For the second time in my gig going life I have seen Bryan Ferry or Byron Ferrari as the NME once dubbed him. The first time I saw him he was fronting Roxy Music in about 1977 or 1978. He was good then and after tonight I can honestly say he has got even better. He owned the stage with his lounge lizard-like persona, a true consummate performer.
The Bryan Ferry Orchestra opened proceedings with some excellent jazz readings of some of both Roxy and Ferry’s greatest songs including the not often heard “Bogus Man” and a later Roxy classic “Avalon”. The orchestra also made up the large part of his band. When the main man himself appeared they were augmented by an amazing guitarist, a very talented drummer and two incredibly entertaining backing singers.
Bryan had paced the show very well. Some early highlights for both myself and the delectable Catwoman were “Don’t Stop The Dance”, “On The Radio”, Bob Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” and “Carrickfergus”. The Charlie Parker tribute was also brilliant as was the images on the set of overhanging screens. There were even outings for “Sign Of The Times” from the ‘Bride Stripped Bare‘ album and the Platters cover “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”.
After an interval, yes an interval; it must be for those of us of a certain age the Bryan Ferry Orchestra kicked off the second half of the show. Mr Ferry had changed into a really slick suit and oh boy did he start to kick ass. He really built the show to a fine crescendo with John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” (there really isn’t much live whistling any more is there?), “Street Life”, “Love Is The Drug“, “Let’s Stick Together” “Hold On I’m Coming” and “Shame, Shame, Shame before closing with a storming version of early Roxy Music classic taken from the ‘For Your Pleasure’ album, “Editions Of You”.
In all perhaps one of the finest shows I have seen and I have seen plenty! The UK tour is almost over but if you’re going to see him play in Birmingham next Tuesday you’re going to have a blast! By the way none of the videos in this post were filmed by me an nor were any of the pictures mine.