Harrogate International Centre - Thu 22nd Mar

Harrogate International Centre
22 March 2007
Bryan Ferry, Harrogate International Centre
By Charles Hutchinson

HE may now be the respectable establishment face of M&S, but suddenly the old love for making fully-committed music is burning deep inside Bryan Ferry again at 61.

Harrogate International Centre was as gentrified as the Washington aesthete, but this reviewer hasn't seen him so wrapped up in his performance for years: not at Castle Howard in 2000, nor with the re-formed Roxy Music at the Sheffield Arena a year later.

In black suit, white shirt and slim black tie that he wears better than anyone in Reservoir Dogs, he opened with The In Crowd, a calculated reminder of his status as the epitome of elegant cool but with a hint of exotic danger.

Backed by a cracking band, propelled by Ian Dixon's sax and Chris Spedding's guitar, he avoided a comfortable, supper-club greatest hits set in favour of taking risks. Only a superlative Jealous Guy was picked from the deluxe Roxy repertoire; instead Ferry delved into his solo store room for such unexpected delights as When She Walks In The Room to complement the old big hitters Let's Stick Together and A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.

There is a motive to this tour, an album to sell of Ferry covers of Dylan, and it was fascinating to hear that velvet croon re-interpret the formerly vituperative Positively 4th Street as a song of regret or bring an aching romance to Make You Feel My Love. The album is called Dylanesque; this concert was not merely Ferryesque, it was the original Ferry at his Ferry best. Welcome back.

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