[Photos Provided by Steve Hatley]

Bryan Ferry & Ann Wilson Storm Into NOLA

08:05 March 21, 2017
By: Steve Hatley

So over the past few days, I was able to mark off two acts off my unconscious bucket list. There are bands I know outright I was to try and want to see before I can’t.  There are also those bands liked, but didn’t think would ever tour or tour rarely.  Bryan Ferry was in that, “They’ll never tour” slot and Ann Wilson of Heart was in the “rarely tour” slot.  I was lucky and elated to see both Ferry and Wilson.

It’s hard to believe that Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) had never played New Orleans until this past Thursday.  In the past, his tours have mostly concentrated on the West or East coast.  In a phone interview with Where Y'at, Ferry expressed his joy for finally being able to get to New Orleans.  He went on to say that he really enjoys the music of New Orleans and would love to collaborate with Trent Reznor someday.

Bryan Ferry and his amazing backing band played the Saenger Theater and it couldn’t have been a better venue.  The majesty of the Greek revival theater was a perfect match to Ferry and his set.  The set was composed mostly of his Roxy Music material.  The solo material that he included in the set flowed with ease alongside the Roxy Music material.    The backend of the set was loaded with several crowd favorites and were just amazing.  Although Ferry may not have been to hit some of the higher notes he once had, his background singers picked up where he couldn’t.  Instead of acting like a “rock star” which he easily and deservedly so could have done, Ferry just walked off the stage a minute and then went straight into what would be considered an encore. His crowd banded was light, but it really didn’t matter. 

Ann Wilson, like Ferry, is a member of a seminal rock group.  Heat formed in 1973, but the roots of the band go back to 1967.  The dynamics of heart allows the band to tour together or separately.  This time around, Ann decided she wanted to with her band and play what she wanted.  The “Evening With” format at the House of Blues was webcast.  Ann enjoyed telling stories about songs, hers and others that she was playing. The set was filled with Heart songs, and several other covers, including three from The Who, as well as songs by Buffalo Springfield, Yes, The Animals, The Black Crows, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Hendrix, Peter Gabriel, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.  Oddly enough, she only played a few songs from her solo catalog.

Wilson, unlike Ferry, took every opportunity to talk about the songs.  She couldn’t hit the higher notes, in some of the songs, but wisely decided to rearrange tracks to keep those moments to a bare minimum.  I would have liked to hear those bellowing notes during “Alone,” but figured out early in the set that it wasn’t going to happen.  Her backing band was amazing and could have easily rivaled any former member of Heart.  As an added bonus, since the evening was being webcast, the lights were great.  The addition of a spotlight on Wilson made what could have been a darker palate pleasantly sharp.  Two sets and two encores later, the evening came to an end and my amazing week of greatness too. You can see more pictures here.

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