Posted: 10 Nov 2013
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
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.