Bryan’s back in town and the Ferry fans are out in force; it seems unlikely that a bleached blonde in a blingy black blouse will anywhere to be seen outside of the Usher Hall tonight.  And that’s as it should be; after all, septuagenarian sex symbols are in short supply and who knows when this one will pass this way again.

Ferry arrives on stage, still looking every inch the elegant flâneur in a rumpled suit and open-necked shirt.  His smile remains boyish, eyes twinkling from under those famous languid lids and if there is a touch more grey in his carefully coiffured quiff, then that is only to be expected.   The evening opens strongly with The Main Thing, Ladytron and Slave To Love.  The set then settles down to a sedate pace with some of the slower songs from the Ferry/Roxy catalogue before  Re-Make/Re-Model picks things up again and takes us right back to Roxy Music’s 1972 debut; Jorja Chalmers on sax and one-time Womble Chris Spedding on guitar convincingly covering Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera’s sax and guitar parts.

And then there is In Every Dream Home A Heartache, Ferry’s love song to an inflatable doll.  There ought to be scope for Bryan to breathe new life into this; you would think that singing it as a 72 year-old would bring some change of perspective or added pathos but tonight it just seems awkward.

Ferry spends much of this section of the show behind an electric piano, seemingly because it affords him an opportunity to sit down rather than any particular requirement or desire on his part to play it.  The slow numbers continue: More Than This, Béte Noir, Bitter-Sweet.  A couple of Ferry’s classic American Songbook covers, say Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, These Foolish Things or As Time Goes By, might have helped here, retaining the slow pace but varying the tone.  And where are the Dylan songs?  Ferry is one of Bob’s best interpreters and earlier shows on the tour have seen Simple Twist Of Fate and Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright given an airing but they are absent tonight.

All is forgiven though for the final section of the show: Love Is The Drug, Virginia Plain and Let’s Stick Together.  Bryan is back on his feet, sashaying across the stage almost like it’s 1974.  Jealous Guy and Do The Strand provide the expected encores but a cover of Sam and Dave’s Hold On, I’m Comin’ is a welcome surprise.  Ferry’s stamina may be waning but his power to charm remains undimmed.  As the blingy black blouses spill out to the street, I can’t help but wonder if this will be the last time they’ll fall under his spell.

Setlist 

The Main Thing

Slave to Love

Ladytron

Out of the Blue

A Waste Land / Windswept

Zamba

Oh Yeah

If There Is Something

Re-Make/Re-Model

Avalon

In Every Dream Home a Heartache

More Than This

Bête Noire

Bitter-Sweet

Love Is the Drug

Virginia Plain

Let’s Stick Together

Jealous Guy

Editions of You

Do the Strand

Hold On, I’m Comin’

John Scott

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