Liverpool 1975 Review - Fri 3rd Oct

Liverpool 1975 Review
03 October 1975
Roxy - back to the roots
Liverpool, Empire - 3rd October 1975

Barbara Drillsma for 'Melody Maker'

THERE'S A feeling of getting back to the "real nitty gritty" slipping around Britain. Women's Institute cookery leaflets for basic recipes are selling like the proverbial hot cakes. Biba, the hallowed Mecca of the near-decadent, packed with unnecessary fussy extras to make life just that little more cluttered, has gone under the auctioneer's hammer, while sales at the Army and Navy Stores have risen. In music, too, a change is taking place. The contrived and cultivated is taking second place to R&B revivals - basic sounds without the trimmings. Roxy Music, who started life as a rock and roll band and then moved towards the visual contrived scene, have altered again and are reflecting the current trend.

At the opening of their tour in Liverpool on Friday, plastic palm trees and ornate backdrops were missing as the band filed onto an almost bare stage and gave one of the most encouraging performances of their career. "Sentimental Fool," a track from the new album "Siren," set the pace for the gig with the emphasis on musical quality and perfection, rather than visual extravagance. Andy MacKay and Phil Manzanera laid down a thick carpet of sound for Ferry to glide across the stage on and to re-introduce himself to the crowd. And what a change in Ferry! His voice is stronger, he appears to feel freer and he actually makes the occasional impulsive movement. His control gives way at last.

"Love Is The Drug," the new Roxy single, came, and then a run-through of two older numbers, "Bitter Sweet," and "Out Of The Blue," before Ferry and Manzanera created a tour de force with "Nightingale", a haunting emotional number which contrasted sharply with "Both Ends Burning," a real classic rocker. However, one of the best numbers on the set didn't even have Ferry on stage. "Diamond Head," from Manzanera's own album, with Andy MacKay on sax and Eddie Jobson, a now permanent session keyboard player, brought the audience to their feet. "She Sells," another new number, continued the new Roxy approach, a freer tempo with nice bass undertones from John Gustafson. appearing on stage again in his home town.

Roxy were helped along by two attractive young ladies Lorraine and Doreen - dressed in tight-fitting airforce outfits which sadly could not be seen thanks to the poor lighting which bugged the whole gig. To end the set, Roxy launched into a sequence of rousing favourites: "Virginia Plain," "Street Life," "Do The Strand," "For Your Pleasure," during which drummer Paul Thompson came into his own. With a perfect balance of old and new numbers and an apparent reappraisal of the musical content of live performances, Roxy have got together a great stage act, showing at last that they can be impressive live as well as after sessions in the studios.

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