Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bryan Ferry

Edinburgh Castle
4 stars
The pre-show soul soundtrack may be telling of former Roxy Music
frontman Bryan Ferry's roots, but the wash of purple lighting and giant
flashing lightbulb on the big-screen backdrop as Ferry's black-suited
seven-piece band and silver-frocked vocal quartet arrive onstage
appears infinitely more airbrushed. As does too the opening take on
Screaming Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You, which segues into ultimate
1980s softcore soundtrack, Slave To Love. As the accompanying film
montages show off a series of soft-focus neon-lit city-scapes populated
by mysteriously aloof women, the two flesh and blood young ladies
bumping and grinding in pink-tasselled leotards beneath only add to the
spectacle.

From such a tastefully textured opening, Ferry confounds expectations
by launching into If There Is Something, from Roxy Music's 1972 debut
album. With sax player Jorja Chalmers moving centre-stage, the sheer
drama of the extended riffing is thrilling. As is too Oh Yeah!, the
sentimental force of which is noticeable among ladies and gents of a
certain age who raced to the front before Ferry uttered a note. In
contrast, the three guitar frontline of Chris Spedding, Neil Hubbard
and Ollie Thompson come into their own on Neil Young's Like A
Hurricane, reconstructing the song without losing its abrasive edge.

The second half again switches time periods and tempos, finishing with
a magnificent trilogy of Love is The Drug, Editions of You and Let's
Stick Together. Here Ferry cuts loose, throwing a shape here, playing a
harmonica solo or giving a regal wave there. If Jealous Guy is
inevitable, the rip-roaring finale of Hold On I'm Coming brings things
full circle at the point where soul and art-rock finally jump into bed.

The Herald, September 5th 2011

ends

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