Roxy Music

Concerto

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Released 22 years after the fact, this two-disc set documents Roxy Music during their Manifesto tour. The band was beginning to veer from more adventurous progressive rock leanings to concentrate on the sophisticated pop and dance music that would surface on Flesh & Blood and Avalon. Six of the first eight songs are from the pivotal Manifesto, cutting a wide swath of styles, including the improv opening of "Manifesto," the moody "Stronger Through the Years," and the light-punk flash of "Trash." The remainder of the set is filled with old favorites ("Out of the Blue," "In Every Dream Home a Heartache," and "Do the Strand") that have been covered on the band's other live releases. The band is in excellent form. Bryan Ferry excels as both dreamy crooner and swaggering rock & roll frontman. Phil Manzanera plays some scorching guitar solos, particularly on the coda of "Out of the Blue" and "Ladytron," Andy Mackay provides evidence that he is one of rock music's most melodious saxophone and oboe players, and drummer Paul Thompson is thunderous throughout this show. He would soon leave in a disagreement over the group's new dance/pop leanings. As with many live recordings from this era, sound quality is sometimes inconsistent. Mackay's sax work is occasionally buried in the mix. Overall, the sound quality is as good as can be expected from a show circa 1979. Concerto benefits from the continuity of a single performance, unlike the well-played but disjointed Viva!. The show was recorded April 12, 1979, in Denver. As a bonus, the album concludes in encore fashion with two songs played in Oakland earlier in the tour but not performed in Denver. Concerto falls short of legendary concert status, but is an effective end-of-decade review of one of the truly great '70s bands.

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