Riding the waves

Veteran rocker Bryan Ferry has embarked on a five-month tour that docks in Tel Aviv June 22.

Bryan Ferry 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
Bryan Ferry 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
It’s been a long journey that’s taken Bryan Ferry from his working-class upbringing in Durham, England, to last week, receiving the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for being included on Queen Elizabeth II's birthday honors list, along with luminaries like actor Colin Firth.
And it involved an unexpected stop in the hospital in April. The once and future lead singer for British art rock pioneers Roxy Music was riding high on superlative reviews for his latest album, Olympia, which saw him hosting a five-star guest list including Nile Rodgers, Roxy band mates Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay, and Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, and featured stunning remakes of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren” and Traffic’s “No Face, No Name, No Number.”
But as he was set to embark on a tour that was to have taken him to Tel Aviv, the 65-year-old singer was mysteriously hospitalized for tests. While the outcome has never been publicized, Ferry was ordered to rest and the tour was postponed. Now presumably healthy and chomping at the bit, he launched an ambitious fivemonth tour of Europe and the US that will see him arriving in Israel for a performance at Tel Aviv’s Heichal Hatarbut on June 22.
On the 21st, Ferry will take the unprecedented step of holding a meet and greet reception for his fans at Ozen Hashlishi, the Tel Aviv club/record store/music emporium at 6 p.m. Entrance is free, but it’s likely to fill up quickly for the iconic singer who brought a suave sophistication to 1970s glam rock and has continued offering both style and substance ever since.
From their debut album in 1972 through such peaks as Manifesto, Stranded and Avalon, Roxy Music managed to combine Ferry’s aristocratic appearance and deep, crooning voice with Eno’s experimental sounds, along with a good dose of sequins, glitter and boas.
Alongside the band’s recordings and tours, Ferry simultaneously launched a classy solo career, releasing albums throughout the 1970s and creating a separate identity for himself away from the band.
By 1982, Ferry’s solo career had overtaken Roxy Music’s, and the band lay dormant for almost two decades until a 2001 reunion that evolved into a few comeback tours early in the decade.
While a full-fledged Roxy Music album never materialized, Ferry and his ex-mates have recorded together for his solo albums, and saxophonist Mackay, guitarist Manzanera and drummer Paul Thompson are now part of his elaborate touring band.
So in essence, the Tel Aviv crowd will experience Roxy Music in almost all its former glory. In addition to solo hits like “Don’t Stop the Love” and “Slave to Love” and offerings from Olympia, expect some of Roxy Music’s vintage treasures, from “Love Is the Drug” to “Avalon.”
If nothing else, the show will demonstrate that Ferry, through hospital stays and CBEs, has remained as refined, chic and talented as ever.
Bryan Ferry and his band perform at Tel Aviv’s Heichal Hatarbut on June 22.