MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters Life!) - British art rockers Roxy Music have returned to the Montreux Jazz Festival with a vintage performance of favorites, 37 years after their first and only previous appearance.
Roxy Music, flanked on stage by four backing singers in body-hugging, off-the-shoulder dresses, staged a show at the Swiss festival Friday that oozed sex and excitement.
Singer Bryan Ferry was joined by original members Phil Manzanera on guitar, saxophonist and oboist Andy Mackay and drummer Paul Thompson, as well as eight other musicians in a band that spanned the generations — as did the Montreux crowd at the 44th festival’s opening night headline concert.
“I know Roxy Music from the 1970s and 80s, but this is the first time I’ll watch them live,” said German fan Juergen Gaus.
“The atmosphere is something really magical and the location right next to Lake Geneva is really special,” added Georg Soukopp, one of a group of Gaus’s friends that traveled from Stuttgart for the gig.
Jazz-fusion and rock guitarist John McLaughlin and drummer Billy Cobham also staged an unexpected reunion after 30 years without playing together, as opening act Melissa auf der Maur failed to show up after missing her plane in Canada.
Festival founder Claude Nobs, looking tanned and well in a snow-white suit and matching trilby despite recent health problems, said he called McLaughlin and Cobham at the last minute to arrange their jam session.
“Claude Nobs is the master of the plan B,” said compere Alex Bugnon, a local jazz pianist and composer brought in this year to lighten the workload for Nobs, who is now in his 70s.
Roxy Music, nearly four decades into their career, still effused the glamour nurtured by playboy frontman Ferry, dressed in a black suit and open-necked shirt with cufflinks.
The band set the pace with high-octane opening track Re-Make/Re-Model before performing a string of favorites including ‘Love Is The Drug’, ‘Ladytron’, ‘More Than This’ and John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ — a hit for the band in 1981 after Lennon was shot dead the previous year.
Roxy Music also rocked out numbers including ‘Virginia Plain’, ‘Editions of You’ and ‘Mother Of Pearl’ that prompted snake-hipped gyration from Anna McElligott, the band’s keyboardist and violinist with looks reminiscent of the Amazonian beauties featured on sleeves of albums such as ‘Roxy Music’, ‘Stranded’ and ‘Country Life’.
Members of the band, who told Reuters before the festival they might mark their 40th anniversary by recording an album next year with former member and electronic music pioneer Brian Eno, ended with a foot-stomping rendition of ‘Do The Strand’, leaving the crowd demanding in vain an encore.