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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Ferry still getting by nicely on old charms

The former Roxy Music frontman has not forgotten how to assemble the elements for a familiar, crowd-pleasing show.

November 25, 2002|Richard Cromelin | Times Staff Writer

Almost a decade ago, Bryan Ferry came to town without much fanfare or momentum, a glitter-era veteran presumably going through the motions. Those were the expectations anyway, but the English singer turned them on their head with a rousing show at the Pantages that imbued his vintage material with charm and heart.

Ferry's basic profile hasn't changed much in the interim. He remains a solid cult hero for a certain rank of art-rock follower, but he has little commercial presence in the U.S., and he isn't moving in any new or surprising directions. His most recent album, "Frantic," follows form, combining original songs with a mid-'60s Drifters obscurity and takes on Dylan, Leadbelly, Don Nix et al.

But when Ferry played the Kodak Theatre on Saturday, there was one added wrinkle -- the luster of the much-acclaimed Roxy Music reunion tour in 2001. Maybe that created an unfair comparison, but for whatever reason, the concert never transcended the level of what you'd expect from a classy, meticulously mounted Bryan Ferry show

You could find pleasures in any of its segments, from the low-key opening sequence with Ferry alone on piano, then with violin and harp, to the Roxy- revisited finale of "Love Is the Drug" and "Do the Strand," with the crowd on its feet, large band blazing and two dancers in full, pink Vegas-showgirl plumage. His most inspired programming came in the encore's unlikely juxtaposition of Bob Dylan and Sam the Sham.

As long as he maintains these production values, Ferry can probably keep this going for a while -- the old wounded-romantic persona still fits this almost-60 performer as well as the series of sharp suits he donned on Saturday.

*

Bryan Ferry

Where: House of Blues Anaheim, 530 S. Disneyland Drive

When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Price: $25 in advance, $30 at door

Contact: (714) 778-2583

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