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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Ray Davies - 12/10/12 - Royal Concert Hall (Glasgow)

My eighteen year old son is semi stuck in the sixties when it comes to music.
Occasionally he will wander into the seventies, but apart from a very few exceptions the eighties, nineties and the naughties hold little that manages to hold onto his attention, and you can forget pretty much anything from 2010 till now.
Give him Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and pad out a record collection with some Howlin' Wolf and his ilk and he's as happy as a pig in the proverbial.

Due to this the last few years gig wise has seen him ticking off a sort of bucket list of acts.
He's seen Dylan a few times, went to Amsterdam to see Roger Waters perform The Wall, and a bunch of other shows like that.
This week it was the turn of The Kinks, or to be more specific Ray Davies of The Kinks, who was playing in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall.

Now I'm a fan.
I like the Beatles and The Stones as well, but both of these bands are so huge that it often pisses me off that people forget about how good The Kinks, The Animals, and more were, and in some cases still are if they are playing.
So I was looking forward to the gig as much as he was.

Before Ray was to entertain us there was however the support to be considered.
A young Londoner called James Walbourne who fitted in well as an opening act.
As the crowd were mainly of a certain age - with many of them obviously there for nostalgia reasons - it wouldn't have worked if the act supporting Ray Davies was an electro pop punk band with a transsexual front person.
Even if their name was Lola.
So it was fitting that James plays blues, country and a bit of skiffle sounding guitar. and accompanies it with a fine voice that wouldn't have sounded out of place in the sixties.
It's really exactly what the punters would have wanted, and it's what they got.
I was tempted to buy some of his Edwyn Collins produced CDs, but at six quid for an ep and a tenner for a four track 10” that was there I managed to keep my hands in my pockets.

While his set was enjoyable, and he's a talented young man, for me it failed to reach a point that I would want to invest money in any of his releases, or even make that much of an effort to seek him out to see him perform again.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy what he does.
Just that on this night, at that specific time, it didn't act as a catalyst to me exploring more.

Ray of course came on to a heroes welcome.
A much deserved one in my opinion, and with just his guitarist by his side went straight into a run of four Kinks songs semi acoustically.
It's not just his interpretations of his own songs that impress, but also the easy way he communicates with the crowd.
He's quietly self deprecating and comfortable in chatting, and if you just focus on him it would be easy to forget that he is performing in front of a rather large audience.
It all feels rather intimate when the surroundings fade into the background.
Anecdotes sit shoulder to shoulder with little jokes - like his impression of Johnny Cash singing Dedicated follower of fashion - and it all adds to the experience.
I thought I knew what was in store for us as I seen The Kinks play one year at Glastonbury, but Ray solo is a completely different deal.
He's better.
Or this performance was better than the Glastonbury one I should say, and not make grand claims that Ray solo is better than all the collected Kinks performances.

When the rest of the band join him to go full on electric the pace certainly picks up and the set is really just a best of The Kinks.
If you have a favourite song then there's a good chance he sung it.
This, for me, was the only very minor downside to the show.
While I do appreciate that he has a vast back catalogue of much loved material to pick a set list from, and that the vast majority attending want the classics, I wouldn't have minded a smattering of his own solo material as it's of a comparable quality.
As I said though, it's a minor downside and it would be churlish to make an issue of it when basically every song was a highlight in its own right.
Everyone will have their favourites, but for me the stand outs were Waterloo Sunset that went from acoustic to electric, the proto punk blast of all day and all of the night and the finishing on You really got me that included a full explanation of how it was originally written and performed by him before his brother Dave got involved with the iconic, and instantly recognisable, guitar riff.

It's safe to say that I'm hoping he honours his promise of coming back next year, because if he does then I'll be hoping to get front and centre for it.

1 comment:

  1. Louis Shields Stornoway15 October 2012 at 15:10

    Agree with your comments entirely.I think this is the best I,ve seen Ray in recent times-not that he was bad before!!! Like you I,ll be back next tour. I,m not like everybody else