Roxy Music 2001Roxy Music Tour 2001

Chastain Park Amphitheatre, ATLANTA
Thursday, 26th July 2001

Reilly Morse - a personal view
Maggie Curran - a personal view


ass between hedges at the top of a park path into a hidden amphitheater ringed by trees, across wide stone rows to the upper middle orchestra. Candlelit tables spread out below. Across the wide stage is a cream-colored scrim with the double eagle insignia beneath the band's name. Around the proscenium are satin drapes. A mirror ball hangs at center.

As dusk fades, a pair of bats cut tight arcs above the audience's heads. Lights out and the scrim glows periwinkle blue then deep violet, then deepest blue. The band name logo switches to the Stranded tiger stripes as the scrim rises for the opening piano of Remake Remodel. A projection of hundreds of black & white early band photos barrages the stage, overlaid with monochromatic live video closeup of the performers playing on the stage, and intersected by fanbeams of saturated lights. The visual barrage matches the band's attack of this song.

Although the band is large, each component stands out clearly, like an acoustic jazz quartet. The drumming is solid. Vocals are supple and fresh. At first the sound level is not quite loud enough for the upper orchestra, so it is necessary to listen closely. At times the mix seemed to have buffers of space between the instruments, as though not done by stereo but by multiple stage monitors.

Remake/remodel tromps out with a vengance, For each "solo", the performer is shown close up in the video projections, so you get to see things like the antique switchboard synth, and Ferry's absurd piano abuse. It is such an arresting feeling to hear this nearly 30 year old tune performed live in the U.S. It has the freshness of a first impression, and yet a great distance, like dream time.

Street Life percolates with the keyboard, guitar, and sax figures coiling around each other, again with the volume level not overpowering the mix. Ferry sings so wickedly "it makes you feel like you're losing your mind" then Lucy Wilkins' violin distortion squirms over the brisk high hat, drum and low tenor sax.

At the end of Ladytron, Phil really cuts loose for the only time during the night, really bending strummed chords into unknown territories, for a good long time, ending the tune with the guitar held over his head. More of this would be welcome. Andy has his hands full penetrating Phil's work with the
horn accents.

While my heart is still beating has one of several beautiful looped film projections of details from nature passing behind it. Again a spacious sonic experience but heard more as an atmosphere, with instruments rising into and falling out of earshot.

Song for Europe opened with a baroque piano windup, then resonated with very theatrical continental nostalgia. The vocal delivery was full throated, and the band churning itself into a spiraling finale. Andy delivers wonderfully rude sax peaks here, as with the other songs from the early years.

Out of the Blue and Both Ends Burning are reminders why this band needs Paul Thompson to sound compelling, heavy propulsive bass/tom drumming. In the first, the audience carries the two-step beat. In the second, Ferry delivers the weather report to a moist crowd, "Hell, who can sleep in this heat, this night." Several very kitschy go go girls work out for this one. Lucy Wilkins delivers a bravura solo in Blue, another extended instrumental display. In both these tunes the guitars seemed noticeably undermixed for the backrows.

Ferry gives a fully nuanced delivery of each of the songs. No hoarseness, no interpretive corners cut, no high notes dropped. If he did it then, he does it now, con brio.

Tara is a beautiful interlude, just Andy, Lucy, and the second keyboardist. A jet passes high overhead, but the distant noise is masked by Andy's melody, closely but not identically following the original.

In another song, (My Only Love?), Chris Spedding and the first female vocalist duet at length very effectively. The rest of the show, he held back until the final few songs. His parts seemed the most spontaneous and bluesy, but restrained compared to the rough work he used to do with Cale.

In Avalon, diminuitive Yannick Etienne appears for the songbird part and is warmly greeted. She stays to join the first female vocalist, and they strengthen the rest of the choruses considerably.

