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Concert Reviews:
Bryan Ferry rides a Roxy road at the Fox Theatre
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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DETROIT -- It was billed as a Bryan Ferry concert, but it was for all intents and purposes a Roxy Music show when the British singer played Thursday night, Aug. 4, at the Fox Theatre.

And no one in the nearly sold-out crowd would tell you there was anything wrong with that.

Fifteen of the night's 25 songs hailed from what Ferry referred to as "the mysterious past of Roxy Music," from the big hits ("Love Is The Drug," "Virginia Plain," "Avalon") to some deep cuts that were truly thrilling to hear again. Ferry's 10-piece band delivered those, and the rest of the evening's repertoire, with all the sophisticated nuance and texture they required while the man himself, playing occasional piano and harmonica, fronted the ensemble with his usual understated elegance and a suave, Bond-like assurance that fit his relaxed attire of dark sports coat and slacks and open-collar shirt.

The 70-year-old Ferry's voice was buried into the mix at times, but that seldom dampened the proceedings over the show's crisp 100 minutes. His solo career didn't get short shrift, either as Ferry offered up high points such as "Driving Me Wild," "Slave To Love," "Don't Stop the Dance" and "Bete Noire," as well as his covers of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" as well as extended takes of Wilbert Harrison's "Let's Stick Together" and John Lennon's "Jealous Guy."

But it was the Roxy Music B-matter that really stood out, whether it was the compact urgency of "Beauty Queen, " "Ladytron" and "Oh Yeah!" or stretched-out, sometimes proggy renditions of "Stronger Through The Years," "Take A Chance With Me" and "Re-Make/Re-Model," which allowed plenty of room for the band's soloists -- notably Danish guitarist Jacob "Quist" Quistgaard and saxophonist Jorja Chalmers -- to embellish the tunes.

Only a truncated version of "More Than This," which never really fell into a groove, failed to live up to the show's standard of excellence. A frenetic "Do The Strand" and a propulsive "Both Ends Burning" provided a strong closing, however, and as the ebullient crowd left the Fox its warm glow of nostalgia was fortified by the proof that Ferry has remained strong through all these years.



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