AFTER witnessing the less-than-lacklustre performance of Bryan Ferry at Glastonbury, as shown on BBC television two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect of him live on stage at the Henley Festival. Did the uber-cool crooner of the Seventies have any spunk left?
There was no need to worry. From the moment he jiggled out on stage in his multi-coloured velveteen smoking jacket, his bow tie already undone and slung loose about his neck, it was clear he was going to deliver. And how? He’s 68 and his shock of black hair is now streaked with grey, but he dances as he walks for goodness sake. He can’t help himself. He’s an oldie with rhythm in his bones. Any older and it might be considered indecent.
In the frosted purple light of the floating stage, he sang Slave To Love and the audience was putty in his hands.
His musical genius and sidekick Brian Eno is long gone, but Ferry has gathered an admirable band of young hipsters about him — a pair of gutsy guitarists, a woman on drums who does a female impression of Animal out of the Muppets, a female sax/clarinet player with a razor sharp black bob and a pair of gold-fringed flapper girls for backing singers. Together, they made a tight, classy ensemble clearly out for a good time.