the last time Roxy Music played Birmingham, Margaret Thatcher was
Prime Minister, Aston Villa were winning the European Cup and Longbridge
had just launched the Metro.
So, for the thousands who made the pilgramage to the NEC on Saturday
night,Roxy's return was like renewing contact with an old friend
who had dropped out of circulation 20 years or so before.
But, as the cliche goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder-
and Bryan Ferry and Co proved that time had neither diminished their
popularity nor their talent.
The band and the audience may now be almost two decades older
but the most important element of all- the music - has remained
remarkably young. From the opener, Re-make Re-Model, through to
encores of Love is the Drug, Do the Strand, and For Your Pleasure,Roxy
showed that high calibre songs and quality musicianship will always
endure. Ferry's vibrato vocals were as distinctive as ever, Phil
Manzenera tore into his guitar with venom, saxman Andy Mackay hit
all the right notes and underpinning it all- the Great Paul Thompson
An elongated piano intro ushered in a majestic rendition of A
song for Europe, In Every Dream Home a Heartache was as powerful
as it was in 1973 and Virginia Plain was, well, Virginia Plain.
Earlier, Roxy had turned the clock back even further with Ladytron
and If There is Something from the first album, still sounding like
nothing else anybody has written before or since. Best of all, the
penultimate number, Editions of You - a storming slice of rock and
roll memorabilia which threatened to take the roof off the cavernous
arena. With no new material to promote, the whole event resembled
a stroll through the years into a musical time-warp long considered
to history - but with this sort of quality ,who cares?
The big test now for Roxy - and particularly for Mr Ferry - is
for the band to come up with a few new numbers in the mould of Editions
of You or Virginia Plain. It's asking a lot, but Roxy were never
destined to become a Greatest Hits band touring every few years
to supplement their rock star pensions. Over to you, Bryan.
Jon Griffin, Birmingham Evening Mail