TVD Live Shots:
Roxy Music 50th Anniversary Tour at
the O2 Arena, 10/14

Roxy Music wrapped the UK leg of their critically acclaimed 50th-anniversary tour, celebrating their first album at a sold-out O2 Arena in London on Friday night. It was the reunion that I never expected to see in my lifetime, and it was exquisite. The band that gave birth to the genre of art rock was also noted for keeping David Bowie inspired and “on his toes.” They laid the foundation for many subcultures to follow, including electronic, punk, disco, new wave, and of course, the new romantics. It was all on display, and it was done with style.

Led by the ultra-charismatic Bryan Ferry, this was the classic 1972 Roxy Music line-up featuring guitarist Phil Manzanera, saxophonist Andy Mackay, and drummer Paul Thompson. Noticeably absent was Brian Eno, but after the first few songs, I don’t think it made any difference. The band were locked and loaded, and it looked like they were having the time of their lives, feeding off not only the capacity crowd but one another.

The setlist opened with the first song from the classic debut album, “Re-Make, Re-Model,” and we were off to the races. Then it was straight into “Out of the Blue” from 1974’s Country Life, followed by an amended version of the 9-minute opus “The Bogus Man.” Then Ferry and company slowed the pace a bit with “Ladytron,” “While My Heart is Still Beating,” and “Oh Yeah,” which was my favorite song of the evening.

As they got closer to weaving in tracks from Avalon, the song selection began to get bolder—the art of art rock began to shine. There were several moments when I absolutely lost myself in the visuals and the drawn-out instrumental breaks. It was almost Pink Floyd-ish at times but nothing short of blissfully calm. It was a gorgeous soundscape with Phil Manzanera’s guitar tone slicing through the groundswell like a Ginsu knife through warm butter. It was interesting to see how these songs from so many different eras played so nicely together.

Although this was a celebration of the first album, Avalon would end up stealing the show. The only Roxy album to go platinum in the US is not only the crown jewel of the catalogue but the pinnacle of the set on this occasion. And why shouldn’t it be? “Avalon,” “More Than This,” “Tara,” “The Main Thing,” “To Turn You On,” and “While My Heart is Still Beating” all made the cut, and it was the trigger that continued to keep them on their feet, dancing, singing, and reminiscing.

This was a show for the ages that exceeded every expectation. I’ve read a few other reviews of the evening that didn’t have the same view, and all I can say is that they are either jaded music critics or simply out of their fucking minds.

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