Dave Davies (and Ray!) Islington Assembly Hall London 18 Dec 2015
My early Christmas present to myself was to go and see Kinks guitar riff hero Dave Davies in London last night. And what a Christmas present it was. Dave Davies played a blinding set to his home crowd. Still recovering from flu, Dave bounded on stage, greeting us “Hello London! It’s good to be back in town!” He ran through a set of Kinks classics, album tracks and solo songs. Dave’s guitar was loud and fuzzy and his band’s versions of Kinks hits “Dead End Street” and (my favourite) “See My Friends” were raw and heavy. Dave’s own “Death of a Clown” started pretty ramshackle but finished as a great singalong. But the best was yet to come. Sometimes miracles do happen at Christmas.
For the last song, Dave introduced a “surprise for Christmas” and on walked brother Ray!!! The two brothers played “You Really Got Me” and the place went completely berserk. I was sitting upstairs and everyone leapt to their feet; singing, clapping, shouting and going generally nuts. The next few minutes became an unbelievable almost surreal dream. Ray and Dave shook hands as they left the stage. As I walked out of the venue onto the street everyone faces me were looking at each other; grinning, not quite believing what we had all just witnessed.
You can find a video here
This was the Davies brothers first time on stage together for 19 years, and it was an amazing event to witness; musically, historically and emotionally. Two brothers, in their home town, back together on stage where they belong, singing the song that started so much. It really doesn’t get any better; I am going to be on a high for ages. Best Christmas present since I opened my Johnny Seven in 1966.
Setlist: Ripping Up; All Day and All of the Night; She’s got everything; Creeping Jean; Tired of Waiting; See My Friends; In You I Believe; Strangers; Flowers in the Rain (Dave solo track, not the Move song); Young and Innocent Days; The Man He Weeps Tonight; Death of a Clown; Living on a Thin Line; Dead End Street; Where have all the Good Times Gone?; I’m Not Like Everybody Else; You Really Got Me (with Ray Davies)
Archive for the ‘Kinks’ Category
Dave Davies (and Ray!) Islington Assembly Hall London 18 Dec 2015
The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1979 and 1981
The Kinks returned to a more familiar rock and pop format with the album Sleepwalker in 1977, ending their string of concept albums and accompanying tours. This album was followed Misfits (1978), Low Budget (1979) and Give the People What They Want (1981). One further Kinks hit single was yet to come in the form of Come Dancing, which reached No 12 in the charts in 1982. The line-up of the band also changed, with John Gosling and John Dalton leaving. The core of Ray and Dave Davies, and Mick Avory on drums continued; Jim Romford (from Argent) joined on bass, and he was to stay with the band for the remainder of their career. I saw The Kinks twice during that period, at gigs at Newcastle City Hall in 1979 and 1981. Both concerts were glorious affairs, with Ray, Dave and the guys returning to playing the hits. By the late 70s The Kinks were starting to get the respect they deserve, with new wave bands like The Jam covering David Watts, The Pretenders singing Stop Your Sobbing, and rock band Van Halen including You Really Got Me in their live set. But nothing beats seeing The Kinks themselves play You Really Got Me, Lola or Waterloo Sunset. The latter song has always been my favourite, but didn’t always figure in their live set, although I did see them play it a couple of times. The Kinks continued to play until 1996. Their last years were spent largely in the USA, where they continued to have success. The 1981 gig was that last time I saw them, which is of some regret for me. I remember they played a concert at Middlesbrough Town Hall in the mid-80s, which I sadly missed. I would love Ray and Dave to make things up sufficiently to play together again. Seeing The Kinks just one more time would be wonderful. I’ve seen Ray solo many times in recent years, and I see Dave has been touring in the USA (how about some UK dates please Dave?), but nothing is like seeing the two brothers together, playing those classic tunes. Come on guys, one more time please.
