Bryan Ferry

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Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry

Posted: 10 Nov 2013

Sage Gateshead

9 November

 

Normally the tone of a concert is set at the start so, with bow-tied musicians playing mellifluously against a backdrop of jazz age scenes to kick off proceedings, a mellow evening looked likely to follow.

Certainly Ferry's excellent mini-orchestra – who expertly played an array of instruments including piano, sax, trumpet, trombone and clarinet – provided the perfect backing for the man himself who was in full lounge-lizard mode, wearing a floral smoking jacket and crooning numbers like The Way You Look Tonight. If felt like the best ever cocktail hour in 1920s New York.

The smooth mood continued through the jazz age treatment of Ferry’s own work such as Don’t Stop the Dance, Oh Yeah and Carrickfergus. A haunting version of Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door was knocking on perfection.

But for me one of the biggest moments of the night was when the band and Ferry launched into the early Roxy Music number Song for Europe – my favourite Roxy track and one I have never seen performed live. Euphoria. Then the interval came.

More of the same would have been more than welcome in the second half – but what followed could barely have been bettered, and it seemed the sell-out crowd agreed. Among other numbers, Jealous Guy and Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice were beautifully performed, and then the pace really picked up with a rocking final set.

Everyone was on their feet as the band motored through a welter of Roxy numbers including Love is the Drug, Let’s Stick Together and Editions of You. The band metaphorically let their hair down, threw everything at it and a keyboard player provided a great image of the night when, after working some Brian Eno-style synth sounds, he punched the air with glee.

Washington-born Ferry looked as if he was thoroughly enjoying himself – saying it was great to be back – and was in fine voice, as always. Mining such rich seams of work from different eras and putting it all together in one coherent whole was a brilliant achievement. If the next day’s gig hadn’t sold out I’d have gone back for more.

 

Anne Graham

 

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