Royal Albert Hall
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Author:  Windswept2 [ Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Royal Albert Hall

Elegantly Ageing Hipsters,

Regular haunters of this hallowed cyber hall will know that W2 has been approaching this fandango with much trepidation.

Initially he was upset this wasn't a 'Bitter-Sweet' tour with TBFO and then became distressed with the set list and started praying to the Penshaw Gods for changes. At one juncture he even started to loose faith.

He needn't have worried. His prayers were answered but not in the way he anticipated. Last nights show turned out to be probably the best since AEWBF in 2013 but for reasons that were entirely unexpected. Several factors conspired to make this happen:

First off the venue. TRAH is beautiful, it has great atmosphere and the acoustics are good. It's also home ground for Bryan and he got the sort of welcome reserved for a triumphant hero. It lifted him. A smile appeared that stayed all night and he got an adrenaline shot that did something quite ethereal.

Secondly, the set list. We all know the songs but we didn't know that many songs had been subtly rearranged to make the most out of the band and to give them a new feel. Nowhere was this more evident than with 'Boys & Girls' which has morphed into a delicious cocktail that now has tones of both the 'Bitter-Sweet' and original album versions and culminates in a phenomenal, blistering guitar solo handled by new guitarist, Tom Vanstiphout. In fact there were minor changes throughout that the cognoscenti doubtless noticed and all to the good.

Thirdly, the musicianship. The fact that it was outstanding is something we've come to expect. All were quite brilliant and although , aside from Ferry, it was the fantastic Jorja Chalmers that raised the applause roof, mention must go to two changes.

The backing singers, Fonzi Thornton and Tawatha Agee are a new partnership and are the perfect vocal foil for Bryan at this stage of his career. Fonzi has a great voice and seamlessly smooths things out and Agee has all the grace and power needed to recreate those iconic moments. 'Avalon' being a perfect example.

The other new element is the amazing guitar partnership between Chris Spedding and Tom Vanstiphout. W2 has always been a huge fan of 'The Speddster'. The fact that he managed guitar duties alone over the last couple of years is a solid testimony to his talent and versatility. That said, when solo, there was always a inevitablen thinness to the sound. By introducing Vanstiphout into the band Ferry has created the best guitar duo since Chris played with the late great Mick Green. Tom has a really unique sound that is a perfect for Ferry's songs. He has a great ability to add texture and solos magnificently without being screechy and complements Spedding's playing perfectly.

Last but by no means least was the show itself.

We all know that epic concerts are about more than music. We want the theatre that goes with it and boy did we get it. Against a darkened but sophisticated back drop are hero shimmied across the stage like a great night club empresario. W2 would have thought it impossible to learn new moves at this stage of the game but our septuagenarian hero knows no boundaries . Static Ferry is gone, we've never seen him more animated but of course in that suave sophisticated way. He has even amped up his keyboard chair dancing moves.

Sartorialy he is also back on top form. Gone is that unfortunate Humperdinck jacket and he's back were he belongs in a beautifully cut suit. The Cary Grant of rock is alive and well and was in the house last night.

All in all, it was a masterclass and the crowd loved it.

In future W2 will leave all decisions to Ferry. He should never have doubted. Now, about that 'Bitter Sweet' tour .....



Author:  rendezvous [ Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

I'm so pleased you had a really good time W2.

Author:  Windswept2 [ Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

rendezvous wrote:
I'm so pleased you had a really good time W2.

Thanks rendezvous. It was terrific. Much better than the last two shows ('17,'18) - he always has a trick up his sleeve.
Yes I'd have picked different songs but somehow it all seemed so fresh. Mrs.W is layed low so I went with my youngest son (38 - God is that the youngest I've got !). He knows a lot about show business and works in film production. He's seen Roxy and Ferry a few times but commented that he's never seen a performance like it .

Author:  Smudge [ Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

And, unlike some publications, The Times employed a trained journalist to review the show! ;)

Wow. What a start. Under subterranean green light Bryan Ferry and his nine-piece band slunk on to the stage and embarked on a version of Roxy Music’s In Every Dream Home a Heartache that was almost indecently atmospheric.

Ferry sang in a sepulchral whisper, surrounded by saxophone, strings and his own dinky keyboards. After five minutes of slow-burning brilliance the audience roared along to the climactic couplet (“I blew up your body/But you blew my mind”) and the song erupted into a full-blown art-rock freakout.