For Your Pleasure is a simply stunning finale, very evocative for longtime Roxy fans. The lyrics seem to comment on the peculiarity of america's indifference to most of the incredible reperetoire of this band. Old fans feel a twinge that they will probably not hear these songs performed by this band again. More recent fans must shake their heads in disbelief. "for your pleasure in our present state, part false part true like anything, we present ourselves, the words we use tumble all over your shoulder gravel hard and loose" "you watch me walk away taraa taraa....... ." Each band member leaves one at a time, with the electronic crickets and feedback echoing into eternity.

Walking back down the park path, kicking the gravel, the memory of the feedback loops merges into the drone of the cicadas in the nearby trees. A night to remember.

Reilly Morse

tlanta endured the long wait for the concert to be confirmed and for single event tickets to go on sale. We worried about rain since it had rained all day and night the two days before the Roxy concert. But the concert was confirmed, the tickets went on sale and the skies cleared Thursday at noon. But at 8:00 the Chastain Box Office was telling us that the band would be late. Their plane had just landed at the airport and they were enroute to Chastain. We later learned that they had been stuck in a plane for 3 hours waiting for takeoff from NYC. Rufus Wainwright was on stage. At 9:00 an announcement was made that the Roxy Music concert would begin at 9:15. By then the lighting specialists had climbed their ladders and were in position high in the sky. The Roxy Music Imperial Eagle curtain was in place across the Chastain stage. It was dark and through- out the Amphitheater, candles were burning a warm welcome to a band way too long absent.

The curtain was drawn and then all heck broke loose. Remake Remodel was in progress. Roxy had launched their assault and they were knocking off our Atlanta sox. Phil and Andy were at center stage while Bryan was in the back tending the key- boards. Lucy Wilkins was tweaking the devil out of the knobs on the original Roxy synthesizer, replicating that authentic Roxy sound. At the end of the opener, Bryan said "This Is Roxy Music." Indeed! Sounding better than they ever did on those early recordings. Looking great too, these veteran rockers in their long jackets and Bryan in a black leather suit. They are ably supported by Chris Spedding, Lucy Wilkins, Zev Katz, Julia Thornton and Colin Good. TGPT on drums makes all the difference in Roxy's sound. Bryan will change from black leather to white dinner jacket to silver lame suit to properly define the musical periods being played. At the end of each song, the stage goes black. No time for bows. Before you can blink an eye, Roxy has moved on to the next song. The lighting geniuses are at work.

Phil's guitar solo on Ladytron was simply stunning. He played as if his life depended on it. One wonders what that guitar ever did to Phil to get him so worked up. Lucy Wilkins took command of Out Of The Blue with a melt-down ferocity that brought the audience to their feet in frenzied wonderment. Stroke of genius bringing Lucy on board. Stroke of genius tracking down Paul Thompson and reinstalling him on drums. Andy had his moments of glory on saxophone and oboe with the haunting Song For Europe and the exquisite Tara. Bryan was in fine voice throughout. Back-up singer Sarah Brown's duet with Chris Spedding's guitar on My Only Love was enhanced by Bryan's keyboard.

Can it be true? Is that Yanick Etienne in center stage with the white light? She will sing Avalon, a song which cannot be performed as well by anyone else. She had joined the tour for the NYC performances but had not been expected in Atlanta. Although the Avalon/Dance Away/Jealous Guy segment was more mellow than the earlier segments, it must be said that Jealous Guy was given a most heartfelt treatment by Bryan and it was probably one of the evening's most appreciated songs among the audience at large.

What can I say about Both Ends Burning except that it is one of the all-time best rockers ever written. Tonight Roxy slammed out a fast and sassy version which was further embellished by the dancing girls. This was camp theatricality! The Lido dancers appeared for Do The Strand which won wild audience participation and approval. Everyone was on their feet and dancing in the aisles, around the tables, and having quite a rollicking good time. Roaring audience appreciation and thank- you's were exchanged. Then we heard the unmistakable discordant notes of For Your Pleasure and we knew we would have to watch them walk away one-by-one. End of a performance remarkable for the quality of its music, staging, sense of fun and unbridled passion. Thanks Roxy Music. Viva Roxy Music!!! Y'all come back soon.

Maggie Curran

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