REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - Nothing More Than This

A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)

Hypothetically, if Bryan Ferry was to go public on the stock exchange today, he’d be wise to launch as ‘Spedding, Chalmers, Moore, Meehan & Ferry Incorporated’. The overwhelming takeout of tonight's performance is that the team of musicians Ferry has lined up to breathe life into both solo and Roxy Music classics this time around, are second to none. But more about that later.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)

Stephen Cummings

A lineup like today with four fab bands meant traffic to Rochford Wines in the Yarra Valley was typically arduous and unfortunately we arrived a little too late to catch Stephen’s full set. I’ll be the first to confess, I’m a massive Stephen Cummings fan and adore his more recent offerings – mostly the slower torch ballads – so was eager to hear how he fared with the late call up to replace Died Pretty in their slot for A Day On The Green.

Dressed appropriately for the biting afternoon sun in a broad brimmed hat, Cummings looked relaxed and very much enjoying his time in the spotlight.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
Cameron Mackenzie

Just one other musician accompanied him on stage on electric guitar, Cameron Mackenzie (a neighbour of Stephen's who plays with Mark Seymour and is also a recording engineer). His understated playing was right on the money and provided Cummings superb backing.

Of the last two numbers that we caught, ‘The Popular One’ was an absolute scorcher. He then finished with the evergreen Sports cover ‘Who Listens To The Radio’. More used to hearing this classic as a full blooded band version, it was interesting to hear it sounding so different stripped back in this rawer setting. On the strength of what we did hear, it left me wishing we’d made it in slightly earlier for more in that vein.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)


By comparison, the energy levels stepped up a notch or three when Messrs Kelly, Duffield, Ferrie and Davies appeared on the Rochford stage.

They kicked off in the most surprising fashion – with a very tongue-in-cheek cover of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
Mark Ferrie of Models

Kelly paused four songs in just before ‘Local And/Or General’ to pay heartfelt homage to the fact that Ron Peno and the rest of Died Pretty couldn’t be here today and judging from the applause, there was certainly a lot of love returned by the crowd for that sentiment. (Ron has recently been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and is currently receiving treatment under the watchful eye of Australia’s top specialist).

Personal highlights from the Model’s set were the Kraftwerk cover, Andrew Duffield’s ‘That Guy’ (from their recent ‘Memo’ EP), the evocative ‘Hold On’ from their last album ‘Media’, and Mark Ferrie’s beautiful bass work on ‘I Hear Motion’. These guys never disappoint.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
Andrew Duffield of Models

Models Setlist:

The Model (Kraftwerk cover)
Big On Love
Hold On
Local And/Or General
Two Cabs To The Toucan
Happy Birthday IBM
That Guy
Out Of Mind Out Of Sight
I Hear Motion

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)

I'm Talking

Appearing at only their second performance back after 32 years (if you don’t count their secret Memo warm-up gig a week or so ago) there were plenty of punters curious to see just how this panned out for I'm Talking. How would a band that hadn’t been on the circuit for all that time fare today?

They needn’t have worried… ‘I’m Talking’ absolutely stunned with a 30 minute set covering pretty much all of their ‘Bear Witness’ album.

Energy levels were high as Kate Ceberano, Zan Abeyratne and the rest of the band took the stage. It was plainly obvious the band were super excited to be here playing to a large Melbourne audience and their enthusiasm was contagious – with the crowd responding in kind.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
Kate Ceberano of I'm Talking

Sometimes things just all fall into place for a band... and the smiles around the ground bear witness to this. The time slot in todays proceedings was picture perfect. As the sun slowly sank towards the horizon, the bright poppy disposition of I’m Talking delivered us the perfect slow-burn sundowner soundtrack. It just couldn't have gone better for the band.

Highlights? Pretty much all the set... Both Zan’s ‘Holy Word’ and Kate’s cover of ‘Love Don’t Love Here Anymore’ simply smoked. Great sax runs from the beaming young stand-in Brodie Everist too.

Kate’s parting gesture: “This was our second to last show on this incredible Bryan Ferry Tour… Enjoy the show, he is astonishing …and I thought we were pretty bloody good too! …so thank you very much, good night!”

