Edinburgh Evening News - Mon 5th Sep

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Bryan Ferry
Castle Esplanade
4/5 ****

Despite qualifying for his free bus pass, and fast approaching his 66th birthday, Bryan Ferry is pretty far from your average pensioner. With an estimated £30 million in the bank, Kate Moss adorning the front of his relatively new album (Olympia) and with a 28-year-old girlfriend (former PR girl, Amanda Sheppard) on his arm, too, it's little wonder the smooth and sophisticated singer looked in fine fettle as he took to the Castle Esplanade stage on Saturday night.     

A sharp contrast to Arcade Fire - the Canadian indie-kings who performed here last Thursday - this two-hour show (complete with 20-minute coffee break) presented the kind of songs, stagecraft and effortless charm the Montreal outfit will do well to achieve during their career.

The audience were in high spirits, too; up off their seats from song one and maintaining their energy levels throughout. The set blended a canny mix of rare Roxy Music tunes (Turn You On), tracks from Olympia (Ferry's best solo material in quite some time) and the occasional cover (Neil Young's Like A Hurricane is given a good polish).

The sight of Ferry's scantily-clad female dancers and sequin-shining backing singers, meanwhile, resulted in a few husbands getting a nudge from their better halves. And the rest of the crooner's super-slick band would have dazzled, too, if the stage lighting hadn't been so poor. Ferry, though - dressed in a black suit jacket and black scarf - cut the figure of a man in no real rush. Switching occasionally between front-of-stage and piano (perched up back), he spoke warmly, although infrequently, to the crowd, and the arty, soft-focus imagery projected overhead was a nice touch.

Despite the love emanating from the audience, however, it wasn't until around the 80-minute mark that the band's energy levels truly kicked into gear. For when Editions Of You and Love Is The Drug spilled from the speakers, it sounded as fresh as the stiff breeze blowing through the Esplanade.

No real histrionics, then; no melodrama or egotistical speeches, either. Just another laidback night out in the company of a man who knows how to put on a show . . . and wear a suit.

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