Bryan Ferry croons Vancouver into submission

Bryan Ferry @ the Orpheum Theatre 12/8/17

Photo by Ryan Johnson
Photo by Ryan Johnson

Bryan Ferry has lived some life, and somehow he still has that unmistakable crooning voice that has had many, many people swooning since the early 70s. Ferry gave Vancouver some of that British New Wave swagger Sunday (Aug 12), and the crowd was definitely feeling it. The fans were rampant at downtown’s Orpheum Theatre venue, and in turn Ferry was really, really feeling the night.

The 80s icon surrounded himself with a slew of musicians especially gifted in their respective instruments. A top highlight included a black-bobbed Mia Wallace type saxophonist who delivered Ferry’s iconic Roxy Music and solo hits with sensual vigour. Starting the night with Roxy classic “The Main Thing”, Ferry was all elegance and ‘dad dancing’. He swayed and crooned and swayed and crooned in a lounge suit jacket. It is easy to see how many have compared his vocal stylings to that of his late contemporary David Bowie. The man may be 71, but his voice is firmly incubated in the 70s. His solo hit “Slave to Love” and Neil Young cover “Like a Hurricane”—a surprising but very welcomed venture on Ferry’s part—held some top musical moments of the evening.

The audience was bursting, pushing to the front of the seated show, forcing everyone to stand and many to try and push their way to a place where they could behold Ferry and his constantly moving hips in action. Choosing to perform “Simple Twist of Fate” from his album of Bob Dylan covers Dylanesque, Ferry gave a rockier version of the folk blues classic. But his take still had the frontman pulling out a harmonica, because how could you not while singing Dylan? “Windswept” basically took every member of the audience and placed them in a cheesy and emotional yet glorious 80s music video. There is no way this guy could ever be at risk of losing his sound. A hyperbolic disco ball hung over the stage, pairing well with the two high-energy backup singers and Ferry at the keyboard.

Photo by Ryan Johnson
Photo by Ryan Johnson

Of course, “More Than This” was the ultimate highlight of the evening—the song having had touched much more than a single generation. The classic mega hit is perhaps Ferry’s most beautiful; a track well deserving of the hype and mass radio and film play. But not to be overlooked, Roxy Music stable “Avalon” had more than one person singing along as Ferry moved along as if surfing a wave. Doing a few more covers—including John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On”, Ferry finished off his encore with Roxy’s “Do the Strand”.

Music lovers have certainly never forgotten Ferry, and from what was witnessed at the Orpheum on Sunday, they probably never will. He is unapologetically Ferry— admiring of his song writing peers and committed to the sound that made him massively famous, model-bait, successful, rich and…well…for many a household name.