BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
Everything about Bryan Ferry is elegant – from his fluttering hand movements to the way he clasps his microphone stand to his ethereal vocals, sometimes delivered with a smile toward his band and other times with his eyes squeezed closed in musical rhapsody.
The British elder statesman still cuts a dashing figure as well, with his signature flop of hair – albeit slightly grayer and swept upward – and dark, slim cut suit.
Though Ferry, 71, released his 14th solo album, “Avonmore,” in 2014 (and a special edition the following year), his Tuesday night performance at the Tabernacle was blissfully awash in Roxy Music nostalgia.
Backed by a pair of singers and an impressive seven-piece band, including standout sax player Jorja Chalmers, Ferry edged into a silken Roxy groove early with the set-opening “The Main Thing,” from the band’s final album, 1982’s “Avalon.”
There would be many more to come.
Throughout his 100-minute set, Ferry frequently perched behind a keyboard, bathed in dark, shadowy lighting that complemented the moodiness of his songs.
Ferry didn’t neglect some of his most revered solo songs, either. “Slave to Love” swished with seductive grace, while “Bête Noire,” the title cut to his 1987 album, and the waltzing “Zamba” received the full, whispery Ferry treatment.
With such a taut band, it’s no surprise that Ferry generously spotlighted several members. Chalmers bleated a tenor sax against Marina Moore’s mournful violin to form the instrumental “Tara,” which provided Ferry with a brief break.
Guitarist Chris Spedding’s stinging solo during a cover of Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane,” first recorded for a 1982 live Roxy Music EP, earned deserved whoops from the crowd and another pleased smile from the boss.
Pinwheel lights swirled and Neil Jason’s bass pulsed during “Take a Chance with Me” before the soft-spoken Ferry addressed the 2/3rds full venue with a story about “If There Is Something,” the song that is so Bowie-esque, the Thin White Duke recorded it with Tin Machine in 1991.
While Ferry’s voice maintained its creaminess on most songs, it dipped to a lower rasp for “More Than This,” perhaps Roxy Music’s best-known song in the U.S. (and still swoon-worthy despite the disappointing delivery). But Ferry rebounded for the sleek “Avalon” and the bass-ilicious “Love is the Drug.”
Ferry has stated in recent interviews that he prefers the studio to the road, but with a newly added batch of U.S. dates this summer, he doesn’t plan to retire from the stage quite yet. It’s recommended to share his refined air while the opportunity is still there.