Ferry’s Roxy retrospective smooth and sophisticated

Bryan Ferry Photo by Andy Argyrakis
Rating:

So many adjectives are regularly assigned to Bryan Ferry, and while pretty much everyone can agree he’s smooth, sophisticated, enchanting and entrancing, the pioneering Roxy Music front man turned solo artist is truly in an elite class of his own. After all, between both complimenting careers, he’s rubbed off on the likes of David Bowie, The Cars, Annie Lennox, Depeche Mode, Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker and Ladytron, while still having no trouble selling out shows at practically every stop on his first American visit since 2011.

And when it came to visual style, the strategically tousled hair and suit-bearing Ferry looked like he stepped right off the runway, while customized lighting further adorned each selection with the utmost of class and refinement.

Bryan Ferry

Photo by Andy Argyrakis

The revered Chicago Theatre was a spectacular setting for Ferry’s grandeur, which outside of a few shout outs to his individual outpouring (the suave “Slave To Love,” the spellbinding “Kiss And Tell,” the gentle “Reason Or Rhyme”) the concert was mostly spent in Roxy’s acclaimed catalogue. Besides promising the group’s hits (which may have been marginal in America but enormous overseas), the 68-year-old star, two soulful background singers and a outstanding six piece band dug out many more rarities than usual, though at all too quick 85 minutes, left at least a half-dozen to be desired by a near cult-like crowd.

Nonetheless every second of the airtight set was received warmly with “Re-Make/Re-Model” and “If There Is Something” giving a vivacious glimpse of the glam era, “Stronger Through The Years” displaying some early blueprints of the new romantic movement and “More Than This” (also featuring Ferry behind the keyboards) translating with an understated delicacy that was nothing short of hypnotic. Trusty favorites like “Love Is The Drug” and “Virginia Plain” also came alive with a sputtering shine, avoiding the staleness of the ’70s thanks to a sturdy craftsmanship and steady backbeat that’s never gone out of style.

And when it came to visual style, the strategically tousled hair and suit-bearing Ferry looked like he stepped right off the runway, while customized lighting further adorned each selection with the utmost of class and refinement. But more than any other element, the legend’s silky voice was the night’s top attraction, which was most apparent during an adaptation of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy,” yet another vital ripple in a varied mystique that’s thrived through more than four decades of changing trends and continues to steer the artfully minded of any era.