Monday, August 26, 2013

Go-Go Girls Make Everything Better

“Both Ends Burning” from Roxy Music’s 1975 album Siren is one of my all-time favorite partying/working into the night anthems. I came across this video yesterday from their 2001 reunion tour, and my first thought was, “Why do bands always play their best songs three times as fast live as they do on the album?” The usual, obvious answer is the band is sick of the song and wants to get it over with as quickly as possible.  

Not so here. Bryan Ferry, Andy McKay, Phil Manzanera, and the Great Paul Thompson are playing for their very lives. Drummer Paul Thompson must have burned 1,000 calories with the fills he squeezed in as the song raced like a well-tuned Porsche blazing down the Autobahn at Warp Factor Fuck the Police. That they kept this level of energy going for over six minutes is astounding. 

Lots of great solos from Phil Manzanera and some other guy whose name escapes me. Bryan Ferry plays a mean harmonica, but it still seems strange in the context of a dance anthem. But not that strange—they’re pulling out all the stops on this song. No quarter is asked, and none is given. This is a band showing the world what great musicians and showmen can do.

You may note the ladies on keyboards and congas. Attractive ladies on stage playing instruments and/or dancing have been a signature of Roxy Music shows since at least 1975. Recall the Chanel Girls playing on Robert Palmer’s videos in the mid to late 1980s. It can be argued that these, as well as Palmer’s entire International Playboy image, were lifted straight from Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music in the 1970s.

What’s inspired me to watch this video half a dozen times since Saturday, however, are the go-go dancers who take the riser at the back of the stage to dance the classics at about 1:11. To behold their bright smiles, the way their cheerful dancing complemented the song, did wonders to break up those deep, dark blues that were dogging me last week. 

I’ve got half a mind to embed the link for this on my desktop. A “Click in Case of Depression” kind of deal. Why not? It’s been working quite well so far.