The only disappointing news about Roxy Music’s upcoming reunion tour, on the 50th anniversary of the British art-rock band’s debut album, is that founding member Brian Eno, who never enjoyed life on the road, will not take part in it. But longtime fans should still be thrilled that the four other musicians from the band’s best-known lineup – Bryan Ferry (vocals, keyboard), Andy Mackay (reeds), Phil Manzanera (guitar) and Paul Thompson (drums) – are all on board. for the nine-leg visit to the United States They hit the TD Garden on September 17.
Considered something of an anomaly over the span of their eight-album career, Roxy went in many unexpected directions, often all at once. They could rock in the great electric guitar tradition; their melodic tunes could be driven by piano instrumentation; Mackay’s saxophone and oboe work would lean into jazz territory; Ferry – a former antiques restorer – added a soulful, debonair, lounge singer edge; and Eno used the studio and stage as a test lab for experimenting with electronic sounds. Yes, they were a pop band, but they weren’t shy about mixing a bit of art with an avant-garde sensibility. An article published a long time ago in GQ called them “an irreverent, idiosyncratic and existentialist breath of fresh air.”
Because they’ve always been recognized as a source of surprise – which means you never know what they’ll do next – and because this will be the first time all these guys have played together on stage since their tour. of 2011, we don’t know what will be on the set list. But a good estimate is that the songs that received the most radio airplay and helped sell the most albums will be retained.
So expect to hear Roxy’s only hit – the funky ‘Love Is the Drug’ (1976) – but don’t be surprised if they decide to show off their range of sounds and styles with the slow, raunchy ‘Avalon and the upbeat “Do the Strand” which, as fans will recall, is the song they often used to close their show, sending the crowd off on a high note.
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