A year without Bryan Ferry live. How to survive? Spring is showing it’s ugly face, but then a new live album of Bryan Ferry fell on the doorstep. Clouds dissapear all of a sudden, April fever comes to us again. Even our ageing hips do the fandango again. We feel the choosen one.
He did it again. And that is not to say, exclusivily Bryan Ferry. May I herald the trumpet – or the horn – for Davide Lombardi here at first. Since he is ‘stuck at the sounddesk’ Bryan Ferry finally can get heard proper, lushfull and upfront again. Live at concerts and on this live recording. What a gem he had made of this. This is not to dismiss the perfect band and line-up Ferry had achieved at the end of the second decade of our century, but something of an art wizard has done a halicon job here, and that’s Lombardi. Of course there is the usual suspect Rhett Davies here again, but Lombardi had taken it to a true next level. Ferry’s voice isn’t as ‘elephantish’ as in the old days, but that is not to be discussed or missed by any means here. Bryan Ferry, for the very first time, is sounding to the max, upfront, all the fine characteristics and prior invisible tones of paint are coming to life here on something truly new.
Starting of with The thrill of it all – what can be wrong with that anyway? – the slower pace of arrangements at first might seem odd, but immediately hearing it the second time, everything fells into place. Everything intermingles so fantastic here: the new guitarist Tom van Stiphout adds something besides good ‘ol Chris Spedding like Jeff Thall did on prior tours in the past. Sometimes it is almost Gilmourian like. You can dance had slowed down a bit also, but had become more expressive in its emotionality than on the Olympia album and tour in 2011. The new verses of more or less old songs are really adding something new. What is old when it becomes to Bryan Ferry anyway?
Without discussing it all, I like to highlight some songs. The Bogus man showcases how good of a band Ferry is surrounding. They add textures to the sound, but never overshouts Ferry’s voice, at the same time showcasing every individual ones’ quality and character with adds to the painting. These verses are true paintings. Limbo is surprising in an altered tempo. Hiroshima mon amour is a surprise from the Frantic (2002) album. Of course the fans were longing for it to be accompanied by San Siméon but that is to remain a wish for a hopefully returning future of live concerts.
Your painted smile makes me shiver, like it did so many times and years before, like the whole of the Mamouna album is. I still consider it as the best he had ever recorded solo, and an integral performance of it would suit Bryan Ferry very well with the type of voice he has nowadays. But, am I saying nowadays? Your painted smile is sounding as haunting and dark as it did in 1994/1995. It is the jewel in an already shiny crown.
The Dylan covers Dont think twice and Make you feel my love are taken to another level again, emotionally and deliveringly. This is Ferry at his best and top notch.
What the discovery of the Oseberg ship was to viking archeaologists, Bryan Ferry at the Royal Albert Hall in such a delivering is the same to me, as a Bryan Ferry fan. You always knew it should be there, somewhere, and now we have stumbled upon something promising. Something promising, worth to be excavated further. *****
1. The Thrill Of It All
2. You Can Dance
4. Out Of The Blue
5. The Bogus Man
8. Just Like You
9. Same Old Scene
10. Hiroshima Mon Amour
11. Your Painted Smile
12. Don’t Think Twice…
13. Make You Feel My Love
14. Dance Away
16. Street Life
17. Virginia Plain
18. Editions Of You