Ferry Rocks Dublin

By Eoin Meegan

A welcome innovation in Dublin this summer was the Trinity College Summer Series which included such headline acts as Imelda May and Grace Jones. But without doubt the main attraction of the series was the Friday night sellout gig by one time Roxy front man and solo artist Bryan Ferry.

The lounge lizard didn’t disappoint and for the entire 90 minutes he was on stage he belted out a string of hits and Ferry classics. When it comes to transmitting intimacy Ferry is hard to beat. A great songwriter and musician, and one time experimental electronic pop maestro but the thing about Bryan Ferry was always the voice, that voice, slightly slurred, a touch of velvet filtered through a thousand cigarettes, a nod to Dean Martin. He has a way of communicating a song like you were the only person in the audience. All the great hits were here: Avalon, Slave to Love, More Than This, Oh Yeah, Love is the Drug, Virginia Plain, and a haunting rendition of In Every Dream Home a Heartache. Ferry grooved on stage to some of the numbers, while playing piano for most, blowing kisses to the audience, channelling the right amount of shyness and sophistication. Then came the rousing encore that included Let’s Stick Together, in which he played harmonica, and Jealous Guy, the John Lennon classic that he has made his own.

The band was amazing too with Chris Spedding (Motor Biking fame) on lead guitar doing some very tasty solos. Notable too was violinist Marina Moore, and Jorja (pronounced Georga) Chalmers can only be described as outstanding on sax. She performed a dazzling solo on Avalon, dancing sexily beside Ferry, and then retreating to the back while touching some heartbreaking notes. Some of us have fond memories of Andy MacKay, saxophonist with Roxy, but Chalmers equalled.

Dressed in a suitably dishevelled open-necked shirt, still looking good at 72, and with that half nonchalant, half Rat Pack air that only Bryan Ferry can carry off.

The audience was comprised mostly of 50 somethings, with a sprinkling of younger people too, and everyone, young and not so young alike seeming to know all the lyrics. Despite the heavens opening about half way through the concert nobody was complaining. In fact in some way I think the rain gave it that extra touch of romance as everyone stood singing in the downpour. A legend, and a really tight band, with Ultan Conlon performing a very memorable opening set it was a night that will be hard to beat.