Roxy Music, guided by vocalist and songwriter Bryan Ferry (and ably assisted by bassist Graham Simpson and Brian Eno, among others), took glam rock to another level—a respectable level—and beyond. Laying the foundations for punk, electronic and new wave, Roxy Music came and went numerous times between 1971 and the present. Ferry, who has gone off on his own from time to time during the band’s hiatuses, has often enlisted other Roxy members to assist his solo projects.
Ferry gave New York a Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry night, and the audience, mostly in their 50s, stood for the last third of the show. For his part, Ferry spent about half his time tucked behind a piano at side stage and the other half standing front and center, where he belongs. The Beacon normally offers superlative sound, but I sat high in the last balcony stage right, and could barely hear his fuzzy vocals over the rest of the band; I have enough faith in the Beacon to believe that might have been Ferry’s intention, since he’s suffered from vocal problems this year.
Decked out in a shiny paisley smoking jacket and shinier pants, Ferry’s a smooth rather than a dynamic performer, and it took much of the night for him to get energized. Nevertheless, some moments sparkled, like his heartfelt “Make You Feel My Love,” the encore of “Let’s Stick Together” and the cover of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy.” Ditto almost anything from his keyboardist/soprano and alto sax player, Jorja Chalmers and a stellar backup group, the Rondells. If there’s one thing Ferry has always known how to do, it’s put together a band, and he hasn’t lost his touch. His new album, Avonmore, drops mid-November; let’s see where he’s going.
– Suzanne Cadgène
All photos by Derek Meade