The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1976 Schoolboys in Disgrace
In 1976 The Kinks toured to present another concept album “Schoolboys in Disgrace”. This was another in a series of concept albums which started with Village Green Preservation Society in the late 60s and continued through the mid 70s. The line-up of the Kinks at the time was the same as I had seen in 1975, and they were again augmented by a brass section, and backing vocalists. The story of “Schoolboys in Disgrace” is as follows: “Once upon a time there was a naughty little schoolboy. He and his gang were always playing tricks on the teachers and bullying other children in the school. One day he got himself into very serious trouble with a naughty schoolgirl and he was sent to the Headmaster who decided to disgrace the naughty boy and his gang in front of the whole school. After this punishment the boy turned into a hard and bitter character. Perhaps it was not the punishment that changed him but the fact that he realised people in authority would always be there to kick him down and the Establishment would always put him in his place. He knew that he could not change the past but he vowed that in the future he would always get what he wanted. The naughty little boy grew up… into Mr Flash.” (Ray Davies, 1975). Mr Flash had appeared before in the Kinks stories, as the villain from The Kinks’ rock opera Preservation. The front cover of the album, and hence of my copy of the programme shown here, was illustrated by Mickey Finn of T. Rex. The tour presented the album in its entirety, with use of visuals and props, and was great fun. The song that sticks out for me is “Jack the Idiot Dunce”, which I thought was great fun at the time. I’m not sure who portrayed the idiot dunce on the tour; possibly Dave. In 1978 the Finnish band Kontra had a number one hit in Finland with the a cover of the song. As with the 1975 tour, I don’t recall them playing any old favourites. I managed to find one setlist which suggests that they played the whole album, with “Money Talks” from Preservation 2 (which also features Flash) as an encore. Setlist: Schooldays Overture; Jack the Idiot Dunce; Education; The First Time We Fall in Love; I’m in Disgrace; Headmaster; Hard Way; The Last Assembly; No More Looking Back; Schoolboys Finale. Encore: Money Talks.
The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1975 The Soap Opera
In 1975 The Kinks toured their concept album “The Soap Opera”. This was one in a series of concept albums which started with Village Green Preservation Society in the late 60s and continued through the mid 70s. The line-up of the Kinks at the time was Ray and Dave Davies on vocals and guitars; John Dalton on bass; John Gosling on keyboards; and Mick Avory on drums. They were also augmented by a brass section, and backing vocalists. This was very much a Ray project, and met with mixed critical reviews. The Soap Opera explores the relationships between stardom and “ordinary life” It (from Wiki) “tells the story of a musician named Starmaker who changes places with an “ordinary man” named Norman in order to better understand life. Starmaker goes to live with Norman’s wife Andrea and then goes to work the next day, getting caught in the rush hour. He works 9 to 5, then goes down to the bar for a few drinks before making his way home. He then is greeted by Andrea whom he tells is “making it all worthwhile”. By this point Starmaker has lost his grip on reality, and he doesn’t know who he is anymore. In the end he settles down with Andrea, accepting that he is now just “a face in the crowd”. The album finishes by saying that although rock stars may fade, their music lives on.” It has been suggested that the story of Starmaker and Norman is the story of Ray himself, trying to understand what it means to be “a star”. The tour presented the album in its entirety. I don’t recall whether they played any other Kinks tracks at all. The setlists that I have managed to find suggest not. I went with a group of mates and I do remember that we all enjoyed it and found it quite fun, but also pretty heavy going, quite silly in parts and somewhat confusing. Setlist: Everybody’s a Star (Starmaker); Ordinary People; Rush Hour Blues; Nine to Five; When Work Is Over; Have a Drink; Underneath the Neon Sign; You Make It All Worthwhile; Ducks on the Wall; (A) Face in the Crowd; You Can’t Stop the Music. I’m not sure who the support act was; I saw an advert for another date of the tour which suggested that it may have been Care Society, who were Tom Robinson’s early band, and were on Ray’s Konk label.
