and we were both still grinning so much today that our faces ached as we raved about the show and compared high points with each other over lunch.
Said high points, in no particular order:
- Knowing almost every song3 and singing myself hoarse
- The acoustic version of Things Will Never Be The Same segueing into It Must Have Been Love
- Everyone leaping to their feet and singing along, arms around each other’s shoulders, as the latter song started
- Per ever so gently correcting Marie when she started singing the start of verse 1 of IMHBL again instead of the start of verse 2, by harmonising quietly behind her with the correct words4
- Marie’s voice still sounding FABULOUS on all the songs that mattered most
- The Hockey Song guitar solo segueing into Joyride
- The massive balloons coming out of the ceiling on the words “wonderful balloon”, prompting massive joyous games of volleyball in the crowd
- Listen to Your Heart
- Per and Marie walking off stage at the end with their arms around each other
- Reminiscing with my friends about our first ever concert experiences5
- People singing Roxette songs on the SkyTrain
- Listening to Listen to Your Heart again after I got off the SkyTrain and onto the bus
It was such a fun, happy night that I’ll even forgive them for not playing my all-time favourite Roxette song:
Ah well, maybe next time…
NB NO CYNICAL OR OTHERWISE NEGATIVE COMMENTS WILL BE PERMITTED ON THIS POST!
1) Not that I find, or ever found, Per Gessle particularly threatening. Endearingly cheesy? Yes. Threatening? Well, maybe in contrast to Jason Donovan. I mean, he wrote lyrics about making love (tee hee!) and other similarly fascinating subjects…
2) Also: neon clothing. Oh, and scrunchies.
3) The reviews of previous shows on the Ticketmaster website said that the first half of the show was all new stuff that no-one knew. Either they’ve changed their set list based on this kind of feedback, or the people who wrote those reviews literally only knew the four biggest radio singles.
4) To the haters moaning about the mistake on Twitter: why don’t you try singing in front of thousands of people, in a foreign language, after surviving surgery, chemo and radiation to treat a brain tumour that left you blind in one eye?
5) In order of increasing coolness:
=3: New Kids on the Block. She wasn’t all that into them, but all her friends were going.
=3: (this is mine) Jason Donovan at the Whitley Bay Ice Rink. My Dad redeemed (predeemed?) himself for the not-letting-me-see-Roxette-TWICE fiasco that followed by driving me and three shrieking over-excited friends the more than two hours to the show, waiting for us in a local pub full of other suffering Dads, then driving us the more than two hours back as we shrieked and played Jason Donovan cassettes all the way home
#2: Winning tickets for A-ha via a radio phone-in competition after her very strict parents had said she couldn’t go, freaking out about how to tell her parents, her Mum coming home from work FURIOUS after having heard the phone-in on the radio on her drive home, being told she couldn’t go, then finally going but having to take her Mum with her as punishment (20+ years later, her Mum gave her an A-ha Greatest Hits CD for Christmas)
#1: Getting kicked out of The Cult because although she had a back-stage pass (her Dad worked at the venue), the shrieking over-excited friends she tried to sneak back-stage with her most certainly did not.