Bryan Ferry, former lead singer of Roxy Music made his long awaited return to Cleveland after a six year absence.  The State Theatre was the place to be Sunday night as the cool and elegant crooner took the stage to play songs from all aspects of his career.

Dressed in a stylish black suit with an open collar, Mr. Ferry made his way to the stage to the sounds of “The Main Thing” from Roxy Music’s 1982 Avalon album segueing right into his biggest solo hit “Slave To Love.”

It was pretty much non-stop music for the first half of the show.  He and his tight group of musicians went from one song to the next with no chatter in between songs, only allowing enough time for the audience to applaud, which they did often.

Ferry’s backing band of wonderful musicians included: two guitarists, two backup singers,, a drummer, a keyboardist, a bassist and two multi-instrumentalists that played horns, violin, keyboards and percussion.

In a classy move, Ferry allowed each member of the band to showcase their skills by taking solo’s throughout the evening.  One of the highlights of the show was Ferry’s cover of Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane.”  The song featured a blazing guitar solo at the start of the song by a young man on a Stratocaster. In the middle of the song there was a tasteful saxophone solo, and at the end there was another ferocious guitar solo by the gentleman who played the Gibson Flying V.

At this point, Ferry took a moment to introduce the band and to also thank the audience for coming to the show noting “Me and Cleveland go back a long way!”



The last portion of the show became a hit parade as he played “More Than This,” “Avalon” and “Love is the Drug” in succession.

He ended the two hour show with three cover songs including Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Stick Together,” John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Coming.”

Bryan Ferry is a throwback performer who let’s the music do the talking.  When you see Bryan Ferry perform, you are going to get excellent musicianship and spot on vocals and both were on display Sunday night.

Opening the show with a very jazzy and soulful performance was singer-songwriter Judith Owen. She was very engaging as she talked about the origins of each song.  “No More Goodbyes” was one song in particular that stood out.

Owen had a very impressive backing band as the legendary Leland Sklar was on bass, her percussionist was from Portugal and her cellist and violin players were from England.

 
Ending her splendid 30 minute set was a jazzy version of “Age of Aquarius.”   One could see why Mr. Ferry personally selected her for the opening slot on this tour.