Bryan Ferry @ Colston Hall, Bristol, 05/10/2015

Bryan FerryBryan Ferry (or “Frying Beret” as Lester Bangs’ clumsy attempt at a Gallic insult has it from Carburettor Dung) has got a staying power that’s the envy of all but serial blues thieves Richards and Jagger. They, like Ferry, began their careers in entertainment shortly after the French Revolution and will be playing to stadiums of nuclear resistant insects long after the global fallout has drifted on. Alas, that is where the similarities end. Beret does not share Richards’ selfless narcotic support for fledgling South American economies. In fact, where Richards now resembles a tye-die Methuselah, Beret’s only concession to times wither seems to have been to allow his cheeks to repossess most of the landscape of his face. His dreamy Ted Hughes album sleeve days are no longer. So too is the former look. The Feret that strolls onto Colston Hall’s main stage comes served with far less leopard skin than of yore. A handful of visibly aghast ladies head back to the clubhouse upon sighting his more formal apparel, but the majority of Bristol and the South West’s baby boomers stay on for the coming rollback of the years.

Ferry’s problem of course, is selection. Artistically, he doesn’t want to trade on Roxy hits (even though it’s what the crowd wants) while understanding he can’t treat them to the entirety of Avonmore. Opening with title track "Avonmore" and "Driving Me Wild", he then clatters through "Ladytron" and two surprisingly earnest Bob Dylan covers: "Don’t Think Twice" in particular is given a soulful, 'English' touch, like speaking to his younger self.

There is limited audience exchange and some that were hoping for some personal words from the great man are clearly disappointed, but most are up on their feet like it was the first time they’d danced to them. The combination of "Avalon", "Love is the Drug" and "Virginia Plain" (a trio of songs any left of center artist would kill to paste into their catalogue) gets everyone very excited and Bry even does a little boogie himself, pleased at how it’s all going.  A chuntering "Let’s Stick Together" and "Editions of You" close it out. Worth waiting for. Great work Bry.

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