The mood in the ice hockey court dressed up as a concert hall is singular. Thirty years of emotion saturates the air like the waves of music blasting from the sound system. I’m hidden in a crowd comprised mostly of the same people who came to see Roxette the last time they played Montreal, only twenty years and three kids later.
Marie Fredriksson is worn and beautiful as she struggles to keep up with the rest of the band’s perfect rendering of classic pop songs. The looks that pass between her and Per Gessle during the ballads break my heart. The grin on her face as she hits the high notes on Fading like a Flower resonates inside me. The audience has no choice: dancing is our only option.
“She’s got the look,” Per sings and it’s suddenly 1991, summer in Denmark and a scratchy car stereo with too much treble and not enough bass.
“I’m living in a box but I come out when opportunity nox” the crowd chants to the beaming band. I sing along and it’s suddenly high school graduation. My classmates are spinning unselfconsciously and I feel my hips popping to the beat as I suck on a cigarette and pretend to be too cool to like Roxette.
“‘Cos every time I seem to fall in love / Crash! Boom! Bang!” Marie lilts and I lying on the floor in my room, imagining what heartache must feel like.
“The fever turns slowly into a fire, drawing a fine line, a neverending love” everyone sings, the band and audience in complete synergy, and it’s the day before second grade starts and I’m dancing through my best friend’s house, her mop a mike stand, my air guitar on perfect form.
As the band files out, leaving Marie and Per on stage, surrounded by the thunderous cheers of a full hockey stadium, I realize just how much of my life’s score belongs to Roxette. And I smile.