LIVE REVIEW: BRYAN FERRY & CO AT KINGS PARK
Bryan Ferry has embarked on a world tour, as one of the last great, remaining crooners of the baby boomer generation. Roxy Music were incredibly popular in Australia in the late 70s and early 80s, so it was no surprise to see a packed Kings Park on a glorious summer night.
Proceedings kicked off at 5pm with Stephen Cummings after Died Pretty had a late cancellation due to serious health issues. Stephen Cummings was a natural replacement, given his long history with the Day on the Green events. He performed songs from his new album Prisoner of Love which early punters enjoyed. The Models followed with a stellar performance of their back catalogue, while 80s Melbourne funk/pop band I’m Talking reunited for the A Day on the Green tour. The band featured its original members, namely Robert Goodge, Kate Ceberano, Zan Abeyratne, Barbara Hogarth and Stephen Charlesworth. Playing a selection of old tracks, it was refreshing to see Cebrano (a staple on Day on the Green lineups) in a new light.
Ferry graced the stage and made way into the first track, taking his rightful place centre stage. He covered material from his solo career such as Slave To Love and Don’t Stop The Dance. We could immediately see the bright talents of Australian saxophonist and oboist, Jorja Chalmers who provided the brass accompaniment to perfectly complement Ferry’s vibrant history of work. And of course, an honourable mention to violinist Marina Moore’s efforts which created a wall of sound on the Kings Park amphitheatre for the duration of the evening. While Chalmers and Moore’s efforts were easily recognisable during songs such as ‘Jealous Guy’ and ‘Bête Noire’ respectively, guitar legend Chris Spedding was the MVP in the nine-piece even through Ferry’s obscure solo tracks.
Ferry’s solo work brought some of the older crowd to a standing ovation very early on. Playing for over 90 minutes, it reached the point where security had to ask punters to take their seats. It wasn’t long before Ferry opened up Pandora’s box with Roxy original classics such as ‘Love Is The Drug’, ‘Avalon’, ‘More Than This’ and ‘Virginia Plain’. Things reached an emotional head with the legendary covers of ‘Jealous Guy’ and ‘Let’s Stick Together’, two tracks which Ferry truly made his own.
While we were patiently waiting for Ferry to start, my father recounted an anecdote which retrospectively was quite fitting. In 1983, Dexys Midnight Runners were opening for David Bowie on his Let’s Dance tour. During the set, frontman Kevin Rowland commented, “I don’t know why you are so fussed about Bowie. Bryan Ferry has MUCH more style.” It follows that the Dexys were kicked off that tour.
When I think about Ferry’s performance, he did it with style as one of the last remaining greats of the 20th century. He also executed it with honour and admiration to his band, both past and present, which made it even more of a privilege to catch him live.