Roxy Music Newcastle Arena 12th June 2001
Roxy Music reformed after a lengthy absence and in 2001 they were touring across the UK again, calling at Newcastle Arena on 12th June. Marie and I went along to see them again; it was 22 years since we last saw the band perform. The tour reunited four original members Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson. The core members were augmented by Colin Good (piano and musical director), Zev Katz (bass), Julia Thornton (percussion and keyboards), Lucy Wilkins (violin), Sarah Brown (backing vocals) and Chris Spedding (second guitar). Support was singer Rosalie Deighton. We were a bit unsure how the old songs would sound and whether they could withstand the test of time (and the acoustics of a cavernous arena) but we needn’t have worried. They were just great.
It was good to see Roxy Music live again, and the concert (and indeed the tour) was a massive success with critics and fans. The set included many of the old favorites, along with some new tracks. Setlist: Re-make/Re-model, Street Life, Ladytron, While My Heart Is Still Beating, Out Of The Blue, A Song For Europe, My Only Love, Oh Yeah, Both Ends Burning, Tara, Avalon, If There Is Something, More Than This, Mother Of Pearl, Jealous Guy, Editions Of You, Virginia Plain. Encores: Love Is The Drug, Do The Strand, For Your Pleasure.
That brings we to the end of my reflections on Roxy Music in concert. I saw Roxy Music once more, in 2011, and blogged about that concert at the time.
Roxy Music Newcastle Arena 12th June 2001
Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 10th May 1979
Roxy Music took a break from recording and touring and went their separate ways in 1976 after the release of their fifth album “Siren”, with several of the band members going on to follow solo projects. However, in 1979 they decided to regroup with the core members Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera, and Paul Thompson being augmented by Paul Carrack (from Ace) on keyboards, and Gary Tibbs (ex Vibrators and late of Adam and the Ants) on bass. Eddie Jobson was recording and touring with his own band UK at the time, and did not join the reformed Roxy. They released a new album “Manifesto” and went out on tour, calling at Newcastle City Hall on 10th and 11th May 1979. Dave Skinner played keyboards on the tour, rather than Paul Carrack who played on the album. I went to the first night at Newcastle. Setlist: Manifesto; Trash; Out of the Blue; Angel Eyes; A Song for Europe; Still Falls the Rain; Mother of Pearl; Ain’t That So; Stronger Through the Years; Ladytron; In Every Dream Home a Heartache; Love Is the Drug; Editions of You; Do the Strand; Re-Make/Re-Model. Virginia Plain was played some nights, but according to the setlist I found, it wasn’t played at the first Newcastle show, which will no doubt have been a disappointment for me. Support came from The Tourists who featured local lad Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox. My memories of the 1979 show are scant. I recall it being a good gig, but not quite at the level of craziness of the 1974 and 1975 shows. I also remember being unfamiliar with the new material from “Manifesto” and missing some of the older songs. Roxy Music soon disbanded once more, and it was another 22 years before I saw them in concert again. I’ll complete my Roxy ramblings by writing about that gig tomorrow.
Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 13th October 1975
“….Boy meets girl where the beat goes on
Stitched up tight, can’t shake free
Love is the drug, got a hook on me
Oh oh catch that buzz
Love is the drug I’m thinking of
Oh oh can’t you see
Love is the drug for me…” (Love is the Drug, Roxy Music, 1975)
Everyone I knew was either going along to this gig, or wanted to go and was trying to score a ticket. This was largely as a result of the massive singalong power of “Love is the Drug” which was played everywhere I went, and always resulted in a massive scrum of dancing on the ballroom floor. Roxy were on tour again, and stopped off for two sold out nights at Newcastle City Hall. I attended the second night.
Support came from the Sadistic Mika Band, a Japanese rock group who received quite a bit of publicity at the time and appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test. This was another great performance by Roxy Music. The band were augmented by a couple of female backing singers who danced along with Bryan Ferry just as we had all seen in the video for “Love is the Drug”. Bryan, Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera were all recording solo material at the time and some of this was featured in the concert.
Setlist: Sentimental Fool; The Thrill of It All; Love Is the Drug; Mother of Pearl; Bitter-Sweet; Nightingale; She Sells; Street Life; Out of the Blue; Whirlwind; Sea Breezes; Both Ends Burning; For Your Pleasure; Diamond Head (Phil Manzanera solo song); Wild Weekend (Andy Mackay solo song); The ‘In’ Crowd; Virginia Plain; Re-Make/Re-Model; Do the Strand; Editions of You; A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Bryan Ferry solo cover of the Dylan classic).
