Adelaide: At last a Roxy reunion - Fri 17th Aug

Adelaide: At last a Roxy reunion
17 August 2001

Rachel Hancock of The Advertiser.

For nearly two decades, Roxy Music fans around the world have been speculating about a reunion tour.

Finally, they have been granted their wish. As Roxy Music prepares to touch down in Adelaide on August 17 – en route across four continents on its 50-date reunion tour – saxaphonist Andy Mackay explains how persistence paid off.
"It was something that was talked about on and off for most of the '90s and we didn't get very close, until someone made an offer to put together a tour and with enough guaranteed money for us to do the kind of production we wanted," Mackay said. "So, we thought why not?"

The father of a son, 3, said initially he was hesitant, given the tour's magnitude, but playing before sold-out audiences in England and Europe has dispelled any concerns. "The critics have been very generous. Some people have never seen us before and don't know what to expect and people who are now bringing their kids along," he said.

During its 13-year career, Roxy Music produced a swag of hits, including Love is the Drug, Avalon and a cover of John Lennon's Jealous Guy.

For Mackay, the reunion tour meant a lot of practice to prepare for Roxy Music – post 2000. "It was something I was quite nervous about," he said. "It's a long set, playing over one and a half hours and there's a lot of oboe in it. It's the most tiring instrument I play, I had to get fit because it's really taxing.

"But I am pleased to say it feels quite good. We just started rehearsing and it went incredibly well. It's one of the most satisfying times ever and audiences are hearing the best, which is very exciting."

The original band members – Mackay, lead singer Bryan Ferry and Phil Manzanera – have remained good friends over the years, which made for a smooth reunion.

But have the old duds been dusted off? "No. There are one or two costumes I wore in the early '70s that my older children wouldn't be pleased with me wearing again," he laughed. Also joining the boys is drummer Paul Thompson, who Mackay last worked with in the late '70s, and a swag of other musicians.

"It's a very strong mixture of things and we have sampled crucial sounds from early albums. It's actually quite a rich sound and makes it much nicer to play," he said.

Since Roxy's split in 1983, Mackay has been kept busy composing television scores and, his labour of love, Four Psalms, a setting of dance with strings, choirs and electronics.

"I have worked on it for nine years now. When the Roxy tour is over, I will try to get a recording on that. You have to decide whether to chase hit records or do what you want to do and see what happens, and that's what I did."

 Roxy Music performs at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Friday.

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