Kinks mania (would you believe?) in Central Park
Wollman Rink, Central Park, New York:
It brought tears to old eyes. One thing it did do was bless the heart with a a ripe kiss of emotion. When you see 7,000 ravers go stark raving crazy over the good old imperial Kinks, you can only feel damned good and happy.
You know it's a revelation to see how this lovely band is treated over here. If a raver is deemed to be an English lad o' the night, then we had better start thinking again, because the kids at Wollman Rink, last Wednesday, were the most delicious bunch of crazed heads I think I've ever seen.
Kinks mania - there's no question about it, there was nearly a damned riot, ending up with Ray and the lads doing a good half-hour encore to satisfy an audience that looked like uprooting the stage, and eating the cops patrolling the front line.
Talk about encores as well - we got Mr. Davies bringing a lump to the throat with "Auld Lang Syne," and then a rib-kicking "Louie Louie," which gashed into "Hang On Sloopy," and then a ridiculous "Twist and Shout" - they don't come no better than that, you know.
What a fun night it was. There were a couple of kids in front of me tap-dancing to Ray's swooning bubble-lipped version of "Baby Face." And Ray was just ace. The complete and utter Guide to Camping (Volumes One to 100). There's nobody who can put a hand on a hip like Raymond Douglas.
Man, you can forget David Bowie, 'cause Ray's in a field of his own, and he'd been like that for always. When they start planting gold stars in the pavements down Tin Pan Alley, then Ray's going to be the first.
A full moon was beaming through the stage scaffolding when the band fell on to the stage. John Gosling surrounded by a complete wall of chilled beer cans, dear Mick Avory (someone remarked that he was "so cute" after the show) sat poker-faced behind the drums, like he was ready to do a wedding reception dance at the Fox and Lion, Hornsey. And in startling red stood Dalton and Dave Davies, the funkers.
And then, ladies and gentlemen, appeared the star of the show. White telecaster wrapped around his groin, hands tapping his hair to get a bouncy edge to it, feet juggling in a little dance. The place just exploded.
He shilled his way into "Top of the Pops" and that was the start of an hilarious , and wonderfully emotional night of magic. The band raggy, but jangly, and biffy and fine as only the Kinks can be. "Milk Cow Blues," "Acute Schizophrenia" and even "Waterloo Sunset" saw Ray twisting, turning, poncing, and duding it up, in front of the people and the people were sucking every nuance from the man. They wanted him so bad it wasn't true.
Mike Cotton's boozy horns blurted in delightfully for "Alcohol," which sees the complete Ray Davies. Oh did you ever drink so much it hurt. This is showbiz, Hollywood showbiz, dazzle and razzle, and drama, and oooh those satin blues.
He posed there, shaking up a can of beer, and letting it spurt right up his arm, a sprig of roses thrust down the front of his white, tight trousers, and a face drawn with passion and misery. Oh that man really should have been born a brace of decades ago, lowered into Hollywood, and left to be swooned upon. Hands on hips, he wiggled and vamped across the stage.
And then he climbed the scaffolding, a white spotlight following his adventures, which culminated in him tip-toeing his way between the monitor speakers at the front. He shook another beer can, and the froth and booze rushed into the air like a jet from Moby Dick. It was just lovely.
Strapping his guitar back on, sticking his arm in the air, he announced: "This is the Kinks, a new band from England who wear red hunting jackets," and the band banged into "You Really Got Me." The Wollman Rink had just been waiting for this one. They all got up, falling over people in an attempt to make the front, dancing it, and singing it, and clapping it.
That done, Dave Davies swung his arm back, and cranked out the riffing for "All Day and All of the Night"........"God Save the Kinks" bawled the crowd. My golly, you don't know what you are missing in England when you can't get off to this band.
It's fun, it's entertainment. There's nowt heavy, there's nowt cool about this band - and you are crazy if you try to make out there is. The Kinks are everyone's memories, everybody's good times and everybody's bad times, and they are the vehicle to gush out those REAL feelings in the old heart.
And Ray Davies does write THE best songs, you know.
Melody Maker, 1973.