Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney: A review from Jamie Scholar - Fri 17th Aug

Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney: A review from Jamie Scholar
17 August 2001

My thanks go to Jamie, a devoted Roxy Music fan, for the following personal tour/ review.

Sydney – Monday 13th August 2001
Melbourne – Thursday 16th August 2001
Adelaide – Friday 17th August 2001

I have just returned from my “pilgrimage” to take in three of the five Australian Roxy Music concerts.

This involved me driving some 1400kms to Sydney, then 900kms to Melbourne, and then about 800kms back home to Adelaide.

This was always going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, as it would be very unlikely that Roxy Music will ever tour here again. So I was going to make the most of it, as much as I possibly could!

The drive to Sydney from Adelaide is a long one – 1400kms over a couple of days. The trip was made enjoyable however due to the fact that I played all the Roxy Music material that I possess, in chronological order during the journey. This meant that I arrived in Sydney without listening to anything other than Roxy Music.

The thought of seeing RM in concert had become overwhelming. For twenty years I had waited for this. All the excitement and hype, and the favourable reviews that I had read on sites such as this, only added to the anticipation. The inclusion of Paul Thompson in the line up had also made me personally very happy. I had always considered him to be just as an important part of Roxy Music as BF, AM or PM.

All the elements were therefore in place for this experience to be a very special one – and I was not to be disappointed.

As I sat in the Sydney Entertainment Centre and looked at the huge curtain emblazoned with the Roxy Music 2001 tour logo, I made a conscious effort to take stock and reflect on what I was about to witness.
I knew all too well that this would be all over before I knew it. Then it started – the haunting music of South Downs, and then slowly the party chatter and clinking glasses, sampled directly from the very first seconds of the “Roxy Music” album, could be heard.

The atmosphere was electric, everyone around knew that it was about to start – and then finally, the first unmistakable piano chords of Remake/Remodel……. “I try but I could not find a way….”
This was the best opening that I could have ever imagined – fast, furious, and plenty of activity, excitement and enthusiasm on stage.

I came close to tears – I could not believe what I was seeing – there they were right in front of me – Ferry, Manazanera, Mackay & Thompson, finally back together, and playing the music that I know so well and love.

All the songs, in most cases, were played faithfully to the original recordings. Where changes were made, they were for the better. The Avalon & Flesh & Blood songs were given a new lease of life, and were played much livelier and with greater enthusiasm than the bland studio versions (This is in no small way due to Paul Thompson). For example “Oh Yeah” was somewhat of a revelation, and was nicely done – slightly more up tempo, with a nice interaction between Manzanera and Spedding during the guitar break.

A highlight for me was to hear “Both ends burning” performed as per the original, and not the watered down disappointment of the Avalon tour. This has always been my favourite song, and it got the crowd to it’s feet in all the concerts I attended. Very surprising, as it is never played on Australian radio.

Chris Spedding is worthy of special comment. He seemed content to take a back seat, but nevertheless, his contributions were always tasteful and inspired. His use of that sitar type guitar in “In every dreamhome” added another haunting element to the song.

Colin Goode is an exceptional pianist, and I was very impressed with how he had learnt the Bryan Ferry piano parts note perfect. He seemed very chuffed to be part of it all.

All in all, the band appeared to be enjoying themselves – even after their hectic schedule to date. I don’t think I have ever seen Ferry smile as much as he did, and Manzanera’a joy was more than obvious. In fact, out of all the historic footage I have seen of the band, I don’t think I have ever seem them as happy or enjoying themselves as much as they were in the three concerts that I attended.

The Melbourne and Adelaide concerts had the same set list as Sydney, except Mother of Pearl was dropped in both. The concerts were well attended despite minimal advertising and media coverage. The best crowd reaction would have to go to Adelaide, the whole crowd were on its feet from halfway through the show.

I had already had my tour program autographed by all four original members after the Sydney show, but was determined to get my album cover of For Your Pleasure signed also. So a few of us waited in the foyer of the Hyatt Hotel after the Adelaide show, and eventually one by one they all arrived, and kindly signed my album. A great thrill for me was to meet Paul Thompson. I had written to him previously, and I had talked to him in Sydney. So when he saw me in Adelaide, he knew who I was, and even remembered my name!

So to top off a week that had already been the highlight of my life, there I was, in the bar at the Hyatt Hotel, having a drink and a chat with The Great Paul Thompson.

And it doesn’t get any better than that!!

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