Roxy line-up: Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay (oboe and sax), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Paul Thompson (drums), Eddie Jobson (keyboards, synth and violin), John Gustafson (bass).
Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 27th & 28th October 1974
It was 1974 and Roxy Music were on a roll. Things were very different from the last time I saw the fledgling band perform at the Lincoln pop festival jamboree in 1972. In the two years that had passed Brian Eno had left the band, they had hit the singles charts with “Virginia Plain”, “Pyjamarama” (wonderful and one of my favourites) and “Street Life”, and were just about to release their fourth album. Eno had been replaced by local hero Eddie Jobson, whose violin virtuosity I had marvelled at when Fat Grapple stormed out local Locarno ballroom, and John Wetton was the new guy on bass, fresh from prog super maestros King Crimson. So all was good in the Roxy camp, and the band were truly at the height of their powers. There is a view that Roxy were never really Roxy again after the genius that is Eno left the fold, but it doesn’t hold water in my book. Yes Eno was a vital part of the early band, but the 1974 line-up was strong enough to stand on its own, and although Eddie Jobson may not have seemed as enigmatic as his predecessor, his musical skills are without question. I’d missed a couple of Roxy tours, and realised how foolish I had been, so made sure that I went along this time. They played two sold out nights at Newcastle City Hall. I went along with a group of mates to the first night, and we were so knocked out by Roxy’s performance that a couple of us decided to go along the following night and try and buy tickets outside. We succeeded, and this is one of the few occasions where I went to see a band two nights in a row (and enjoyed both concerts). Amazingly, I was in the same row of the stalls both nights. Bryan Ferry was at his best, stylish and cool, although sometimes looking a little nervous and uncomfortable on stage. And Eddie Jobson was simply brilliant. Oh and the songs: “Mother of Pearl” a beautiful classic, the dark brooding menace of “In Every Dream Home” which we thought to be curious, funny and shocking all at the same time, and the hits “Street Life” and “Virginia Plain”; the crowd went completely bonkers. By the last encore of “Do the Strand” the entire City Hall was going absolutely nuts, singing and dancing along. Great memories. Can I go back and relive this one please? :)
Setlist: Prairie Rose; Beauty Queen; Mother of Pearl; Out of the Blue; A Song for Europe; Three and Nine; If It Takes All Night; In Every Dream Home a Heartache; If There Is Something; All I Want Is You; The Bogus Man; Street Life; Virginia Plain; Editions of You. Encore: Re-Make/Re-Model; Do the Strand.
Roxy line-up: Bryan Ferry (vocals and ultra cool suaveness) Andy Mackay (oboe and sax), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Paul Thompson (drums), Eddie Jobson (keyboards, synth and violin), John Wetton (bass).
Support came from the excellent, under-rated and almost never mentioned these days Jess Roden, who was a great soul / R&B singer.
Roxy Music the Lincoln Festival 27th May 1972
I will spend the next few days trying to recall as much as I can about the seven or so occasions on which I have seen Roxy Music live. I first saw a new and relatively unknown Roxy Music at the Lincoln Festival on 27th May 1972. This was their first major performance and only the seventh time the band had played together. They appeared early on the Saturday afternoon, sandwiched between sets by Locomotive GT (a Hungarian rock band who were pretty big during the ’70s) and Heads, Hands and Feet. The Roxy line-up at the time was Bryan Ferry (vocals and keyboards), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (sax and oboe), Paul Thompson (drums), Eno (synths) and Graham Simpson (bass). I recall that there was quite a buzz about the band at the time, largely as a result of their connections with King Crimson. Bryan Ferry had auditioned as lead singer for King Crimson, and impressed Robert Fripp and Pete Sinfield, although they felt that his voice was not suitable for Crimson. They went on to help Roxy Music obtain a record contract, and Sinfield produced their first, wonderful, album. The sound at the festival wasn’t great; it was windy and the mix was poor. But it was obvious even at this early stage in their career that there was something new, different and unique about this band. The guys all dressed outrageously and looking at pictures of Roxy taken at the festival you would think they had come from another planet, and they all look so young! The image here is from a Sounds poster of the time and was taken at the festival. And the music sounded very different to anything else around at the time. Eno’s use of synths, Ferry’s vocals, and Mackay’s oboe all gave Roxy their own distinctive sound. Roxy Music were recording tracks for their first album at the time of this appearance, and it was well before the release of their first single “Virginia Plain”. Their short set is likely to have consisted of the following songs: 2HB; Would You Believe?; Sea Breezes, Ladytron, If There Is Something!, Re-Make/Re-Model, The Bob (Medley), Virginia Plain. Roxy provided a short interlude of majestic bright glam/art rock in what was an excellent line-up, but a very wet windy and cold weekend. Looking back, and although I didn’t realise it at the time, there were glimpses of the greatness and richness of musical texture which would follow. Foolishly, I saw Roxy Music simply as a quirky weird new band, and because of this I left it a couple of years before I saw them again, which I now regret. The next time I saw Roxy Music was on their 1974 tour, and I’ll reflect on that tomorrow.
