Roxy Music 2001Roxy Music Tour 2001

FleetBoston Pavilion, BOSTON
Tuesday, 17th July 2001

Frank Coleman - a personal view
Boston Globe


oxy Music played their first show in America in 18 years tonight -- and I am extremely grateful to have been there. It was an extraordinary show -- my first time seeing them ever!

That fact notwithstanding and even though this is the first time I`ve posted to this forum, I`ve been a fan for *many* years. I still have the cassette tape that I made of their concert on the King Biscuit Flower Hour -- from their first tour, with Eno! I couldn`t have been much older than 14 or 15 at the time. It made a huge impression on me and was a direct influence on me musically in many ways.

I deliberately stayed away from reviews and advance reports of this tour so that I could just experience it straight up. I`m glad I did. Looking over the set list reports here, now that it`s over, it looks like it was pretty much the same show as in Toronto.

Here are the highlights:

I had remarked to my wife just before the start of the show that I hoped they would do Re-make/Re-model -- and as you all know, they opened with it! I nearly wet my pants (well, not really, but it was one of the most exciting rock `n` roll moments I`ve ever witnessed)! ;)

Ladytron -- Phil was just completely out of his mind. Excellent, over-the-top, skronkin` guitar!

Out of the Blue -- a timeless classic, of course, but Lucy Wilkins`s violin solo at the end was nothing short of astonishing. I mean... not only was it LETTER PERFECT in it`s faithfulness to the original, she just TORE into it with such ferocity that it literally took my breath away. It was, in fact (and I can`t believe I`m saying this), *better than the record!* I guess that is about the highest praise one could possibly give, especially considering the original is one of the greatest moments in rock `n` roll. ;)

I know a lot of you are ambivalent about songs like "Oh Yeah" and "Avalon" but they have a lot of sentimental value for my wife and I and the concert was our 16th anniversary present to each other, so we were delighted to hear them. I think more than half the crowd was slow dancing. It was quite touching, actually. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes.

The Toronto Sun review mentions Avalon`s "water droplet" visuals as being similar to effects used by DePeche Mode. Well, I _didn`t see_ DePeche Mode this time around, so this was new to me and quite effective. In fact, this may have been the most impressively choreographed visuals of the evening. A film loop of single droplet for the verses opened up into multiple drops for the choruses and then back again on the verses. It was all completely seamless and beautifully underscored the way the music "breathed." Well done, whoever put that one together.

The fire visuals on Both Ends Burning were also quite effective. The band really wailed on that one, too. The entire place was on it`s feet.

Dance Away was never one of my favorite Roxy tunes, but it was beautifully layered and cheese-free here. Ferry was in excellent voice throughout the show, and gave this a particularly nice delivery.

Jealous Guy -- well, what can you say? You`d have to be made of stone to not be moved it, and Ferry completely owns the song. He inhabits it in a way that pays tribute to the original, and to Lennon, without being maudlin. To paraphrase James Ellroy, Bryan Ferry doesn`t just deliver a song, he drives it to your house and installs it -- and that was never more true than here. There wasn`t a dry eye in the house.

Editions Of You and Virginia Plain -- by this point, I was just completely giddy. What a great band, what great songs, what a privilege it is to finally see these living legends in the flesh.

Love is the Drug -- perfect!

Do the Strand -- f***ing perfect! ;)

And then the long goodbye. At first, I thought it was a little anti-climactic after Do the Strand, but as each member left the stage one by one, until finally that beautiful sheer curtain was drawn across the stage, it made perfect sense. Such class these guys have...

One quibble about this tour: I don`t know why Paul Thompson hasn`t been billed in the press as one of the original members. Seems like quite an oversight.

Anyway, the crowd was *very* enthusiastic all the way through -- many, many standing ovations -- and it was obvious that the band knew it and responded in kind. They were having a very good time up there. You will too.

If you haven`t got your tickets yet, what are you waiting for?

Frank Coleman

Roxy Music plays it again

oxy Music was about a third of the way through its set Tuesday night at the FleetBoston Pavilion, playing the elegiac ''A Song for Europe,'' which is about, like many a Roxy song, memories of a love lost. As the majestic music swelled, Bryan Ferry, dressed in a black sharkskin suit, sang, ''There is nothing to share but yesterday.''

And that is what Roxy Music - disbanded for 18 years - shared on the first date of its first US tour since the group split up. But what yesterdays: The irony and gleeful chaos of its early period; the sleek sheen, percussive accents, and romance of its middle and later periods; and, moreover, the engaging elegance of one of England's best-ever rock bands.

It recalled something the Kinks' Ray Davies once told me: ''The Kinks are the only band where you can leave a show and be over the moon with enjoyment and yet walk away disappointed.'' As with the Kinks, Roxy Music has a catalog so rich and gives a concert so (comparatively) short, there's a lot of history you miss hearing.

Still, for the most part the band picked songs wisely, with eight of the 18 selections coming from its first three albums, A-level, groundbreaking affairs all.

The concert kicked off with three gems, ''Remake/Remodel,'' ''Street Life,'' and ''Ladytron.'' In the latter, Ferry crooned, ''I use you and I abuse you. Still, you don't suspect me.'' The cad!

Of course, what was once radical in terms of structure, arrangment, and attitude has been somewhat tempered by time. The pleasure, however, has not diminished. When guitarist Phil Manzanera and saxophonist Andy Mackay leapt into the swirl of sound in the chaotic, dreamy ''Ladytron'' or the extended, bluesy version of ''My Only Love,'' heaven was in reach. This was heady rock 'n' roll without pointless solos, ensemble rock 'n' roll with a point.

Ferry is one of rock's most commanding vocalists, but a fair part of the enjoyment came during the instrumental mesh when Ferry would step back (or move to piano) and the gears of the band would lock in. Instruments once foreign to the rock mix (sax, oboe, violin) were deployed. There was a dexterous weave during both ''Avalon'' and ''Dance Away,'' and a lovely duet with Mackay and violinist Lucy Wilkins on the instrumental ''Tara.''

This incarnation of Roxy Music also included the band's original drummer, the hard-hitting Paul Thompson, and was augmented by six other players, including guitarist Chris Spedding and pianist Colin Good, the latter the bandleader on Ferry's last solo tour. Sarah Brown handled soaring and soulful backing vocals, particularly with her orgasmic emoting during ''My Only Love.'' Violinist Wilkins contributed on percussion, joining Julia Thornton. There were four sexy female dancers employed judiciously, onstage during the smoldering ''Both Ends Burning'' and back for the encores of ''Do the Strand'' and ''For Your Pleasure,'' where they were dressed as Las Vegas showgirls.

The latter song, the finale, was perfect - spooky yet comforting. ''In the morning, the things that you worried about last night will seem lighter,'' sang Ferry. ''You watch me walk away.'' Then he did, followed by Mackay and Manzanera. One by one, to rapturous applause, the remaining band members left the stage, until finally only Good was left, his spare, eerie synth parts spiraling into the summer night.

Jim Sullivan, Globe Staff, 7/19/2001

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