By Eve Cheesmur

Artist:  Roxette

Date / Venue:  Saturday February 7th, Vector Arena, Auckland

There are plenty of things in the world we can thank the Swedes for: Ikea, Pirate Bay and Absolut Vodka to name a few....we can also thank the Swedes for Roxette.

With an arsenal of hits up their sleeves, spanning from their nearly 30 year career, I dressed in the best 80's get up I could scramble together from my wardrobe, dusted off my dancing shoes and headed to Vector Arena.

A view of the crowd from above was a sea of shining bald heads, and some interesting blue and pink rinses. Couples were prominent, as were gaggles of ladies, obviously keen for a 'big' night out.

When the band took to the stage with their first song of the evening Sleeping In My Car, the song was as dull as stage set up. Roxette could be compared to a bunch of midgets standing against a void. If I'm going to pour out the haterade, I'll add that the sound was worse than terrible. Whoever was behind that mixing desk needed a swift kick in the shins.

Redemption came in the form of colossal venetian blinds, which served as the backdrop to the stage and provided some dimension to the second song of the night Big Love.

I'm sure she didn't want a pity party, but poor Marie Fredricksson looked in pain. Her feet firmly planted to the floor and not one iota of moment from her as she performed for pretty much the entire show. I can only assume that if someone had a cancerous brain tumour (which she has), they might normally rest up and take it easy, but I had to hand it to Marie in her continuation, and obvious love of music that had her back on that stage. In saying that, all good things come to an end and it was mildly painful (not just on the ears) to watch her perform.

The crowd overall didn't seem to mind the static performance which came from the entire band. There was no compensation for Marie's lack of energy as they played classics like Spending My Time, Crash Boom Bangand Got A Crush on You. How Do You Do was uplifting, and made even better by the lyrics popping up completely out of time in the backdrop of the stage projection.

My enjoyment came from people watching, the drunken glitter lady set on making her friends love the songs as much as she was by screaming the lyrics in their faces, the 70 year old couple cuddling as if it were their first date, the extra from Spartacus who has supple hips and swung them like a figure 8 looping and the drunk dude who felt that the band should be doing songs according to his set list.

It Must Have Been Love was on my hit list when I was about 10 and I nearly cried when I heard it performed live, it was dull, flat and lifeless. We were then taken into Dressed For Success, which was played slower than usual and again hurt to hear. Straight into Dangerous and everything was forgiven for 4 - 6 minutes.

The lead guitarist took a moment to serenade the crowd with his rendition of 10 Guitars (as we all know, a Kiwi favourite) and it was brought to my attention that this was pretty much the only time that anyone from the band had actually tried to connect with the audience. For me, going to a live show is all about participation and getting the fans to connect with you, sadly Roxette didn't manage to hold my hand once during the set.

My mum always says that if I don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. But I do have something nice to say and that is that we all left on a high note after listening to Joyride and Listen to Your Heart.