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Friday, March 31, 2023

Roxy Music | Both Ends Burning | Live at Wembley | 18 October 1975

The Siren tour commenced on October 2nd 1975 and ran through Europe and the US until late March 1976. Andy MacKay: “(In the States) we played mainly theatres which suited us. In the U.K. we were playing arenas, but the audience were great in both”. 

Roxy’s Siren album was released on October 31st, 1975, therefore on many of the early shows of the tour, including all the UK dates, the audience had not heard the new material. Despite that, Roxy played most of the new album, even starting the set with new songs Sentimental Fool and Love is the Drug.

In the Sounds review of the Glasgow show, 18th October, John Inghan wrote: “Ferry looking like an AWOL GI”. On the Siren tour Ferry had introduced a new aesthetic. He wore a khaki military style uniform throughout, apparently inspired by Elvis Presley’s uniform in the movie, “GI Blues”. Looking at shots of Presley in the movie, it seems almost certain that is so. Even down to the detail of the military emblem on the left shoulder of Presley’s uniform - in the same place on Ferry’s uniform, there’s an emblem, ‘tho of course it says, “Roxy Music”. Also new on the Siren tour was the addition of uniformed backing singers – the John Ingham review again: “…singers Doreen Chanter and Maggie Sullivan showed real class with powder blue WRAF uniforms”. In Barbara Drillsma’s Melody Maker review of the Liverpool show, she also mentioned “The Sirens”: “Roxy were helped along by two attractive young ladies Lorraine and Doreen - dressed in tight-fitting airforce outfits”.

In a review in the Melody Maker of the Liverpool show, 3rd October, Barbara Drillsma described new song, Both Ends Burning as ”a real classic rocker”. The version of Both Ends Burning from Viva! certainly lives up to that epithet. Andy MacKay: Toward the end of recording (of Siren) we were compromised as we had been on Stranded and other albums by Bryan not having finished lyrics so that tracks got overworked as instrumentals while we were working as it were in the dark. ‘Both Ends Burning’ is a case in point. It has always been better live...” 

Comparing the soundboard from the second night at Wembley, October 18th, to the version on Roxy’s live album, Viva!, it’s obviously the same recording. Some alterations have been made to the Viva! version – it’s about 30 seconds shorter, having had some of the repeated “Keep on Burning ‘till the end” lines edited out. And there’s been considerable overdubbing of Andy MacKay’s saxophone, which although it is almost inaudible on the soundboard, is clearly different playing. Richard Adams writes about Viva! and the Wembley show on his blog: “Phil Manzanera… assembled the songs and added some judicious instrumental overdubs - bits of Andy's sax playing here and there when mics hadn't picked everything up, some of his own guitar playing, tidying up wayward notes. Not much was needed as Roxy live was a well honed machine”.

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