Minneapolis: Reunited Roxy Music's romantic rock lacks heartbeat - Tue 31st Jul

Minneapolis: Reunited Roxy Music's romantic rock lacks heartbeat
31 July 2001

From Jim Meyer / Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Never known for a great sense of humor, Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry did provide one unintended chuckle Tuesday night at Minneapolis' Northrop Auditorium when he sang "I will never lie down while my heart is still beating."

At the time, that heart could not have been beating real hard. For the early portion of its 90-minute show, England's Roxy Music, the grand gentlemen of adventurous romantic rock, made this stop on its 30th anniversary tour feel like just another night. Despite a few high moments and a rousing finale, overall the show possessed little of the passion and graceful balance associated with the band that wooed America with the frisky "Love Is the Drug," and the heavenly "Avalon."

It's not surprising that the group is not in top shape. Although Roxy Music has not recorded or toured in almost 20 years, demand to see the group was still fairly strong. Groups such as this that still employ full instrumentation, and a little understatement, have attained an almost classical-music status compared to today's electronified pop and simplistic aggressive rock.

Roxy Music rewarded the 4,000 longtime fans with a set covering its entire career. Ferry, guitarist Phil Manzanera, saxophonist Andy Mackay and drummer Paul Thompson were augmented by six additional singers and players, plus featured guest vocalist Yanick Etienne, who re-created her recorded cameos on "Avalon" and "Dance Away." While she added a touch of class, four go-go girls added the sizzle, strategically employed during up-tempo tunes such as "Both Ends Burning" and the encore "Do the Strand."

Manzanera and guest guitarist Chris Spedding were the main attractions for racing show starters such as "Re-make/Re-model" and "Street Life," that barreled along leaving Ferry to catch up and catch breath. But the mish-mash of sounds on "Out of the Blue" seemed to indicate the group members were not fully in touch with one another.

Roxy did finally rise to expected heights on "My Only Love." With Ferry behind the piano, the band stepped aside to allow the vocalist to fully enter the song's spirit, then the players gradually rejoined the flow with the kind of considerate interchange that was often missing during the rock numbers. But at many other times, such as the haunting "In Every Dream Home a Heartache," Ferry seemed unable or unwilling to explore the song's full character.

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