TVD Live: Bryan Ferry and LP at the Lincoln Theatre, 7/23

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | In a year that began with the death of David Bowie and was followed by a seeming succession of crushing musical losses, it becomes more important to cherish the influential figures we’re still lucky to have among us.

If it’s hard to think of Bryan Ferry as endangered, it’s simply because, at an astonishing 70, he still has much of the cool élan, style and verve he had when he led Roxy Music two generations ago. With only some grey flecks amid his full head of hair and a stance that would allow him to retain a James Bond role had he been ever been so cast, he seems to have lost only a tad of his upper register in the first of two shows at the Lincoln Theatre in D.C. Saturday night.

In those moments he threw it to the soulful vocalists who bolstered his reedy voice throughout, Fonzi Thornton and Bobbie Gordon (who did that high-flying solo to close “Avalon”). With a wealth of classics as well as surprising choices from his Roxy days as well as from his solo career, the show was more an overview than an attempt to sell his most recent album. As such, there were just three selections from the sturdy Avonmore from 2014—two to start the 21-song set and another not long after.

Instead, the dreamy “Slave to Love,” just three songs in, led to Roxy songs both well known (“Oh Yeah”) and less so (“Ladytron” from the first album). He threw in a spare, quite lovely reading of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” over pianist Paul Beard and offered another early Roxy delight that hadn’t been part of his set of late, the explosive “In Every Dream Home a Heartache.”

Roxy had proved it could turn “Like a Hurricane” into its own lovely thing, starting with a Ferry croon that drew on Neil Young’s wistful lyric, followed by inventive sax playing and a succession of electric guitars. Those chores were handled here well by a talented 8-piece band that included a highlight in the versatile Jorga Chalmers on sax and guitarists Jacob Quistgaard and Neil Hubbard.

For his other covers, Ferry’s reliable, loose-limbed cover of “Let’s Stick Together” in the encore was paired with a sterling “Jealous Guy” below a stationary mirror ball, throwing points of light into the theater. Ferry stood to sing half the time, he also sat at a keyboard to play and more than once pulled out a harmonica play.

Ferry wasn’t unfriendly, he just didn’t have much to say to the crowd except for the occasional “Thank you very much, indeed,” and to note that the show (which led to two at the theater) had been canceled or postponed at least a couple of times going back to 2014. Ferry’s adherence to old Roxy things extended to the merchandise table, where you could by the models-in-underwear women of the Country Life cover in an oversized umbrella for $90.

In concerts, Ferry was apparently so fond of the Andy McKay instrumental “Tara” that used to give him a break in shows, that he’s put that in his current tour as well, before he comes back with “Take a Chance on Me.” There was a pileup of favorites to close the show and bring the theater audience to its feet including Roxy Music’s “More Than This,” the inevitable “Love is the Drug” and the first single that paid homage, at least to the locale, “Virginia Plain.”

Kicking off that spate of songs was another from the first album: “If There is Something,” which was covered, we are reminded, by David Bowie in Tin Machine.

How many stylish, artful rockers have been influenced by Ferry? Too many to count. One has probably been the opener of the show, LP, a talented songwriter and striking singer from Long Island.

Backed by a three-piece band that kept their heads down, Laura Pergolizzi, presented a number of catchy songs. She knows crafting, having written for Rihanna, Christina Aguilera and whose “Muddy Waters” is featured in the season four finale of Orange is the New Black.

She also knows how to whistle, using it on a few songs, as Ferry did on “Jealous Guy.”


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