Review - Ray Davies, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
From: Ron Lancashire
Date: October 1, 2005
Ray Davies - "The Tourist" Tour
The Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
30 September 2005
The end of September in Scotland can be and usually is an unpredictable time of the year for weather. So on the last day of September 2005, after a day of rain, wind and some dry intervals, there was an amazing skyline and sunset over the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, for the return of Ray Davies to Scottish soil. After all the recent trials and tribulations, Ray was back amongst his friends, and we were all very pleased to see our adopted son back in the city which had rocked many times before to The Kinks. Ray looking slim, cool and eager, strapped into a Fender Stratocaster, opened the proceedings for the capacity audience with electric versions of "Iam Not like Everybody Else", "Hardway", "Till The End of the Day" and "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" which for many echoed the opening strains of a late 1980s/early 1990s Kinks set.
Settling back down again after this reassembling of the brain cells, Ray and the band, strolled into two of the new songs "After the Fall" and "Next Door Neighbours" that are included within the new solo album Other Peoples Lives which is due to be unleashed on us on 6 February 2006. But, not surprisingly, this was a mix and match of old and new material, and it brought many of the faithful to heel, when Ray looked back to the Muswell Hillbillies era of his long and distinguished song writing career. "20th Century Man", of course, remains a song which epitomises Rayas observations of the world around him. With the very able support of guitarist Mark Johns, we were then taken on an acoustic visit to the "Village Green", flicked through the pages of "Picture Book" with Fat Old Uncle Charlie out boozing with his friends. "Animal Farm" and "Johnny Thunder" completed the outing down Muswell Hill way. How remarkable that so many aside me knew the words! "Sunny Afternoon" and "Dead end Street" dealt with many an expectation and got the ensemble to the intermission by which time many thrapples were in need of a quick libation.
And so some 20 minutes later and prostrate glands eased, the Royal Concert Hall contingent had their ears pinned back with "London Song" which as Ray reminded us has been remixed on the new "The Tourist EP" (available at all UK gigs). Then Ray explained the why and wherefores of the new song "The Tourist" which may become one of the Ray Davies and band core stage songs. Jacket off and Ovation guitar handed in over to the side, Ray delivered the wry "Stand Up Comic" routine which evidences the many sides of Ray character and stage craft. Time for a breather of sorts as Ray paid a genuine tribute to his brother Dave, and his life in the Kinks. Just in case you were thinking about it, Ray took another walk down memory lane for those stuck in the 1960s. "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" and "Autumn Almanac" got the sing song back on course. Yes ..those Scottish drinks were beginning to take effect on some...
If you had any hairs left on the back of your neck by this time, then they are stood to attention as the classic "I Go To Sleep" love song is dealt a masterly delivery by Ray. "Remember! It was me who wrote it", he gently reminds any amongst us who might think differently. Hairs on neck to attention again as Ray recalls the "Days" that Kirsty MacColl sang it with The Kinks on stage. With "Days" delivered to the memory of Kirsty, and the tears wiped from a few eyes, it was back to the timeless classics of "Tired of Waiting", "Set Me Free" and "All Day and All of the Night". And so the Scottish Kinkdom were up on their feet, dancing in the aisles, albeit that some of the knees are creaking a bit these days. The perfunctory "Lola" provided the first of two encores of the evening. What a about "Waterloo Sunset"? shouts a louder than normal Glaswegian voice. Yes. The second encore satisfied this expectation before all were taken backward, forward and sideways with the Davies' anthem of "You Really Got Me".
The end to a perfect evening in Glasgow that delivered a Master class by a legend of rock music. There is no doubt that we are all getting older but isn't it a joy and pleasure to be able to age alongside the music of Ray Davies. And of course, we still hold that eternal hope and desire that maybe one day, before it is too late, that the missing influence of Dave Davies will once again take his rightful place on the right side of the stage alongside his brother.
Slainte Mhath and Haste Ye Back!