Monday, 13 June 2011

there's a saying that you should never meet your heroes because sometimes they'll let you down, although not a hero, the kinks music has always been part of my life right from that old scratched 7" pink pye labelled 'ape man' through to my mod revival years until now and seeing him for the first time last Friday (10th June).  maybe i should have left it at that, listening to his sounds via vinyl, cassette now cd and mp3?

maybe i expected more than i got, it wasn't bad it's just that cabaret sing-a-longs are not my bag and i didn't really pay £35 to watch aging women dance very badly and try to recreate a swinging 60's that in their mind they had, but in their lives never happened, i just wonder how many of fridays crowd had seen the kinks at their very peak. a crowd participation 'day-o' answer and reply was just crass, as was the time after time pointing the microphone at us to sing badly songs i'd rather have heard ray sing! then there was let's have a 'round of applause for', if we'd stayed long enough I'm sure they'd have got round to each member of the crowd. in also got vegas when ray returned to the stage for an encore by going along shaking the audiences hand, yes this was cabaret and all that comes with it! was i watching a ray davies tribute artist at a holiday park, felt like it at times.

although i don't expect a recreation or an exact copy of a song live, i at least expect them to be close to the originals, a blues intro to 'you really got me' didn't work, this is a garage classic and needs an edge that these polished session musicians couldn't give it.
then there was the trawl through the kinks 70's back catalogue, where beyond their peak they entered the world of very poor AOR. we were also treated to several songs from ray's, rather average, solo canon, albums that let's be honest the majority have never brought.

almost all the classics where wheeled out in some form or another, but maybe missing was the surprise we got the inevitable rather too much! it was like listening to one of those mfp (music for pleasure) albums that proudly announces 're-recorded by the original artist', always rather badly. at times it sounded like those late 70's mono recorded songs from the sixties in recreated stereo, this was recreated ray davies. maybe like brian wilson and the wondermints, davies needs to re-allign himself with a younger version or versions of himself? maybe band members who will have some in-put rather than just playing the way ray wants it?

it rather had the feel of one of those 60's revival acts that only have one or two of the original members, this was the kinks with just the lead singer.

the highlights were an accoustic 'days' that went into a more electric version, 'waterloo sunset' to a point until ruined by another 'sing-a-long'.

it was great to hear the writer interpret his words, the maestro on the stage, maybe in another time i'd have thought this was what i wanted to see, i wanted to see and hear the artist reach another peak, or at least valiantly try to, there was no danger or high wire act here! nothing close to the edge! all rather tame and safe. 

 "Davies seemed wholly at ease plundering his Kinks songbook. While also taking in poignant selections from 2007’s solo effort, Working Man’s CafĂ©, he revisited one vintage hit after another, with a singalongjeu d’esprit.
Here, uniquely, were some of the finest tunes of the Sixties, at close quarters, with peerless sound, not in some godforsaken stadium, and delivered with warmth. Culminating with Waterloo Sunset (which was just occurring outside), You Really Got Me and Lola, the show was an unmitigated joy.

"No doubt the humour of hearing the entire audience shout out the refrain to I'm Not Like Everybody Else - the archetypal Kinks outsider song - wasn't lost on him. Davies has always preferred to exist on the margins, but little could match the embrace of the crowd for the peerless closing run of songs - Waterloo Sunset, You Really Got Me, Days and Lola."


  1. Interesting review, Simon. I too have considered going to see him play, as he occasionally comes here to Denmark - the last time, I think, he played with a symphonic orchestra, actually - but I've always been a little afraid of it ending up like you describe it. However, most of the audience seems to have had a good night :-)

  2. it wasn't a disaster, just a bit cabaret - still very special though seeing such a legend!