Sydney: Roxy Storm Sydney, Fan Review from Graham Bottomley - Mon 13th Aug

Sydney: Roxy Storm Sydney, Fan Review from Graham Bottomley
13 August 2001

The textured sounds of South Downs permeated the Sydney Entertainment Centre as the lights went on Monday night.The staccato stomp that is Remake/Remodel had 9000 heads bobbing in unison as the curtain rose to reveal Roxy Music for our Sydney pleasure and the first time in 21 years.Crystal clear sound from my seven rows back and I was hyperventilating, as this was the band that shaped my musical preferences...right here...right now.Each of the mini solos and Bryan's mid song trip to front stage centre got a yell from the mostly forty something crowd.How can a band cored by fifty somethings rock like this?

The crowd yell,whoop and clap as it closes and the traffic sounds intro of Street Life is dispensed at a tight and cracking pace.No colorful dancing girls unfortunately.You Brits were very fortunate indeed.The monochromatic images and lush lighting of mostly red and greens creates a atmosphere suitable to these style pioneers.

21st century oboe haunts the beginning of Ladytron as the frenetic pace slows and The purple suited Mr. Mackay is spotlighted.Phil Manzanera's playing on this song is incendiary.He rips into his solo and his guitar strap falls from his shoulder onto the fretboard.His fingers and hands ignore this annoyance as he delivers a blazing cacophony of notes.The crowd and Phil love it! While My Heart is still Beating is recognized by the audience, but it is dispensed in a somber and perfunctory fashion.To me it lacks the venom,adventure and musical journey that hallmarked their early work.

Two massive snare beats and the Great Paul Thompson launches into the backbeat of Out Of The Blue.This sounds like it did in 1975 when I first caught the Roxy bug.It was interesting to note that Lucy Wilkins on violin is warming up both on headphones and physically running on the spot a full song before she commences her astonishing solo that captivates an appreciative audience.I have to admit...I had tears in my eyes during this beautiful piece of musicianship.A culmination of finally seeing this band after so long and the sheer combination of sound and vision... ahhhh....sensory overloaded emotion.

The gorgeous piano intro of Colin Good commences A Song For Europe.Unfortunately the Monday night work crowd audience is unappreciative of it's beauty...God I hope This song makes it onto the tour DVD! It is one of the defining moments of the set...the sweep and the grandeur.Andy's great sax break catapulted my girlfriend and I to a cafe by by the Seine.Magnifique!

My Only Love is dispensed with the same ambivalence of Heart Still Beating.It is a nice melody but lacks punch live in my opinion.Nice vocals from Sarah Brown though.Now for Roxy's slice of rubber menace...In Every Dreamhome A Heartache.The eerie keyboard and Bryan's rich boy on the path to hell vocal is augmented by 60's red and green spotted lighting.Oh Yeah is recognized and sung by the crowd.It is obvious that this audience are Flesh and Blood and Avalon aficionados.Both these albums were No.1 in Australia.

Both Ends Burning rocks out...and the first sign of a danceable solution with the dancing girls in cute blond short wigs and even cuter leather hot pants.Flames engulf the screen and the band is at full tilt.This is Roxy Music! A wall of sound and sex.There is a small crowd wanting to go down the front, but we are stopped by heavy handed bouncers.Amazingly only two people I know are allowed to dance at the front.Lucky Amanda and Debbie! My girlfriend, Leanne is upset that only two people are dancing and I agree!

Andy is about to step up for his sublime solo on Tara....and what do I yell out?...' Go Andy ', just at the wrong time and it sounded very fey, and the guy is a parish reverend. Oh well....I just got caught up in the emotion. At least it got a laugh. Well done Andy - a very poignant rendition. Now to Roxy's epic. This is my favorite number behind Prairie Rose and the boys and girls are in fine form with very shakable percussion from the attractive and energetic, Julia Thornton. Avalon is sung with too much cool by a world weary Bryan. The audience responds nicely to this no Yannick Etienne and shortened version.

The surprise song of the night was Dance Away.The sound was digital like and the rhythm was superb. It was never a favorite of mine but Roxy improve this considerably live with new beefed up backbit and of course technology helps. Jealous Guy was sung with much passion by Bryan and once again 21st century Roxy treatments highlight the melody and Mr.. Ferry's whistling is better than ever. The sax and keyboard melody are certainly more prominent than the recorded sketchy version.

The crowd surge to the front for Editions Of You and once again we are shown our seats by security. Many are now at the front dancing and the crowd is on it's feet. Yes...this is what we want. People are actually clapping along and shaking their butts to Roxyrama. I have waited so long for this. Thousands of people getting off on my favorite band. The smile was broadening on my flushed face. Roxy really rip it up on this number. Virginia Plain's intro has the people yelling. The ancient VC3 keyboard, once piloted by Captain Eno, is at full throttle. Ancient red lights flashing.' What's her name.....Virginia Plain' the crowd yell. The crowd is rapturous as the band triumphantly leave the stage.

I am getting happier and more game. It is time for action. I take Leanne's hand and we run around the back, down the side and weave our way amazingly to front stage centre in front of Bryan. We can' t believe it...I am bedazzled! We can see the complexity of the stage outfits from two metres. Great shoes by Phil and Bryan. Must be Gucci? Phil's shirt is white, shimmery and snake like. Very cool. Love Is the Drug' is pumped out and we can see every nuance in Bryan's expressions and gesture. It appears really exaggerated from this distance....and the sweat is dripping. People are yelling the words. When he finishes the obligatory question is popped...' Do You Want Another One? ' You can guess the rest.

Bryan looks to Paul and they go full bore into '' Do The Strand", once again the actions are over the top and his grin is matching mine. People are acting out Bryan's actions and the vibe is delirious in this mini-mosh pit of mixed ages. Bryan's silver suit would not be out of place on the bridge of the enterprise and right now he is the captain hurtling the ship at warp speed towards the delta quadrant. Arms are saluted in unison at the end of the song. Roxy Rule! For Your Pleasure is an inventive and surprising way to finish a concert. But who ever said that Roxy were conventional. It harks back to the very early years just as the opening number set the platform. Each member taking his bow over the strains of Tara. It was over with the burble of heavily synthesized sounds.

The concert was a stunning success and answered the question that pondered 'should they have reformed?' They sounded to me just as good as they were on the 1975 tour that I witnesssed - but now they have new technology. They were more energetic then - but it is 26 years later. No more drum rise jumps for Bryan!. But now he is the Godfather of contemporary style. Roxy were better than their 1980 concerts.

The musicianship of this band is exemplary. The addition of people like Chris Spedding, Katz and the inclusion of The Great Paul Thompson was a master stroke in providing a band that would have few peers in the rocking stakes. That is not to say they are anything less than superb in delivering quieter, somber or even funky material. The Sydney concert was fun, rocking and devoid of many bum notes. The sound and lighting were sublime and the backup players and core band showed finesse and multi-faceted skills. And we get to see them in Adelaide,front row !

Roxy Rules O.K !

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