It turned out that the Bryan Ferry gig on BBC1, last Friday evening, was primarily to promote his new album, of eleven Bob Dylan covers, to be released on March 5th, the same day ITV1 SF series “Primeval” sees the light of day on DVD. It was, nonetheless, an enjoyable show despite not knowing a third of the songs! Ferry and his band played twelve numbers, five of which were written by Bob with four of those appearing on new Ferry release “Dylanesque”. In the end, one of those four new covers turned out to be the highlight of the concert for me. It was great to see the original Ferry Dylan-cover, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”, live. Actually, it was just nice to hear it again, after some considerable time, but the delicacy of “(To) Make You Feel My Love” just blew me away. The new album is worth buying for this song alone.
The gig began with second solo single “The In Crowd”. This has always been one of my favourites although I’ve always preferred the extended album version with the air-slicing Phil Manzanera electric guitar solo at the song’s climax. Second in the show was “All Along the Watchtower” with which it’s straight into Dylan territory. Next up followed “Slave to Love” to which I confess an over familiarity. When I was younger, and more naive, I assumed Ferry was looking, literally, for someone to love as opposed to the actual idea of himself being controlled by every whim and desire of the concept of love! Then came the previously mentioned highlight, “(To) Make You Feel My Love”, and the second Dylan song of the evening. As with most songs that really appeal to me, it reeked of melancholy, centring around a tear-inducing chord progression on the piano, played by Colin Good, and that typical Ferry plaintive-cry vocal.
By contrast, it was straight into the raunchiness of twelve bar blues, and that most popular of his solo singles, “Let’s Stick Together”, the first of several in the concert to feature Bryan’s harmonica. Then, back to Dylan, and the new album, with “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, again replete with harmonica warbling. A return to the familiar with “Don’t Stop the Dance” was equally followed by a return to Dylan and “Gates of Eden”. This was the fourth and last of the new tracks. Thus, from here to the end, the audience was now on familiar territory with, firstly, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”, then the delicious “I Put a Spell on You” from the album “Taxi”. Mandy Drummond played viola on “Hard Rain” while Ian Dixon played the sax solo, and long-term Ferry collaborator Chris Spedding the guitar, on Lennon-cover “Jealous Guy” as the whistled melody closed an all-too-brief but electrifying re-acquaintance with the Ferrymeister!