Blesok no. 56, September-October, 2007
Sound Reviews


An Atmosphere of Warmth and Spontaneity
Bryan Ferry in Skopje

Angel Sitnovski – Boys


Many years ago, we were dreaming of attending a live performance of a current world music star, while today, when the dream became reality – we began to choose which concert to attend!
    On 8th of October, Bryan Ferry had a concert at the Universal Hall; few days later, on 13th, David Sylvian performed on the same stage.

This was the second concert of Bryan Ferry in Macedonia, after last year's appearance in Ohrid, along with his band Roxy Music. This time, within the Balkan part of his European tour organized by Skopje based Avalon Production he promoted the material of his new solo project Dylanesque, which contains Bob Dylan's covers.
    At the packed Universal Hall, concert begun ten minutes late, opened with two songs by the singer of his accompanying band, herself playing an acoustic guitar. Ian Dickinson – session musician that has been performed with the legendary King Crimson – supported her on saxophone.
    Bryan Ferry's appearance announced the beginning of the main act. Smartly dressed, in black shiny jacket, black trousers and white shirt, he was greated by the audience with tremendous ovations even before he started to sing. It is very strange how this rock icon, today aged 62, manages to preserve his attractive and youthful look!
    Bryan Ferry has been on the world music scene for decades, as one of the biggest and most charismatic front men in the history of modern rock music. Since his earliest recordings with Roxy Music in the 1970's up to today, he has secured his place in rock history as one of the most innovative singers; a fact witnessed by the crowd present at the Skopje concert. We enjoyed in the originality of his brilliant voice, in his ability to unite music genres – from French chansons, to classical singing and sharpened hard rock. The repertoire was compiled from Roxy Music's most popular songs, hits from his successful solo career, and – of course – Dylan's covers. Ironically enough, songs from “Dylanesque” do not sound very Dylan-like. They lack solo acoustic guitar, they lack organs, and – at last – they do not have that wild and live music: they lack many things that would associate to Bob Dylan's sound. Dylan's songs sound Ferry-like, where Ferry implements his usual duality of desire and melodrama.

    The atmosphere at the concert was intimate, with lights as leftovers from the New Year's decorations in the Skopje central park thirty years ago. The sound was superb, and the crowd, of different ages, dancing in the rhythm of his songs created an atmosphere of warmth and spontaneity, so necessary to experience a really good concert.
    Cleverly created repertoire freed space for all musicians so they were able to present their dexterity. Besides the already mentioned Ian Dickson, Andy Newmark was on the drums, a member of Ferry's Roxy Music and also a musician that have been performing with famous ABC, Sly and the Family Stone and McKendree Spring.
    Young Newmark's son had the guitar, while lead solo guitar was in the hands of legendary Chris Spedding, one of the most renowned British session guitar players. Spedding has been performing with Alan Price and Paul Jones, then in excellent Battered Ornaments, played with Jack Bruce, Elton John, Nilsson, Memphis Slim, Brian Eno, John Cale, with Free's bass guitarist Andy Fraser he has formed Sharks, and has also played with Roy Harper. He produced Sex Pistols, as well as the punk band Cramps. Collaborating with Tom Waits on his Rain Dogs album, he has recorded few solo albums and even today, from time to time, still works on his solo projects. Big star indeed!
    At the end, for the encore, Bryan Ferry sang the renowned Avalon, a song from his later work with Roxy Music. His songs describe the lonely romantics' faith in a better world. Bryan Ferry, since the early 1970's, with first Roxy Music's recordings, up to day, has successfully presented his emotional theater of romantics. An excellent concert that, I believe, would be remembered for a long time.

Translated by: Igor Isakovski
Edited by: Elizabeta Bakovska
Photos by: Boys




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