Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
The presentation was impressive with a stage packed with equipment, films projected onto back screens and lights swooping onto the Art Deco ceiling and over the sell-out audience.
For the first half hour, there was no sign of Bryan Ferry.
Instead we had The Bryan Ferry Orchestra playing a selection of Roxy Music numbers in various jazz styles. Excellent musicianship but all instrumentals and not what I was expecting to see.
Ferry finally made his entry midway through ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, accompanied by two female backing singers, a young guitarist and a frantic girl drummer.
Suddenly the orchestra became a rock band and the decibel count soared.
The set featured songs from different stages of his career, the Roxy years, the solo albums, his 30’s period and the Dylan covers. Many of them were unfamiliar to me, and still are, as few of them were introduced by name.
In fact, Bryan Ferry’s performance itself surprised me.
He looked tired.
Despite his ostentatious outfit, floral jacket and leather trousers (at 68!), he kept a very low profile, keeping out of the spotlight and sharing little interaction with the audience on whom he turned his back on several occasions between numbers.
I know he has his image of a lounge lizard to keep up but this was carrying it too far.
The show didn’t really get going until the final 20 minutes when John Lennon’s Jealous Guy lit the fuse and the place erupted, as the hits like Virginia Plainand Let’s Stick Together, which I can just about remember from my youth, had the audience on their feet, clapping, singing and dancing.
I just wish I’d arrived at ten instead of eight o’clock.