The Kinks Newcastle City Hall 1972 and Sunderland Locarno 1973
The first time I saw the Kinks was at a gig at Newcastle City Hall in the early 70s. I think it must have been in 1972, as it was around the time that the single “Supersonic Rocket Ship” was in the charts. I seem to recall that the support act was local band The John Miles Set. The Kinks live at that time were a glorious ramshackle affair. They often arrived a little worse for wear, but it was obvious that they were having great fun on stage. I saw them again shortly after this, at a gig at Sunderland Locarno, where the place was absolutely packed and Ray and Dave were very drunk. The Kinks were playing a selection of their old hits, and some rock n roll classics, at the time. I found a setlist from a BBC in concert show in 1973 . The songs played were: Victoria; Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues; Dedicated Follower Of Fashion; Lola; Holiday; Good Golly Miss Molly; You Really Got Me; All Day And All Of The Night; Waterloo Sunset; Village Green Preservation Society. I would guess that the sets that I witnessed at the City Hall and in Sunderland will have been similar to this. My favourite song was always Waterloo Sunset, and it remains one of my favourites to this day. Sadly I don’t have a ticket stub for either of these gigs as they were both “pay on the door” affairs. I remember that Ray was wearing a silver lame jacket at the City Hall gig, and that he threw it into the crowd at the end of the show. I was sitting upstairs and was so jealous of the people down the front who were fighting over the jacket, which was torn to shreds. Happy days. I didn’t realise at the time just how important and influential a band the KInks were. But then I guess thats often the way. They were certainly a fun band to see; in many ways I would see similarities in their performances to those of the Stones and the Faces during the same time period. I’ll spend the next few days reminiscing about some later Kinks gigs that I attended in the remainder of the 70s and the early 80s, starting with the concept tours “Soap Opera” and “Schoolboys in Disgrace”.
Ray Davies Sage Gateshead 2 Oct 2012
Went along to see Ray Davies, who was back at the Sage Gateshead last night. I arrive late, missing the support, and just before Ray took to the stage. The set contained a mix of well know Kinks classics, and some lesser know songs including Misfits, Muswell Hillbilly, Oklahoma USA and Full Moon, which were a change from Ray’s usual form and a nice surprise. The format of the show was similar to last time I saw Ray. He started with himself and a guitarist, bit on acoustic guitars, and then after several songs, his band joined him. All the well known songs were played: Where Have All The Good Times Gone; Dedicated Follower Of Fashion; Sunny Afternoon (which he told us he first performed in Sunderland!); See My Friends (still my favourite Kinks song); I’m Not Like Everybody Else; Autumn Almanac; Waterloo Sunset; Victoria; All Day & All Of The Night; Lola. Seeing Ray is always great. I’ve seen him quite a few times over recently, and still enjoyed it. In fact the change in setlist made last night even more enjoyable. But I still feel a little sadness that there is no sign of a Kinks reunion. Seeing Ray reminds me how great the Kinks were, and how wonderful it would be to see Dave and Mick up there beside him.
Postcript. I have added below scans of earlier gigs where we have seen Ray Davies. These include three shows at the The Tyne Theatre and another show at the Sage. All these shows were great fun, with quite similar setlists.
Ray Davies The Sage Gateshead 4 May 2010
Laura and I went to see Ray Davies and his band at the Sage on Tuesday night. We arrived just as the support had finished and checked out the merchandise stall. As is often the case, there were no small ladies shirts for Laura so we passed on buying anything. Saw quite a few old friends upstairs in the bar and then took our seats (in the front row tonight!). We’ve seen Ray quite a few times lately and always enjoy hearing his classis songs. He soon took the stage accompanied by his guitarist and they launched into a set which contained many of the old Kinks favourites. Ray joked about using the “K” word; but he is clearly very proud and fond of his own musical heritage. After quite a few songs the rest of the band came on and gave us electric versions of Kinks song and some newer Ray solo material. Quite a bit of chat with the audience, with perhaps a bit less than usual about his childhood with his brother Dave. It was all over too soon with Lola as the last number and no You Really Got Me tonight. As usual a great night with a true legend of British music. But how good it would be if Dave was up there with him. Come on Ray and Dave lets see a Kinks reunion before we all get too old.
This Is Where I Belong
I Need You
Where Have All The Good Times Gone
Tired Of Waiting For You
Set Me Free
Dedicated Follower Of Fashion
See My Friends
I’m Not Like Everybody Else
Nothin’ In The World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl
Too Much On My Mind
A Well Respected Man
Till The End Of The Day
20th Century Man
The Hard Way
All Day & All Of The Night
Working Man’s Cafe
After The Fall