Review - Ray Davies, Gypsy Tea Room, Dallas, TexasFrom: Marc Hall
Date: July 24, 2006
First I must say I completely enjoyed the "Evening With Ray Davies" at the Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas. Its been eight years since I've seen the X Man (La Zona Rosa, Austin, Texas, 1998) and much longer since ANYONE has seen the Kinks. At times, with his backing electric accompaniment, one could almost imagine the Kinks up there on stage. Impossible to replace Dave, yeah. Someday maybe...That being said, those who have read any of the reviews from the other shows on this tour may feel the Dallas fans were a bit slighted. After the concert I said to no one in particular, "great show", another dedicated follower responded, "yeah, all 70 minutes of it". 70 minutes? I didn't keep close tabs of the time, and it may have been more like 80 minutes, but it really was brief. If all the other dates had followed a similar pattern I wouldn't feel so cheated. Don't get me wrong, I'll take what I can get (Dallas sometimes feels like a Davies free zone) but geez, what happened? I have my theories but first the music.
The performance was great. How can you go wrong when the openers are "I'm Not Like Everyone Else", "Where Have All the Good Times Gone", and "Till the End of the Day"? The new material was well done and well received...the new CD, "Other People's Lives" is very good...but the classics were few and far between. If my memory and incomplete recording is accurate, this is the song list. If anyone was at the Dallas show and has a correction - please let me know.
I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Where Have All The Good Times Gone
Till The End Of The Day
After The Fall
All She Wrote
Creatures Of Little Faith
Over My Head
Run Away From Time
Things Are Gonna Change (The Morning After)
A Long Way From Home
The Getaway (Lonesome Train)
You Really Got Me
Needs a little filling out, heh? After reading the reviews from around the country and abroad I'm thinkin' "Ray don't like Big D". Check out Steve Smith's review from LA. Hey, we could use a little 20th Century Man, Harry Rag, Sunny Afternoon, Dead End Street, Oklahoma USA, Celluloid Heroes, Tired of Waiting for You, Set Me Free, and all the snippets. We got no snippets, Not one. Gimme a snippet. The only real nuggets, in the eyes (ears?) of this veteran, was the powerful opening number "I'm Not Like Everyone Else" and the beautiful "A Long Way From Home" written for Dave and dedicated to him as he recovers from his recent stroke. I think Ray put in extra effort on his new material, and it showed. The songs were usually introduced with a story, a few humorous or insightful comments and then performed with tight precision. I'm sure Ray could sing "You Really Got Me" in his sleep and it was pretty much a carbon copy of many of the Kinks live performances. Hey, how can you not get up for that tune? He seemed to genuinely enjoy "Low Budget", a song perfectly suited to his dry, wry, cockney sense of humor. Of course its a real crowd-pleaser with the raucous chants of Low Budget! by the audience. A good time was had by all. A brief good time - but a good time all the same.
So, why the abbreviated set? Believe it or not your humble scribe may have a little "inside info". I arrived at the Gypsy Tea Room about two hours early to check out the venue. No one was around and I just wandered into the ballroom. Guess who's just finishing a sound check? I walk up and greet Ray, tell him he's great, I'm a big fan, etc. I accompany the band as they're walking out to the parking lot. Ray was angry about something. From what I could hear he made a comment to the effect that "so-and-so could be replaced" (using more colorful language). I assume it was a band member. On stage there really wasn't any camaraderie between Ray and the other blokes (no, I won't use the word mates). He did introduce the band but they maintained their position all evening and seemed to just be doing their job, which they did quite well, thank you. Ray seemed a little uncomfortable on stage but...doesn't he always? Could that be the story or am I just a "creature of little faith"?
Faithfully submitted 7.24.06
From: Bruce MacQueen
Date: 25 Jul 2006
I checked in to the lovely Holiday Inn Aristocrat which is undergoing a serious renovation to be greeted by a painter in the lobby who told me he was a big KinKs' fan and was going to the show tonight.... and "Oh by the way you just missed Ray and the band who are staying there as well." Turns out he was partly right.. the band was, but Ray was at other, more suitable accommodations. I then wandered the 4 blocks to the venue and met Andrea and Frank in 106" heat. It really sucked! After a couple of hours waiting, Ray showed up for sound check and God Bless Frank, Ray stopped after seeing him and indulged the few people that were there that early! He spent 5 or 10 minutes chatting, signing autographs and taking pictures. Frank is the man!! Got a bunch of photos and an autograph for my brother. Ray popped out again after sound check and did more photos and autographs. He seemed in good spirits, but that was apparently about to change.
Met some very nice folks, who were seeing Ray after a 20 year absence from Dallas! Unfortunately, only about 300 of 1,100 tickets were sold, which I think may have lead to Ray's shortening the set list so much. He did no acoustic, no VGPS , no Celluloid Heroes - wahhh!!! It was 70 minutes, including the encore!! The free show in Detroit was an hour and 50 minutes! I nabbed the set list which was even shorter than the show he actually performed. So I should be thankful for that. (I've sent a copy to Dave Emlen if he's able to post that I know it will get stripped out of this message.)
Ray was, as always, the ultimate showman. Once he hits the stage, he clicks that switch and he is "on". He was fabulous, albeit way too brief. But I've been spoiled. When he started this tour in March he was doing 2 hour shows with an intermission. 70 minutes you'd expect from a new band with no back catalog on which to rely. Maybe he was saving his voice for Austin. BUt I believe he was disappointed with the lousy attendance numbers and cut it short. Having said that, every chance ot see Ray is a gift! I clearly don't think he needs to be doing this and I thank him for suffering the fools like me and living out of hotels and rented cars for months at a time for my entertainment!
After the show was very weird. Ray came out with his manager and the lovely Karen, got within 10 feet of his car, but got spooked and went back in to get security to escort him to his vehicle. There were only two or three people outside and they were nearer another exit door. Go figure!
I spoke with members of the band (who will remain nameless) and they were very diplomatic, saying only that that's the beauty of working with Ray. He's unpredictable and likes to mix up the set list, adding and deleting here and there. (A little more addition next time Ray!!)
Went back to the hotel and hung with Frank and Andrea for a while longer and tried to talk them into a trip to Europe this fall to see a few more dates.
As Sharon from Chicago said, Seeing Ray is like smoking crack. I just need to figure how ot get my wife to "hit that pipe" and head to Europe with me!!