Judge Brett Cullum spends time with the ultimate rock crooner.
Smooth, suave, sophisticated, and sixty-something.
Bryan Ferry is the rare man in rock who has somehow managed to carve a niche for himself that extends from the '70s until now without ever a blip or flounder in his style or influence. One reason for his longevity is he was always a crooner, and his laidback vocal stylings work now the same as ever even though time has marched on and somewhat ravaged his smoky voice.
Bryan Ferry: Live in Lyon captures him in France during his Olympia tour on July 25, 2011. The show consisted of a mix of new solo material as well as Roxy Music standards all performed largely by the band that supported Ferry in the studio for his last solo effort. His son, Tara Ferry, shows up to play the drums for the evening.
Ferry is well past sixty here, and he wisely chooses to sit behind a piano and croon most of the time or stand and deliver his songs with a stoic stare. Two backup dancers provide motion, the musicians provide the heavy drama, and he presides over the proceedings as the king of cool that he always embodied. It's an in-depth show with a lot of ground covered, and fans should be pleased. His only career aspects not well represented in the set list is the Mamouna album or the As Time Goes By experiment.
Bryan Ferry: Live in Lyon (Blu-ray) looks spectacular with great color saturation and black levels. It's an outdoors night show with a computerized large screen behind the band, and it must have been a bear to shoot. Yet it all looks just fine. In high definition, you feel like you are there and close enough to count the craggy wrinkles. Sound is delivered in a DTS-HD master audio, which does it all justice. Sometimes Ferry is in danger of being drowned out by his own band, but that's the mixer's fault rather than the disc.
Extras are limited to a "Making of Olympia," which is a rather nice comprehensive documentary on the last solo effort from Bryan Ferry. It does an incredible job of looking at the album that the tour supported. Also of note is a very comprehensive booklet which must be a reproduction at least in part of the program. It includes a career retrospective essay as well as biographies for the entire band and the two dancers.
Bryan Ferry is the ultimate godfather of acts like Duran Duran or Mazzy Starr. He along with his band Roxy Music helped to create art rock, and as a solo act Ferry captured a cool crooner vibe that persists to this day. Bryan Ferry: Live in Lyon gives his fans a glimpse of what the tour for Olympia looked and sounded like with the singer at sixty-six years of age. He's holding up incredibly well, and his voice, though aged, still has the resonance and range to deliver well enough.
It's a great evening that should require you to put on a white dinner jacket and mix a stiff martini to enjoy.
Guilty of still being the ultimate in cool. Bryan Ferry is free to go.
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