the Philly/Camden show on the 19th and I`ve taken a couple of days
to ruminate on how to report upon it. The day after the show my
neighbor asked me "How was the show -- did it change your life?"
I answered "no" while expressing amazement that anybody
would think that any musical/art performance would change my life.
Fuggedaboutit (as we say in Philly), not gonna happen and why should
Viewed from about 12 rows back center left it was a thoroughly
enjoyable performance that -- at its high points -- brought on a
deep reflective satisfaction that echoed across 25+ years of listening
to Roxy. It brought back memories of Country Life tour gigs and
evoked undeniable feelings of getting old and living a middle aged-life
that is eons removed from the last time I saw Roxy. What I found
perhaps most striking was how old the audience was. I joked with
some 30-year old friends that this was probably the last rock concert
they would ever attend where they would be the youngest people in
the crowd. We laughed, but we all knew it was true. That`s not to
say the audience wasn`t responsive and appreciatitive and totally
into the music. We were simply very old. Across the aisle from me
a guy around 50 sat calmly reading a book while waiting for the
show to start. He knew why he had bought his tix waaaaaaay back
in March. Pre-show hoopla was not why he came. He came for the music.
I`m sure he wasn`t disappointed.
You all now the set list by now so I won`t reiterate except to
say that THANK GOD we got to experience Virginia Plain given that
we lost out on Mother of Pearl. The set list was not too short,
but it was right at the lower limit of acceptability. Anything less
would have been too little.
Quick comments. BF`s voice was great all night, but sometimes it
got lost in the mix a bit. Andy was great but often got lost abit
in the mix. Phil was very good (Ladytron especially) but the solo
at the end of Both Ends Burning did not equal what`s on the BBC/Glasgow
recording (but SOME of that might relate to a less than crystal
clear live mix). Spedding looks like he has lived a very exhausting
life over the past 25 years, but his solo on My Only Love was emotionally
wrenching and moving and incredibly memorable. The bass player was
ok but nowhere close to how great he THOUGHT he was. The rest of
the back up band was very good and delivered the goods without a
Of course, the real treat of the show was the performance of TGPT.
The mix on his cymbals could have been a tad louder, but the sound
of his snare and toms and bass was superb and brought to the fore
his incredible skill in laying down a beat AND creating fills that
emphasize exactly what needs emphasis in the context of a song.
He made you realize the importance of his role in creating the Classic
Roxy Sound but who should be surprised about that? The real revelation
was how he took all the post-Manifesto material and made it come
alive in ways that made it impossible to concieve why he couldn`t
have excelled as the drummer on F&B and Avalon. His treatments
of Heart/Beating and Oh Yeah were superb. And he has taken Jealous
Guy and made the drums one of the most evocative elements of the
song (in a song that has no shortage of evocative elements). His
performance was so skilled and nuanced and right that it beggars
the imagination to contemplate why it was thought necessary/desirable
to replace him after Manifesto. But life is filled with such after-the-fact
unexplainables and Roxy is about life....
In the end, what will stay with me from the show and live in my
memory is the feeling I had during Out of the Blue. Past and Present
melded into one. It was 1974 again and it was right here right now.
I wasn`t transformed. I was lost in the moment and the memory. The
rest of the show was a great concert. Out of the Blue was something
different. Pale blue eyes. Throw away lines. It rang true....