Review - 11 July, 1995, House of Blues

From: Peirson Robert
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 95 15:39:00 PDT
Subject: The KINKS at House of Blues in Los Angeles, July 11th, 1995

The KINKS at House of Blues in Los Angeles, July 11th, 1995

The House of Blues is an interesting place. It is located on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. At 9pm the upper level converts from a bar/dining area to a balcony by two center bar areas physically rolled to the side.

Getting a good vantage point took a bit of skill as well as luck. If you got there very early you could get a bar stool, otherwise you could go on the floor (which was not that crowded) or jockey for a front balcony postions, which is above the stage and a mere 25 ft away. We opted to accelerate to the balcony at 9pm when the conversion took place. We got a great location that allowed us to see backstage as well as be very close to the band.

The sound system tended to let the vocals get washed out by the band at times but over all it was a good place to see a show. They must limit the number of people in the place since eventhough it was sold out there was plenty of room to move around.

The Wild Colonials were good and afterwards joined us in the audience. The lead singer, Angela, seemed to be a big Kinks Fan as she was singing along next to us.

There was a 45 minute delay before the Kniks came on. There seemed to be some confusion on the stage wtih the Mics. Then Ray came out and gave a solo performance that was great and intimate.

The Kinks drug out some oldies and obsure ones and to my surprise did not do Come Dancing. Muswell Hillbillies was great to hear live, as was I'm Not Like Everybody Else. Dave seemed to be having a good time and Ray was well behaved.

It appears that the show was videotaped so keep a lookout on TBS for Live from the House of Blues.


Opening Act: Wild Colonials (9pm)

Ray Davies - Acoustic Solo (10:35pm)

The Kinks

(12:38 am)


by Richard Cromelin, from the 13 July 1995 edition of L.A. Times

Hollywood - Ray Davies is often portrayed as one of rock's prime neurotics, but at the House of Blues on Tuesday the Kinks' leader was all smiles. "This is a very emotional return for us," he said at one point, referring to the British Invasion veterans' long absence from shows here.

Davies' spirits were bubbling in something of a void for the band, a Hall of Fame member without a record deal and no recent material worth playing. But they sold out their three nights at the 1,000 capacity club, matching what they used to draw in annual Santa Monica visits.

There's a lot of loyalty on both sides of the stage in this relationship, and the Kinks' performance was anything but a rote recital of predicable favorites. If anyone had forgotten what a captivating performer he is, Davies was sharp, energetic, playful and in fine voice.

And then there are his songs. For three decades, Davies, 51, has written about a society stiffened into immobility and drained of spirit by bureaucracy and tradition. Ever skeptical, he's not inclined to put his faith in alternative institutions either, but in Rock 'n' Roll he finds something that can break the forces of confinment. Thats why the Kinks' rock has such urgency, and why its defiance is never feigned. It's more than a job or even a musical passion. It's a means of survival, a life-support system.

The alternative to fighting it out is to escape, and when Davies softens the tone and indulges in nostalgia, he does so with unparalleled resonance and deminsion. The fantasy worlds of Broadway and Hollywood also fuel his imagination and provide refuge, and a rollicking vaudeville spirit was grafted into the band's rock attack Tuesday, with brother Dave Davies' lead guitar adding some grit and grease to the solid baking of the steady, pro rhythm section.

Fronting the music, Ray Davies was less campy, teasing and sarcastic than in his '70s incarnation. He was irreverent enough, but also more genuine as he appeared sincerely energized by performing and touched by the response.

Davies' charisma and the spirited playing tended to mask the show's major shortcomings. Even if minor items like "Low budget" came off as fine fun, why play them and leave "Waterloo Sunset" in storage?

It's boggling just to consider the periods and styles untapped or barely touched on by this show - from the eerie "Tired of Waiting for You" second wave of mid-60's hits to 1969's "Arthur," the compassionate, satire-laced study of individual crushed by his society.

It's hard to imagine Davies being less astute than his fans a judging the relative merits of his songs. Was he trying to avoid the retrospective feel, or maybe the lack of contrast, that wall-to-wall masterpieces might create?

Whatever the reason, it suggests that he still hasn't come to terms with the stature of his legacy. It would have made more sense, for instance, to end the evening with the second encore's understated rendition of "Days," and emotional valediction whose remarkable blend of loss, resignation and joy some regard as Davies' greatest moment. That delicate mood was crushed by the final selection (YRGM), yet another of the primal-riff early hits.

But when a man needs to rock to survie, who's to argue?
E-mail Dave Emlen