Manchesterís Palace Theatre - Mon 18th May

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By Danielle Roper

Bryan Ferry at Manchesterís Palace Theatre

Bryan Ferry was before my time but for those who don't know much about him, he was a pretty big deal.

Forty three years after the release of the first Roxy Music album, the iconic star, who has sold more than 30m albums worldwide with his solo and band work combined, is back with his Avonmore tour.

His voice and performance are all about understated cool.

His music is all about sex but not the in your face stuff of the artists of today.

His songs don't strip themselves naked and wiggle their bottoms but rather stroke the back of your neck like a lover that leaves you wanting more, that could lead you into the dark realms of obsession if you're not careful.

Wearing an unassuming dark blue suit and shirt, he looks not unlike a tired, office worker letting his hair down on a Friday night then suddenly transforming into a singing icon.

Brian Ferry at Manchesterís Palace Theatre

In the first half of the show, he showcases some of the new album, kicking off with title track Avonmore, but sensibly intersperses the newer stuff with an old favourite or two like Slave To Love with its mounting seduction.

Highlights include his Bob Dylan cover of Don't Think Twice, It's Alright where his voice really shines."I gave you my heart but you wanted my soul", he sings, snatching up and wrestling with a harmonica, through which he seems to exorcise love's pain.

The audience seem to like it too with one woman shouting "I love you Bryan" and another echoing my mum's thoughts with "Sexy!"

The ten-piece band is great but at times, seems a bit of an ill fit for Ferry' s chilled out velvet tones, almost drowning him out on occasion.

It's in the second half though that our Bryan really gives the audience what they want with the old classics.

Everyone jumps up to Love Is The Drug, dancing on the balconies as if in a music video.

Let's stick together is a surefire hit and Editions Of You sees a return of the fun campness of old.He ends with the heartrending Jealous Guy, the Lennon cover which bagged him the UK number one spot.

Not many would be brave enough to take on such an iconic song but Ferry is in a class of his own when it comes to covers.

Sadly, he doesn't do his own Don't Stop The Dance, my personal favourite.

The crowd couldn't be happier though. There's no showboating and no boring talk between songs.

Artlessness is his art and, at 69, he's still as sexy as his music.

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