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; remember seeing Chris play Newcastle Mayfair around the time of his hit “Motorbikin'”). 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.
Archive for the ‘Roxy Music’ Category
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.
Bryan Ferry Sage Gateshead Nov 10th 2013. Laura and I went to see Bryan Ferry at the Sage last night. Laura has recently become a big fan of Bryan’s version of “These Foolish Things” and has also been listening to early Roxy. Bryan sold out two nights at the Gateshead venue, and we attended the second concert. This tour seems Bryan performing with his own jazz orchestra and band, drawing songs from throughout his career. The show started with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra playing jazz interpretations of Roxy classics, before they were joined by the man himself, resplendent in a period-style floral smoking jacket. The show is based in 20s jazz; think Great Gatzby, art deco; and lounge suits.
Set 1: The Bryan Ferry Orchestra: Do the Strand; Slave to Love; The Bogus Man; Avalon; Just Like You; Young and Beautiful; The Way You Look Tonight. The band is joined by Bryan Ferry. The Only Face; Reason or Rhyme; Same Old Blues; Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues; Don’t Stop the Dance; Oh Yeah; Carrickfergus; New York City; Take a Chance with Me; Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door; A Song for Europe.
After a short interval Bryan and band rolled out the classics. I’ve sometimes felt that Bryan looked awkward on stage, trying to be too cool, and not quite making it. Not the case last night. He looked completely at home, just as the songs sounded right, and fitted well with their new interpretation. Bryan has managed to blend all aspects of his music into a career-spanning show that, at just short of three hours including interval, sent everyone home pleased and satisfied.
Set 2: The Bryan Ferry Orchestra: I Thought; This Island Earth. Bryan returns. Out of the Blue; When She Walks in the Room; Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Jealous Guy; Casanova; Street Life; Love Is the Drug; Let’s Stick Together; Hold On I’m Coming; Shame, Shame, Shame; Editions of You; Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.
On the way out we heard someone say: “the coolest guy on the planet”. And last night I might have just about agreed with that.
Bryan Ferry As Time Goes By Newcastle City Hall 1999
Over 20 years since I last saw Bryan Ferry solo in concert, Marie and I went along to the City Hall to see him on his “As Time Goes By” tour. He had just released the album of the same name, which featured Bryan singing old standards. The middle of the road nature of the album made me think twice about attending this gig, but Marie quite fancied it so we bought a couple of tickets. Bryan, as usual, performed well, and I quite enjoyed the concert which mixed the standards with a few Roxy Music favourites. Bryan had no support act for the tour, and performed the show accompanied by a band and string quartet. The show opened with a harp solo followd by the string quartet and the band playing a song before Bryan joined them on stage. There was an interval where the band played Sweet Georgia Brown, while Bryan had a short breather. Quite interesting, and different, and very well done. I always find Bryan an interesting and intriguing performer. He carries the image of the cool sophisticated guy, but onstage he often strikes me as being slightly awkward and uncomfortable, and comes over as quite a shy person. His vocal performance is always impeccable, and I have to admit his choice of songs is excellent, even if some of them are middle of the road. Setlist would be something like: The Way You Look Tonight; Love Me or Leave Me; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Chance Meeting; Carrickfergus; Where or When; Bitter Sweet; Out of the Blue; The Only Face; As Time Goes By; Sunset; September Song; Falling in Love Again; Just One of Those Things; Avalon; Jealous Guy; Let’s Stick Together; Love Is the Drug; Do the Strand