Gig review: Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry. Pic: Comp
Bryan Ferry. Pic: Comp
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UNDOUBTEDLY stylish and classy, Bryan Ferry was never going to age in any way other than gracefully and reluctantly. He’s still a snappy dresser and he’s still got the looks, the moves and the pipes, and to blazes with acting like a 68-year-old man.

* * * *

Usher Hall

Ferry had never been afraid to explore different musical styles. His most recent album, The Jazz Age, reimagined some of his best known songs with a 20s jazz orchestra.

Wednesday’s show at the Usher Hall began with a few of these, but as instrumental pieces by the Bryan Ferry Orchestra. When the man himself finally emerged, he slipped expertly into a smooth version of The Way You Look Tonight, nailing it.

For the rest of the show, the older orchestra was augmented by younger, trendier players and the combination mostly worked, thanks to the calibre of the musicians.

As the arrangements scurried between trad, pop, swing and rock, it all got a little disconcerting at times. But then, Ferry always pushed boundaries.

As if to drive the point home, A Song For Europe closed out the first half, full of righteous bombast, while the second opened with a flapper dance to a perky instrumental version of I Thought.

The show was billed as An Evening With, rather than a Greatest Hits, so the playful Roxy/Ferry cabaret section of the show shouldn’t have been a surprise.

The party really got started with the opening bars of Jealous Guy, though, when an unstoppable wave of 40-60 year olds actually rushed the stage.

The hits kept coming then - Street Life, an uproarious and extended Love Is The Drug, eventually followed by the remarkable sight of random 70-year-olds punching the air, dancing and singing to Let’s Stick Together like teenagers.

Finishing up with a couple of raucous R&B classics and the early Roxy belter, Editions Of You, Ferry looked unwilling to leave, and the crowd would have been up for that.

The evening began with the strange and quirky and it ended with wide grins and hands sore from non-stop clapping. Sounds like Bryan Ferry all right.