A day at the Edinburgh festival with Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand (well two of them) 22nd August 2006
A day at the Edinburgh festival with Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand 22nd August 2006
The Edinburgh festival is an amazingly broad all-encompassing set of events, and we often find ourselves going along to one or two. In August 2006 we spent a day up in Edinburgh, and managed to take in two musical events, each of a different sort. David, Laura and I drove up to Edinburgh in the late morning, to make sure that we arrived for our first event, which was part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand were due to discuss lyric writing, as part of the children’s programme. Speaking at the time Kapranos said: “We are looking forward to performing for, and talking to, the kids at such a great event. We might even give a few secrets away”, and the director of the children’s programme at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Karen Mountney, added “We wanted to create a family event where young people could be inspired by the best in the business.” The event started at 4.30pm in a small theatre on the book festival village. It had sold out very quickly and the place was packed with 500 young people eager to meet some musical heroes close up. Frontman Alex Kapranos and guitarist Nick McCarthy spent an hour telling the young fans all about their songs and how they write them. They sat on a small stage surrounded by guitars and a piano, which the duo used to illustrate their points and play short pieces from their songs. Kapranos: “I have always felt that songwriting and lyrics were seen as the poorer cousins of the literature world, but that’s not necessarily the case. The greatest figure in Scottish literature was not primarily known for his poetry, but for his song-writing – Robert Burns – and there has been a longevity to what he says. Lyrics are another side of literature.” He added: “When it comes to song writing, there are not any distinct rules – there isn’t any right of wrong way to go about it. Some of the best things you do are mistakes. I didn’t have any music training – most of song writing is messing about till it sounds good.” (from a review on http://www.gigwise.com/ at the time). I like intimate events like this one, where you get the chance to hear musicians speak, and always find them very interesting and enlightening. After the event Laura and David joined a line to get their festival brochures signed by the two guys. I had to go and move the car…The next part of our day was very different; we were going to see Radiohead in concert at Meadowbank stadium. Support came from Beck, who we sadly missed because of our trip to the book festival (still, it was worth it). Radiohead took to the stage shortly after we arrived, and from opener ‘Airbag’ the crowd were simply enthralled. This was the first time I saw Radiohead, and to be honest I didn’t really get them at the time, although Laura and David were, and still are, massive fans of the band. The stage backdrop featured a large and fractured image of Thom Yorke, in front of which he wriggled around squeezing perfect vocals and emotion from his wiry frame. The set included classics like ‘Karma Police’ and ‘Paranoid Android’ and tracks which were new at the time such as ‘Videotape’ and ‘Bodysnatchers’. The magnificent ‘Creep’ ended their two-hour set and was the anthem of the evening. The large crowd was pretty unruly at times, with Thom having to stop the show at one point. A good gig, and a great ending to the day. Laura thought it was one of the best gigs she had been to, and was knocked out by Yorke’s vocals. I’ve seen Radiohead a couple of times since then, and I am beginning to count myself a fan now.
Setlist: Airbag; 2+2=5; The National Anthem; My Iron Lung; Morning Bell; Videotape; Nude; Lucky; The Gloaming; Where I End And You Begin; Paranoid Android; All I Need; Pyramid Song; Fake Plastic Trees; I Might Be Wrong; Idioteque; How To Disappear Completely. Encore 1: You And Whose Army?; Bodysnatchers; Just; Karma Police. Encore 2: There There; True Love Waits/Everything In Its Right Place; Creep.
It seemed to take forever before we were allowed out of the car park; they held us back until the crowds cleared. We then had a couple of hour drive home, arriving back in the early hours of the morning after a long, tiring, but exciting day.