Roxy Music with St. Vincent at MSG
Roxy Music 50 Tour
Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
September 12, 2022
By Mike Perciaccante
Roxy Music was formed in 1970 by Bryan Ferry (vocals, keyboards, piano and rhythm guitar) and bassist Graham Simpson. Over the years the band’s members have included Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (saxophone and oboe), and Paul Thompson (drums and percussion), Brian Eno (synthesizer and what has been described as “treatments”), Eddie Jobson (synthesizer and violin) and John Gustafson (bass). The band’s sound can best be described as a combination of glam rock, sophisticated art rock, soul, R&B with a touch of punk music which Roxy Music has been credited with helping to create the “model” for many new wave artists.
In its infancy, the band gained a following in Europe and Australia. It released its self-titled debut album on Island/Reprise Records in 1972. In the ensuing years, Roxy Music released four studio albums: For Your Pleasure (Island/Warner Brothers Records, 1973), Stranded (Island/ATCO, 1973), Country Life (Island/ATCO, 1974), Siren (Island/ATCO, 1975) and the live album, Viva! Roxy Music (Island, 1976).
The band took a break from recording and touring activities in 1976 but reunited, releasing Manifesto (E.G./Polydor/ATCO, 1979), Flesh + Blood (E.G./ATCO/Reprise, 1980) and Avalon (E.G./Polydor, 1982) before taking another break in 1983.
Roxy Music reunited for a concert tour in 2001. The members toured together intermittently over the next few years. Over the years, Ferry has mounted a successful solo career and has frequently enlisted band members as session musicians for his solo releases.
Currently the band’s core is comprised of Ferry, Manzanera, Mackay and Thompson along with a number of supporting musicians: Tom Vanstiphout (guitar), Neil Jason (bass), Jorja Chalmers (saxophone and keyboards), Christian Gulino (musical director and keyboards), Nathan “Tugg” Curran (percussion), and Chloe Beth Smith (keyboards and vocals). Phebe Edwards, Fonzi Thornton and Senab Adekunle each supply backing vocals.
The artist known as St. Vincent was born Anne Erin Clark and was raised in Dallas, TX. The singer, guitarist and songwriter began her career as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and has been a member of Sufjan Stevens's touring band.
In 2006, St. Vincent formed her own band. Her debut solo album, Marry Me (Beggars Banquet), was released in 2007; followed by Actor (4AD, 2009), Strange Mercy (4AD, 2011) and the live EP 4AD Session (4AD, 2012). In 2012, St. Vincent released Love This Giant (4AD/Todo Mundo), collaboration with David Byrne. Her fourth studio album, St. Vincent (Loma Vista/Republic, 2014), made her a star. In 2017 and 2018, respectively, on Loma Vista Records, she released the Masseduction and MassEducation albums. In 2021, she released her latest album, Daddy’s Home on Loma Vista Records. During her career, St. Vincent has won three Grammy Awards.
St. Vincent’s Down and Out Downtown Band features: St. Vincent (guitar and lead vocals), musical director Justin Meldal-Johnsen (bass guitar, keyboards and vocals), Jason Falkner (guitar and vocals), Mark Guiliana (drums), Rachel Eckroth (keyboards), Stevvi Alexander (backing vocals), Nayanna Holley (backing vocals) and Danielle Withers (backing vocals).
On September 12th, Roxy Music along with St. Vincent appeared at the famed Madison Square Garden venue in New York City as part of the Roxy Music 50 Tour. St. Vincent was up first. She and her band delivered and high-energy performance that had the audience on its feet, singing along and interacting with the singer when she ventured into the crowd.
Her rockin’ 45-minute set was short sweet and to the point. It featured synchronized choreography, bopping across the stage and dance steps while playing from the artist, her band and the back-up singers that would have made James Brown proud. The set featured fantastic performances of “Digital Witness,” “Down,” “Birth in Reverse,” “New York” (of course), “Los Ageless,” “Fast Slow Disco,” “Pay Your Way in Pain,” “Cheerleader” and “The Melting of the Sun.” When the set ended, the entirety of the Madison Square Garden audience gave Clark and her band a standing ovation.
It's not often that an opening act receives a standing ovation. It’s also not often that an opening act is of the stature of St. Vincent.
After a short intermission, Ferry, Manzanera, Thompson and Mackay along with their large compliment of backing musicians stormed the stage with a muscular version of “Re-Make/Re-Model.” Playing with a huge video screen behind them featuring multiple live feeds from the performance (as it was happening) expertly mixed with archival footage, Roxy Music delivered a concert for the ages as it celebrated the 50th anniversary of the band’s debut album.
Though, at almost 77 years of age, Ferry’s voice is a bit deeper now than it was in his younger days, on this evening he delivered a strong vocal performance. Some of the highs were filled in by the backing vocalists, but he was in fine voice. The 20-tune, powerful and high-energy show featured superb versions of “Ladytron” (on which Manzanera shined) “If There Is Something” (which thrust Mackay into the spotlight), “Oh Yeah,” a fantastic take on “Tara,” “Dance Away,” “More Than This” which led into “Avalon” and “Love Is The Drug.”
The spectacular evening ended with a fantastic triple play featuring a raucous and boisterous version of “Editions of You,” as well as “Do The Strand” and the fantastic cover of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” (which the band originally released on The High Road Live EP in 1983 (Warner Brothers). “Jealous Guy” is a wonderful ballad the proved to be a fitting way to end the show. It may also serve as a fond farewell to the band’s fans, as this could conceivable the band’s farewell tour.
As the audience left the arena, some stopped by the concession stand to buy CDs; t-shirts; posters; caps and hoodies. Many were glowing and basking in the wonder that they had just seen. It was also obvious that the fans were sad that the show had ended, but happy to have been there.
Additional Article Contributions: Christine Connallon