-A Northern soul

Obviously he saunters on. This sight alone is worth the ticket price. He enters the stage unannounced somehow looking as if he's smoking and moves through the ranks of his formally attired players with serious dignity and casual aplomb. For some reason his appearance calls to mind the return to duty of a much loved officer called back to lead his regiment over the top one final time. When he joins The Bryan Ferry orchestra on their Jazz age version of 'Just like you' I realise that his voice was always about the afterglow and halo of emotion rather than actual emotion, the sigh and smoke that comes after making love rather than the cries and whispers of the act itself. His voice sits beautifully within the woodwind and piano surrounding it; its just another instrument, parched but achingly acoustic and human. But then the foxy female drummer crashes in halfway through the song and the stage seems to perceptively lift as the feel goes from Noel Coward to Noel Gallagher in less than a second. Therein lies the uniqueness of this show. It offers Torch songs and rock ballads, English wistfulness and NYC grooves all embodied by the group on stage who are a mixture of sexed up rock youth and the BBC light orchestra.

Ferry, encased in the mandarin splendour of Louis Vuttion and swinging gamely on stilt like legs still straddles both extremes. The 32 song set list is a brave selection of Ferry's favourites and Roxy Music classics, reflecting both the singer's taste and writers ranging from Cole porter, Charlie Parker and Bob Dylan. While the voice has frayed a little- more apparently so on the booming up-tempo numbers – time has not diminished the songs themselves. The sad eyed drunk's lament of Carrickfergus, originally recorded back in 1978 for Ferry's 'The Bride stripped bare' embodies much more melancholy here than it did when Ferry sang it as a younger man. And while Ferry was once undoubtedly young he was never particularly youthful. As he sighs and semi- sways through 'Oh Yeah' he looks as if he's been carved from flint. Although surrounded by his orchestra and impeccably tailored, in age his large strong features give away his north country working roots more than ever. And its this – along with the obvious love he has for the material he's singing – that make for a uniquely moving night in the company of a man wide awake in the third act of his life.