Roxy Music never received the recognition they deserved. In the 1970s and 1980s, they were leaders in the progressive rock music movement. Bryan Ferry's smooth crooner's voice was backed by outstanding musicians like Phil Manzanera (lead guitar), Andy MacKay (saxophones), and Paul Thompson (drums). Roxy's singles never made much noise on the US charts, but they received plenty of airplay on the album-oriented-rock stations of the time and their concerts were always a big draw.
The group disbanded in 1983, following the release of their excellent final album "Avalon". They reformed and toured in the early 2000s then broke up again. It has been over a decade since they toured and almost 40 years since they performed in Chicago.
They returned to the Windy City Monday night at the United Center.
It should have been a big draw. It was the band's 50th anniversary, their first tour in years, and the core of the original group (Ferry, Manzanera, MacKay, and Thompson) participated. But the concert failed to sell out, so the venue closed off the upper deck, moved the stage forward two sections, and reshuffled tickets to make the arena seem fuller.
The illusion of fullness did not work, but that did not matter to those in attendance. Roxy Music put on a polished performance, playing for nearly two hours. They selected works from their early artsy days ("In Every Dream Home a Heartache") to their later pop-influenced songs ("More Than This", "Dance Away").
They chose to omit some of their more popular songs (Roxy had a dozen Top 10 hits in the UK), filling the set with many deep cuts from their eight studio albums instead. They still sounded great. Ferry's velvety voice is still strong, the core members still have great technical prowess, and the musicians they hired to fill out the arrangements were top-notch.
This was a concert I had to attend. I grew up listening to Roxy Music. I had never seen them live before, and there is a good chance this is their final tour before they separate for good.
I made the right choice coming to the show.