Tough to follow that, but Ferry was up for the challenge in a stylish, crowd-pleasing set that — wisely, given the maturity of the audience — was dominated by Roxy favourites. At 73 he is as smoothly subversive as ever, Mephistopheles dressed by Savile Row.

He was never the most high-energy singer, which has stood him in good stead in his autumn years. His vocals on Out of the Blue and Slave to Love were all about graceful economy, like a billionaire nudging the tiller on his yacht.

Ferry also has the reputation and the bank balance to assemble one of the tightest, most talented bands you’ll see, including the quietly dazzling guitarist Chris Spedding, the formidable backing vocalists Fonzi Thornton and Tawatha Agee and the Sydney saxophonist Jorja Chalmers.

Chalmers was born in 1982, the year that Roxy Music released Avalon; with her glamorous poise and Mary Quant bob, she has been described as a Roxy album cover brought to life. She is no passive pin-up, though, as she proved with charismatic solos on Don’t Stop the Dance and Can’t Let Go. Chalmers got some of the biggest cheers of the night, and Ferry seemed happy to cede the limelight.

He knew, of course, that he’d get it back during an imperial finale that featured More Than This, Avalon and Love is the Drug. He gave us his full repertoire of knee bends and finger twirls, and that inimitable boyish yelp for the “We are flyin’ down to Rio” line in Virginia Plain.

Some of the most thrilling moments came when the avant-garde crooning gave way to rolling Californian jams on Wilbert Harrison’s Let’s Stick Together and a less familiar cover of Bob Dylan’s Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues. Ferry’s harmonica skills are as sharp as his suits, and the band levitated to meet him.

Author:  Windswept2 [ Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

Mes Amis,
Smudge is correct. The press reviews are off the Richter scale.
Two days on and W2 is still buzzing.
It’s a shame the show wasn’t filmed. It truly was a spectacle. He leaves his peers for dead.
It would be great to have a tour documentary made at some juncture.
The level of precision and rehearsal that must go into getting something to this level is doubtless truly impressive.

Author:  Oberon [ Fri Jun 21, 2019 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

Chers amis!

Voilà, W2, comme J'ai dit; the groundhog set list works! For the broad audience as well as for us the eccentric ones.
By the way, to follow our hero have more benefits than going to the concerts. Last year me and my son combined the Paris show with a day at Roland Garros. Twice I have been to Poland - thanks to BF!
How do you know if a show is filmed or not? Anyway, isn't it high time for a new live cd/dvd?
Salutations à tous!

Author:  avalon_eyes [ Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

But what’s the tour book like?

Author:  Oberon [ Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

Cher Rendez-vous,
comme toujours! Nothing new, but of course I bought it anyway.

Author:  Windswept2 [ Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

Oberon wrote:
........the groundhog set list works! For the broad audience as well as for us the eccentric ones.
..........Last year me and my son combined the Paris show with a day at Roland Garros.........
How do you know if a show is filmed or not? Anyway, isn't it high time for a new live cd/dvd?
Salutations à tous!

Cher Oberon,

Well, it wasn’t quite ‘Groundhog’ - about 50% was new - but what really made the difference were the arrangements and the show.

Like you, historically W2’s travels and those of our hero have coincided.

Windswept has seen him all over the world - London -Paris - NYC - Vienna - Dublin - Brighton - Sydney - Frejus etc... The key learning being, it’s the venue that counts. It inspires him and with the correct staging and acoustics, they can give it the full flourish !

This is were venues like TRAH, Vienna Opera House and The Brighton Dome come into their own.

The last three times W2 has seen him in London it has been at the Apollo, The Palladium and TRAH and Windswept has to say, at ‘The Albert’, the band and he just grow six feet !

As for the filming - unfortunately, I didn’t see any cameras.

Sad because it was an epic show.



Author:  Oberon [ Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Royal Albert Hall

Cher W2,
tu as raison. The venues are very important. RAH is a fantastic place with all its history. I was fortunate to attend the show with the jazzband. That might well be the best concert I have ever been to. Another outstanding example is Odeon Atticus Herodes in Athens; on the top of Acropolis under the stars - also for BF and his band it was something special.
Bonne journée!

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