The Admiralspalast in Berlin was the setting last night for the much anticipated performance by Bryan Ferry, presented by Electronic Beats. A show by one of the world’s most stylish and iconic pop stars was on the cards and with some familiar faces from the previous evening’s retrospective photo exhibition in attendance, there were ripples of controlled excitement running through the crowd of over 2000. Somewhat unusually for Berlin, and perhaps as a sartorial nod to the star of the evening, there was a high proportion of men in suits and a glamourous air about proceedings. Arriving on stage just fashionably late at ten minutes later than scheduled, Ferry was accompanied by a full band including backing singers and sequinned dancers.
Starting with ‘The Main Thing’ Ferry then dropped the pace and eased the crowd into the evening with the likes of ‘Put a Spell on You’ segueing perfectly into ‘Slave to Love’. What followed was a set that navigated through forgotten classics such as ‘If There is Something’ and crowd favourites like ‘Don’t Stop the Dance’. With an ever changing backdrop of noire graphics and old-time gangsters that morphed into Russian motifs and abstract animation the sold out crowd was rapt throughout. Ferry even surprised some of the audience by sliding behind the keyboard and effortlessly playing the keys on ‘Hurricane’ before getting back behind the microphone for ‘Tara’. Images of the universe then became Native American Indians for a stunning and unexpected cover of ‘All Along The Watchtower’.
Visibly nervous at the beginning of the evening, Ferry became more comfortable as the show went on and the funk flexed louder and harder on the likes of ‘Love Is the Drug’ Ferry and his ten person band gelled as one. After what seemed like no time at all (in fact over ninety minutes) the show was almost over.
With the shortest of pauses Ferry treated the appreciative and vocal audience to an encore that included ‘Jealous Guy’ and ‘Let’s Stick Together’. As the sequin covered dancers and backing singers left the stage and the lights went up there was a truly rapturous response. And that was it. With guest such as The Pet Shop Boys watching from the wings Sascha Ring, aka Apparat as well as Yello’s Dieter Meier headed to the Flamingo club for the after-party. For some of the team however it was time to go home and reflect on a wonderfully sophisticated evening of art rock, funk, ballads and some of the most recognisable and enduring pop songs from last 30 years.
Photos: ©Grey Hutton, ©Roland Owsnitzki