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Opening tour at Hard Rock Live, Bryan Ferry won't stop the dance

When he first strode onto the shaggy early-’70s rock scene with Roxy Music — the chic white tux and Windsor knot, the elegant integration of musical idioms past and present — Bryan Ferry announced he would be no slave to convention or even time itself.

On his way to Hard Rock Live in Hollywood on March 9 to open his 2017 North American tour, at age 71, Ferry is still bending time to his will.

Following a template set during his critically praised 2016 tour (“magical,” said the Toronto Sun), Ferry will be backed by a band 10 musicians strong, drawing equally from the Roxy Music catalog and his solo work. 

But the group will include several new members, which will allow Ferry to cover new territory. Among them are revered session guitarist Chris Spedding and bassist Neil Jason, who played on the Roxy Music albums “Avalon” and “Flesh and Blood.” A star of the 2016 tour, saxophonist-keyboardist Jorja Chalmers will return for the 2017 shows.

“It’s a lot of people, but it’s nice to have the different instruments, the different colors and different sounds,” Ferry says by phone from Britain, during a break from rehearsal. “We’re trying to do a different show from what we did last year. Sometimes, you just want to shake it up a bit.”

Ferry declines to get specific about the set list he’ll introduce at Hard Rock Live, but did offer a couple of hints.

“I don’t like to give too much away, but we’ve been working on ‘Love Me Madly Again,’ which features the strings [violin and viola],” Ferry says of a seven-minute track from his 1977 “In Your Mind” album. “Chris Spedding did the solo on the original record.”

The set will likely not include as many covers as fans are accustomed to hearing Ferry perform, but he has been in a Neil Young mood lately.

“One of my favorite records of all time is the ‘After the Gold Rush’ record. It’s very beautiful,” Ferry says.

While his focus has been on touring the past couple of years, Ferry says he has two projects near completion that each look back in time. One is a live album created from tapes recorded at an iconic 1974 concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall during Ferry’s first solo tour.

Backed by guitarist Phil Manzanera, the late bassist John Wetton, drummer Paul Thompson and an orchestra, Ferry ran through many of the songs on his first solo album, the cover-oriented “These Foolish Things.” Included in the set were the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” Leslie Gore’s “It’s My Party” and the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry, Baby.” Ferry expects it to be released in April or May.

He’s also just completed music for “Babylon Berlin,” a big-budget, 12-episode German TV series directed by Tom Tykwer, creator of the hit 1998 film “Run Lola Run.” The series is set in 1920s Germany, during the decadent years before Hitler came to power.

“We did some music in that kind of Weimar, Kurt Weill style. It’s very exciting,” Ferry says.

On the eve of a new tour, the man who sang, “Got to keep on moving or I'll die” on “Don’t Stop the Dance” has lost none of his enthusiasm for the road, with the opportunity to visit new museums, art galleries and restaurants high on his itinerary.

“I’m a great fan of South Beach and the beautiful architecture,” Ferry says. “And you have a very enviable climate, as well. It’s good to start off on the sunny side of the street, as it were.”

Live performances also have become a tonic, he says.

“As you get older, the crowds get kinder,” Ferry says, laughing. “You feel a lot of love from the audience, which is a great thing.”

Bryan Ferry will perform 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. Tickets cost $40, $60 and $85. Call 954-797-5531 or go to MyHRL.com.

bcrandell@sun-sentinel.com

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