Perth: Roxy reformation - Sun 19th Aug

Perth: Roxy reformation
19 August 2001

By Ray Purvis for The West Australian

Entertainment Centre
At a press conference in March, Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera explained why the influential 1970s art-rock band agreed to reform: "You can't cover our songs very easily, so we thought we'd better do them ourselves."

Sunday night was Roxy Music at their best. In a superbly conceived concert full of lights, lasers, chorus girls and back projections, Ferry, Manzanera, saxophonist Andy Mackay and drummer Paul Thompson (an integral member of the band throughout the Seventies) proved the band's musical worth.

The five piece backing group included noted UK guitarist Chris Spedding and keyboard player Colin Good, helping Roxy Music present a stunning selection of songs from all of their 8 studio albums. The core members also showed-off their dynamic skills as musicians with frequent solos and a bravura vocal performance by Bryan Ferry.

They started with four or five lesser known songs, allowing Manzanera and Mackay to flex their musical muscles. Manzanera's turbo charged guitar pierced the driving rhythms and soared over the wall-of-sound backing, while Mackay's saxophone and oboe playing alternated between gaudy embellishments and startling melancholia.

Soon the hits started to flow one after the other, focusing attention on charismatic frontman Bryan Ferry. The bouncy Oh Yeah was followed by the propulsive Both Ends Burning, during which a line of blonde go-go dancers gyrated at the back of the stage. After a low-key saxophone, piano and violin (played by Lucy Wilkins) instrumental, Ferry returned to the stage to croon the gentle bossa nova Avalon while the back screen showed ripples on a pond.

Then it was non-stop, wall-to-wall hits all the way to the end. Ferry donned his silver lame jacket for the lounge-lizard anthem Dance Away, followed by a moving rendition of Roxy's only UK No. 1 hit, the sublime cover of John Lennon's Jealous Guy. Ferry is a grossly underrated singer, frequently undervalued because of his matinee-idol looks and his fashion plate dress sense.

Love Is The Drug and Do The Strand marked the return of the dancing girls dressed in elaborate Follies Bergere red feathers and high heels.

By this time the fans were five deep around the front of the stage, reaching out for a touch of the singer's hand. With For Your Pleasure the members waved one by one as they departed. Ferry thanked the crowd and Roxy Music closed the curtain on one of the more interesting and enjoyable reformations we've seen in recent years.

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