Birmingham - Wed 20th May

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By Kirsten Rawlins

He may have just a few months to go before turning 70, but Roxy Music idol Bryan Ferry to this day remains the epitome of cool.

Review: Bryan Ferry, Symphony Hall

Bryan Ferry

Stepping out on to a darkened stage at the Birmingham Symphony Hall in trademark suited and booted fashion, the 70s and 80s rock legend looked naturally suave as ever; dressed all in black and backed by a huge band of ten people.

And while the band looked great, they sounded even better. Made up of thee highly-talented vocalists, a keyboard player, two superb guitar players, a bass player and a woman on brass who looked like she had stepped straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie, the band were edgy and skilled - and provided the perfect support for super-slick Ferry.

Their talents were particularly well showcased during a powerful instrumental performance midway through the set, which saw the artists play solos for a few moments each before coming together to reach a thrilling crescendo.

But star of the show, needless to say, was the fantastic Ferry. With passionate performances of huge 80s hits such as Slave to Love and Avalon, the UK-born star had fans singing along and cheering him on as he gave effortlessly cool renditions of the numbers, as he danced and tapped his feet in time with the beat. One loved-up couple even took the aisle during his performance of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes for a romantic slow dance.

One of the more impressive performances of the evening, however was Ferry's powerful, moving rendition of Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice - taken from his successful Dylan cover album Dylanesque. Stood singing beneath a spotlight on a darkened stage, pausing from time to time between verses to play the trademark Dylan harmonica, the star sent shivers down the spines of fans with his excellent performance.

It is a little known fact that Ferry was, in fact, a Fine Art student prior to perusing a career in music. But his artistic talent and eye for presentation shone through at every turn last night, as the stage was transformed from song to song; with sets ranging from a dramatic red velvet backdrop, to a stage filled with multicoloured flashing lights and swirling patterns beneath a huge disco ball - creating the perfect party atmosphere.

And a party is what the show later became. Saving the best for last, Ferry ended the already excellent evening with thrilling renditions of all-time favourites Let's Stick Together, Love is the Drug and Do the Strand; which saw crowds flood to the front of the stage dancing, singing and waving their arms - much to the dismay of the panicked security staff who ran after them, begging them to re-take their seats, but were very much ignored.

Ferry put on an excellent show last night. And it was certainly one to remember.

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