Friday, March 1, 2019

When Bryan Ferry Sings 'Avalon', People Listen!

With legendary Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry scheduled to appear at the esteemed Chicago Theatre on August 1 as part of a national tour that promises to lean heavily on Avalon-era material, Chicagoland Roxy fans both new and old have come tumbling out of the woodwork to nab tickets for this momentous occasion.

What is it about the mere mention of Avalon these days that sets our hearts a-flutter?

In the 37 years since its release, even old-school Roxy Music fans have slowly come around to Avalon's seductive genius. Meanwhile, those of us for whom the album was our introduction to the band still marvel at Ferry's fluid arrangements and verrrry subtle integration of world music influences.

Speaking of "influences", listening to the album today, it is joyfully obvious where Peter Gabriel got much of the inspiration for So. Ferry managed to make an album that didn't revel in lost youth, but celebrated the stunning fragility of it all.

We can all see Ferry as the dashing hustler who scams his way aboard the Titanic. Once the ship begins taking on water, he offers you a drink and a toast to less exciting times.

Whereas the Motley Crues and GNR's of the world found it harder and harder to match their younger selves, Ferry was smart enough to be making music that he and his audience could grow into.

Sure enough, Avalon has proven to be one of the few albums from that era that ages like a fine wine, capturing the exact moment when Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry merged into a single entity.

Subsequent solo albums Boys and Girls and Bête Noire mined that same fertile territory, defining the sound that continues to define his career, but neither came close to Avalon,

The best part is that when the Motley Crues of this world are trying to wedge their 60-year-old arses into tight leathers they're expected to wear each night, Bryan Ferry simply slips into a tailored suit and comes another night closer to singing "More Than This" and "True To Life" the way they were meant to be sung.

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