Guardian Review Princess Street Gardens - Sat 1st Jun

Elisabeth Mahoney For The Guardian Monday June 3, 2002 The beginning of Edinburgh's Golden Jubilee celebrations was marked by a gig from someone whose longevity of career is also teetering towards remarkable. The key elements of Bryan Ferry's success in the Roxy Music and early solo years - cool demeanour, cool songs, suave good looks - are all still alive and well. Seemingly rejuvenated by Roxy Music's reunion tour last year, Ferry is now on his best form in years, both on his well-received new album, Frantic, and live. The Edinburgh audience was also on good form. They left their picnic baskets and boxes of wine on the lawn to rush down to the stage at the first few bars of It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, one of two Dylan covers on Frantic. Maybe it was the balmy evening, the prospect of a double bank-holiday or simply regal fervour, but nobody was going to get this crowd to sit down again. Inches away from them, Ferry obliged with some touching of hands (being cool, he tried to do a groovy slapping of hands), and sweet bewilderment as five women in turn scrambled onto the stage for a kiss. The set showcased the new album before slipping into a second half of upbeat, celebratory numbers from his back catalogue. This brought thunderous versions of Both Ends Burning, A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall and, as a final encore, Do the Strand, complete with dancing girls in cerise feather headgear. As always, Ferry seems to have markedly different criteria for selecting the men and women on stage with him. The women (on keyboards, percussion, backing vocals and, um, foxy dancing in white hotpants) are all much younger and more beautiful than him; the men are not. What they (Paul Thompson, Chris Spedding and Colin Good) bring, however is an impressively tight sound, especially on the big Roxy numbers. Ferry clearly relishes every moment of being on stage. He grins to himself at some lyrics, as if remembering how good they are, and shimmies skilfully, weaving claps into his still convincingly avant-garde moves. It is only late on that his cool aura threatens to melt. Giddy with the thrill of it all, he keeps raising his arms in a triumphant arc above his head, looking like Larry Grayson about to embark on a spot of Scottish Country dancing. But the crowd love him all the more for risking looking silly, just for a frantic moment. Set List: It's All Over Now Baby Blue/Sign Of The Times/Can't Let Go/Goddess Of Love/Ja Nun Hons Pris/Fool For Love/Oh Yeah/Out Of The Blue/Don't Think Twice It's All Right/Both Ends Burning/Tara/A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall/Slave To Love/Kiss And Tell/Dance Away/Jealous Guy/Lets's Stick Together/Virginia Plain/Love Is The Drug/Do The Strand

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