Bryan Ferry @ Shepherd's Bush Empire

Chants of a humble gentleman


I wouldn't call the show humble; far from it. But the gentleman himself was another deal altogether...
Undisputed king of a 12-strong music team, complete with 4 glittery back-up singers and 2 dancers, Mr Ferry travelled us afar: From Roxy Music's ingenious past, with the trademark If There Is Something, to his slow-burning present, with Olympia's promo single You Can Dance.
That last one, along with other Olympia croons, unmistakeably bore intros and hooks that resembled Ferry's past anthems, i.e. Slave To Love (which, of course, was also dutifully added to the setlist). And Kate Moss on the album cover, was a rather failed attempt to relive Roxy Music's epic cover shoots - like a friend eloquently put it, she can try lavishly sexy (like all other Roxy Music cover girls were), but she can never be cult.
Olympia songs, somehow, often followed the same course.
But they all had the gentleman's style, and heart; and accordingly, from fellow veteran Chris Spedding on guitar, to newest sensation Jorja Chalmers on sax, the band managed to capture our imagination.
The audience, quite mature in their majority, sadly underlined the fact that younger crowds hardly indulge in Ferry's magic. I just wish someone could shake them up (and I would love it if it could just be me...). The nah-nah romance of Slave to Love, or Reason or Rhyme, are hardly my style, but when he sang "I Put A Spell On You" (one of the night's numerous covers) I was, once again, hooked. And don't even get me started on Roxy Music... There's something youthfully sinister about his mature-sounding romance, no doubt.
On my way backstage, I came across the man himself. Waiting, alone, by the venue's medical centre, buttoning in silence his elegant coat. I was ready to make the decisive step and go, simply, say "thank you", when a friend of his approached and introduced his girlfriend; so I just backed out... And the gentleman got introduced with kind pleasure.
That's Bryan for ya; ever imposing in his humble presence.

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