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
Zan Abeyratne of I'm Talking

I’m Talking’s setlist:

Do You Wanna Be
Holy Word
How Can It Be
Love Don’t Live Here Anymore (Rose Royce cover)
Lead The Way
It’s Over
Trust Me

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)

Bryan Ferry

At exactly 8.30pm, the iconic bass stabs of ‘The Main Thing’ signalled showtime. As debonair, suave and punctual as ever, a beaming Bryan Ferry jovially saunters onstage.

From the get-go the band sound as hot as they look and despite the serious task ahead, these seasoned pros exude a confidence that reassures.

Despite the stage being bathed in classic coloured shards, everyone is low lit – including Bryan – and soloists highlighted only when appropriate. Two screens either side of stage portraying the action in stylish film noire also contribute a certain mystique to proceedings.

Following ‘The Main Thing’ (Avalon) Ferry slips something in our drink with a 1-2 punch of a couple of his biggest solo hits and we’re already a little punch drunk.… the sensual ’Slave To Love’ and the slinky ‘Don’t Stop The Dance’ are rendered perfectly and set an impossibly high benchmark for the rest of the evening.

Early Roxy Music track ‘Ladytron’ is the first opportunity we get to see the drummer Luke Bullen and lead guitarist Chris Spedding really strut their stuff… each play off the other ferociously. Thundering drums climax into the iconic solo, which Spedding totally owns tonight. His fingers are a blur as he solos the track well into next week. Outstanding!

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
Chris Spedding

‘Out Of the Blue’ (Country Life) features gorgeous spiralling interplay between Marina Moore on violin and local Aussie, Jorja Chalmers on saxaphone. It turns out it's only the first of a handful of tracks from that album tonight. The girls’ performance on this will have plenty reappraising 'Country Life' again in coming weeks. Gorgeous slide guitar on ‘Casanova’ from Spedding – proving once again what a masterstroke his inclusion is. ‘Oh Yeah’ brings out the happy dancers who kick up dust on the path next to the speaker tower. Bryan knows just how to pepper a setlist with sweeteners to make us smile.

When the tour was first announced, many wondered just how many Roxy tracks might get a run tonight. They must now be over the moon. So far, Ferry’s delving deep and choosing the road less travelled and it’s refreshing to say the least.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)

The slower and quite dreamy ‘A Wasteland’ segues beautifully into a personal favourite 'Windswept' off solo effort ‘Boys and Girls’. Chalmers evokes all the feels of the original with masterful runs through out and it's at times like this you realise just how having consummate musicians in the lineup must buoy Bryan up and allow him the latitude to explore all this different material.

A couple of tracks from solo album 'Bête Noire' get a guernsey. The title track weaves back and forth in its groove like a snake charmer might bewitch the cobra and it’s a superb version.

The slower ‘Zamba’, features Spedding on acoustic Spanish guitar now and he is wonderful to watch. Just so deft and not an ounce of showiness. The downside of this slower, more sensitive bracket of songs is that those who have only come for the hits decide this is their perfect opportunity for a quick pitstop. A great pity.

As well as delivering the crowd prerequisites, Ferry appears to be relishing this opportunity to shine the spotlight on some equally deserving but perhaps lesser known album tracks. ’Stronger Through The Years’, from Manifesto is a perfect example. The whole band are simply astounding on this. Weaving in and out of their respective parts, in perfect syncopation, they all know their place and create an amazing sonic tapestry that is super impressive.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
Jorja Chalmers

Jorja Chalmers brings her sensitive A-game to a rendition of ‘Bitter Sweet’ and imbues it with all the delicacy of the original.

Where does Ferry find these maestros? They lift the performance massively and to a certain extent carry the great man at points. Now an amazing well preserved 73, he's trodden the boards for decades and it’d be foolish to profess Ferry’s vocals have the potency he possessed 50 years ago. When it comes to the big long notes tonight, it's fair to say the backing vocalists Aleysha Lei (Gordon) and Hannah Kemoh really do earn their keep.

It’s been six tracks since the last hit now and Ferry instinctively knows it’s time to reward our patience. ‘My Only Love’ is just what the doctor ordered and is rapturously received. As the audience are still coming down from that, he hits us with three more early ones: ‘In Every Dream Home A Heartache’, ‘If There Is Something’ and then ‘Re-Make/Re-Model’. 'If There Is Something’ was a particular fave of David Bowie who even covered it during his brief Tin Machine phase. It features more sublime sax from Jorja.

