danceable solution triumphs again
so they're really old. The singer dances like a drunk uncle at a
wedding. The guitarist looks like the bloke with a beard out of
Rentaghost. They can only really have got back together for the
money. And the really interesting one left in 1973. Oh yes, we know
all about Roxy Music, don't we?
But such cynical thoughts didn't last very long last night. About
ten seconds, actually, as the curtain rose (yes there was a curtain
- this is Roxy Music, remember?) on a stunning rendition of 1972's
ReMake/Re-Model, the first track from the Very first Roxy album,
and archive footage shot past on a projected backdrop. Forget the
band's long journey into the middle of the road; this was the sound
that galvanised the charts in the 1970s and whose reverberations
are being felt even today.
Then they did Street Life. Then Ladytron. Then ... well, you get
the picture. If I'd been asked for a dream Foxy Music set list as
I went in, it would have been perilously close to this one.
The sound in the cavernous Arena - to which this was my first visit
- was razor sharp. Bryan Ferry, his witty words still ringing true
on the band's first tour for 18 years, sang beautifully throughout.
And the endlessly inventive solos of guitarist Phil Manzanera and
saxophonist Andy Mackay were the perfect backdrop.
Original drummer Paul Thompson is also back. His relentless battering
was a key ingredient of the old band and it was great to hear him
Sure, this was pure nostalgia but, as Manzanera has pointed out,
who else is playing this music? Roxy's curse is to have influenced
entire waves of imitators by making records so peculiarly distinctive
that few have dared to re-record the songs.
And what songs! For nearly two hours, they cranked out the classics.
If There Is Something, Editions Of You, A Song For Europe, Mother
Of Pearl, Love Is The Drug, Both Ends Burning ... oh, and they did
Jealous Guy as well.
The ten-piece band included Nottingham's own Lucy Wilkins whose
electrifying violin solo on Out Of The Blue and beautiful duet with
Mackay on the instrumental Tara drew the cheers of the crowd.
was good to be reminded just how creepy they could be, too: In Every
Dream Home A Heartache, a weird love song to an inflatable doll
with consumer society as its real target, was as potent as ever.
Oddly, it was the softer More Than This which brought the crowd
to its feet but the rapturous reaction brought out the best in an
obviously delighted group. They even brought out the dancing girls
for Do The Strand. Then the sombre, Enoesque For Your Pleasure left
the crowd dazzled, the band exiting one by one as singer Sarah Brown
repeated its strange closing mantra:
"Ta ra ta ra"
They'll be back, I reckon. If you know what's good for you, you'll
be there as well.
SEAN HEWITT, Nottingham