Bryan Ferry: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
Not knowing what to expect from the Roxy Music legend, Alan Parry discovers what grown up pop sounds like.
I should probably confess that I’m not overly familiar with Ferry’s solo back catalogue, and following a recent conversation with my old man, I was unsure what to expect from the former Roxy Music man.
I had been advised me that he no longer played his ‘best stuff’, and that he has a habit of pulling out some of the more obscure tracks from his cannon of work.
Sorry, Dad. You couldn’t have been more wrong.
This was a measured, expertly paced show which as you expect oozed class and sophistication. The songs themselves are beautifully crafted pieces, and I don’t recall listening to anything so intently since sitting a music GCSE.
He didn’t have a huge band, and they were not particularly loud. But, they were tighter than…. Well, tighter than tight! Each musician was at peak performance and given that this is just the first week of the tour, that ought to be celebrated.
I’ve seen some greats in my time but have rarely been in awe in the way that I was with Ferry. I was utterly transfixed. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would be telling you that he was performing directly to me. For 90 minutes, I felt like a 60-something woman, watching the heart-throb of my younger years. This is what grown up pop music sounds like.
The set list was littered with greats such as Slave to Love and built to a crescendo of crowd favourites including Love is the Drug (a personal favourite), Stick Together, and Jealous Guy which had the whole crowd on its feet, with a hundred or so audience members clamouring at the stage.
Between the hits, the man himself was quiet and reserved when introducing the songs, and band members alike – and special mention must go here to Marina Moore on strings, and Jorja Chalmers on brass, who were on everybody’s lips as we left the venue for all the right reasons.
But this restrained persona, who spoke almost with a whisper, and blew kisses at the adoring crowd metamorphosed into what I’m going to term the King of Cool once the music hit. This septuagenarian is everything I want to be when I eventually grow up.
Bryan, this last sentence is for you alone, don’t be a stranger, come back soon.
Pictures by Sakura