Tonight has been an abundance of riches. These early cuts, while testing the patience of some, to others are worth the price of admission alone.

Those who saw Bryan on his last visit here will remember he performed a very minimal restrained version of ‘More Than This’ so tonight's full band rendition is very welcome.

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)

As is to be expected, there are shrieks of recognition for ‘Avalon’ which sees hordes racing down to the barrier behind the sound desk for a better view. Phones are hoisted aloft and waved madly at the stage in a vain attempt to capture what to them is the iconic moment of the evening. Beautiful vocals from Aleysha Gordon and Hannah Kemoh throughout too.

One senses we’re on the home stretch now and the intro to ‘Love Is The Drug’ confirms this. ‘Virginia Plain’ brings the adoring crowd at A Day On The Green to their feet. Bryan feigns a walk off before capitulating once more with a superbly rendered ‘Jealous Guy’. Retaining his ever cool composure, he effortlessly whistles his way through to the end without cracking a smile.

It’s getting close to curfew and we all know there’s still one song everyone is keyed up to hear. ‘Let’s Stick Together’, the Wilbert Harrison cover that was such a defining moment in Ferry’s solo career is a fine way to finish up what has been a triumphant return for Bryan.

As is so often the case, the whole band is in fact greater than the sum of its parts. Spedding, Chalmers, Moore, Meehan, Lei, Kemoh and Cardwell are all so essential to what we have seen tonight. They can be well proud of such a blitzing performance. Judging from his broad smile all night, the boss was well pleased.

There are still chances to catch Bryan Ferry in Melbourne on Tuesday evening at Margaret Court Arena and then later in other major centres. DO NOT miss this show! It is simply outstanding on all fronts. The music is of course stuff of legend but what elevates this show are the stunning renditions that magically recreate all the right feels.

By the time we find our way back to the carpark it's a litany of tail lights, engines running with nowhere to go. As we finally get within metres of the final exit gate, a small white minibus assertively pulls into the tiny gap we’ve left in front of us. In that split second, we receive a grateful wave from driver Wally Kempton and a glimpse of some very familiar profiles as they pass us by and disappear just as quickly into the night.

Thanks must go once again to the organisers of A Day On The Green for a fantastic lineup of talent and hosting such a great event. Every year the shows just go up another notch and keep getting better. Can’t wait to see how magical the already sold out Elton John shows are in 2020!

Bryan Ferry’s setlist:

The Main Thing
Slave To Love
Don’t Stop The Dance
Ladytron (Roxy Music)
Out Of The Blue (Roxy Music)
Casanova (Roxy Music)
Oh Yeah (Roxy Music)
A Waste Land
Bête Noire
Stronger Through The Years (Roxy Music)
Bitter-Sweet (Roxy Music)
My Only Love (Roxy Music)
In Every Dream Home A Heartache (Roxy Music)
If There Is Something (Roxy Music)
Re-Make/Re-Model (Roxy Music)
More Than This (Roxy Music)
Avalon (Roxy Music)
Love Is The Drug (Roxy Music)
Virginia Plain (Roxy Music)

Jealous Guy (John Lennon cover)
Let’s Stick Together (Wilbert Harrison cover)

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
PHOTO CREDIT: Harry Williams

Bryan Ferry’s band consists of:
Bryan Ferry - Vocals & Keyboards
Chris Spedding - Guitar
Jorja Chalmers - Saxophone, Clarinet & Keyboards
Marina Moore - Viola & Violin
Richard Cardwell - Band Leader and Keyboards
Jerry Meehan - Bass & Bassoon
Aleysha Lei (Gordon) - Backing Vocals
Hannah Kemoh - Backing Vocals
Luke Bullen - Drums

Carbie Warbie's complete Bryan Ferry photo gallery from A Day On The Green, is available on our sister music website, GigBill.

Catch the remainder of the tour:

Bryan Ferry
with Juanita Stein (Howling Bells)
Tuesday 26th February at Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne

Bryan Ferry at A Day On The Green
with I'm Talking, Models and Stephen Cummings
Sunday 3rd March at Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton, QLD

REVIEW: Bryan Ferry - A Day On The Green (Rochford Wines)
Follow The Dwarf on Facebook

Comments ()